Walk of the Week: Wester and Easter Graiglockhart Hills, Edinburgh

THE SEVEN hills of Edinburgh vary from the hustle and bustle of Castle Rock, Arthur’s Seat and Calton Hill to the quieter slopes of Corstorphine Hill, Blackford Hill, the Braids and the Craiglockhart Hills.

The latter, Wester Craiglockhart Hill is the highest member of the magnificent seven, and offers a superb view of its six capital cousins as well as the sight of the Trossachs in the distance to the west, the Ochils across the Forth and the North Sea to the east. To the south, the Pentlands serve as a kind of picturesque barrier.

Amid all these views is a wonderful walk through woodland and up grassy slopes with flowers along the way from the damp-loving flag iris to forget-me-nots.

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Take a picnic to enjoy this walk, and the views, to the full.

DISTANCE 3 miles.

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TIME 1½ to 2 hours.

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MAP OS Landranger 66.

PARKING There is roadside parking at the bottom of Lockharton Crescent. Turn off Colinton Road, just north of the Craiglockhart Tennis and Sports Centre to reach it.

IN SUMMARY Follow a cobbled path which starts at a gap in metal railings on the south side of Lockharton Crescent. The path passes to the left of a large pond and reaches a junction, where you go right. Ignore a path going up to the left and continue by the pond, then behind the sports centre. The path bears slightly left then rises up to a junction with a signpost. Go straight on, between a stone wall and a wooden fence to reach a road. Go left and after about 100 yards cross the road and go through a gate. Turn left, onto a path which climbs rather steeply and bears right to reach a track. At the track go immediately right, onto a grass path. After about 100 yards go left, on to a narrower path which leads along the ridge of Wester Craiglockhart Hill to the trig point at the summit. (This is the most direct way to the top and avoids a golf course.)

Retrace your steps back across the road and along the path between wall and fence to the junction with the signpost, where you go right – following a sign for Napier University Craighouse Campus. Go up steps, through woodland then, as the path starts to drop, go right at a fork, down steps and through a gap in a wall. Ignore a well built path going left and go up a steep grass path on the right. Bear left to reach a bench at the top of Easter Craiglockhart Hill.

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Follow the path beyond the bench and down into woodland. Once through a gap in a wall go immediately left. Ignore turnings to the right and follow the wall down towards the back of the Craighouse buildings – earmarked for development. At a well built path go left, away from the buildings. As the path descends a flight of widely spaced steps, look for a short flight of steps on the right. At the bottom of these go right to cross a grassy area and reach a marker post at the start of a path. The path zig-zags down – ignore the first gap in a wall but go through the second and then turn left. At a junction of paths go left, down steps, then about 20 yards further on go right to reach the cobbled path which takes you back to the start.

REFRESHMENTS There is nothing on the walk – take a picnic if the weather is fine. Otherwise, Edinburgh is right there with its many offerings.

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WHILE YOU ARE IN THE AREA There is the whole of Edinburgh to choose from and once the festivals are underway the options more than double. For something away from the crowds, try the water of Leith visitor centre in Slateford.