5 of the best trail runs in and around Edinburgh

Leave the pavement and cobbles of Edinburgh behind, and head off-road with one of these trail runs in and around the city.

Head off the beaten track with one of these Edinburgh trail runs (Photo: Shutterstock)
Head off the beaten track with one of these Edinburgh trail runs (Photo: Shutterstock)
Head off the beaten track with one of these Edinburgh trail runs (Photo: Shutterstock)

Holyrood Park

Lets start with the most obvious destination for trail runners in the city: Holyrood Park. This inner-city playground of rugged terrain has a fantastic variety of trails which can be utilised by off road runners.

Try climbing the rocky, Radical Road, admiring views of the city to the west, before turning left at its finale, and then taking a second left towards the peak of Arthur's Seat. After roughly 500 metres follow a path right and make the final scramble to thee peak of the summit. Pat yourself on the back for your efforts before racing through the heart of Holyrood Park along a gravelly path to the east of Hunter's Bog.

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Finish by returning to your start point at the beginning of the Radical Road.

Distance: 2.5 miles

Route: mapometer.comFlotterstone circuit

To the south of the city, this route takes in several steep peaks and provides awesome views of the Pentland Hills.

Beginning at the Flotterstone Inn, head west along the Glencorse Burn, before following signs for Scald Law. Now take the steep ascent up Turnhouse Hill - the first of today's peaks. Now carry on southwest over Carnethy Hill, before descending and reascending up Scald Law. Retreat to the bealach between Carnethy and Scald Law and descend to the southwest tip of Loganlee Reservoir. Jog the body of water's length and carry on until you reach the Glencorse Reservoir.

Once you reach the north corner of this L shaped lake, head east and return to your start point by the Flotterstone Inn.

Distance: 7.5 miles

Route: walkhighlands.co.ukPriestlaw Hill

This route on the southern boundaries of East Lothian in the Lammermuir Hills is a cracking place to hone your off-road skills.

Starting on the western banks of Whiteadder Reservoir. Head south along along a well marked public path, before turning right along a path named 'Herring Road'. jog along this pleasant country path for just over two kilometres until you reach a minor road. Follow the minor road left, leaving it once a sign for Garvald is reached. Follow this track and follow a faint path to the peak of Priestlaw Hill, before descending north to Whiteadder Reservoir.

Complete your run by heading west along the reservoir's banks and returning to your starting point.

Distance: 7 miles

Route: walkhighlands.co.ukBlackford Hill and the Hermitage

Though much of this route is paved, there are section of gravel strewn trails - trail runners can take several offshoots onto rough terrain as well, if the going isn't rough enough.

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Start on Braid Road and run along the Braid Burn through the charming tree lined Hermitage. Once Hermitage House is reached, fork left ascend steeply through woodland, before turning right and then left, when a fork in the road is reached. Now skirt around Blackford Hill before making a beeline for the peak of the hill, following a faint path to its peak or opting for a more hands on scrambling approach. Admire the panoramic view of Edinburgh's irresistible skyline before retreating down the hill and jogging south towards Braid Burn.

Once Braid Burn is reached run west towards Braid Road and your start point.

Distance: 3 miles

Route: walkhighlands.co.ukLammer Law

Also in East Lothian, Lammer Law offers Edinburgh trail runners a sense of wilderness despite its proximity to the city.

STart this route at Blinkbonny Wood, running along a minor road south past the forested area until a footpath is reached. Briskly jog along the footpath through desolate moorland, pausing every so often to admire the views of the Firth of Forth. Continue through a gate and on a faint path to your right and through another gate - now turn right and then left and stop once the summit cairn of Lammer Law is reached.

From here you have the choice of retracing your steps to where you started or making a detour arounf Hopes Reservoir and Knock Hill, before returning to your starting position.

Distance: 5/9 miles