Walk of the Week: Roslin Glen, Midlothian

Roslin Glen, Midlothian. Picture: Nick Drainey
Roslin Glen, Midlothian. Picture: Nick Drainey
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IN THE 1990s Roslin was best known for a cloned sheep called Dolly, but in 2003 Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code changed things somewhat.

The 15th-century Rosslyn Chapel was inundated with visitors after the climax to the story was set there. At the same time a restoration programme was in full swing. This was completed this year, and last month it was proudly announced that the chapel was free from scaffolding for the first time in 16 years. So what better moment to enjoy a walk along a dramatic, tree-clad gorge which ends at this historic attraction?

DISTANCE 4 miles.


TIME 2 to 3 hours.

MAP OS Landranger 66.

PARK Leave the A701 at Bilston and follow the B7006 to Roslin. At the end of the Main Street go right and after about a third of a mile go left, following a sign for Roslin Glen Country Park. At the bottom of a hill the road crosses a bridge and shortly after there is a car park on the left.

IN SUMMARY Leave the car park at the far end and follow a path to reach a bridge across the River North Esk. Cross this and go straight ahead. A short way up, just before some steps, go right to walk beneath an archway. You are now beneath the ruins of Rosslyn Castle dating back to the early 14th century.

At the bottom of a slope go left and follow a path by the river, down the glen. This section can be muddy and some pallets which have been put down have broken, so take care.

After climbing up a bank you reach a line of pallets which bend right and lead to a fork in the path where you have a choice. Going right leads down towards the river then along a path which has a challenging, if non-technical, scramble below sandstone cliffs. An easier option is to go left at the fork, follow the path to some yew trees and bear right, downhill. At another fork go right and follow 
zig-zags down towards the river.

Both ways from the fork meet at the bottom of the zig-zags from where you continue downstream. The path climbs high above the gorge again – the large house opposite is Hawthornden Castle, used as a retreat for writers. You then drop down to walk along the river to a point where it swings away to the right. Go through a kissing gate at this point then take a path on the left, by a wire fence.

Steps lead up through woodland to a level area then a gate in front of a track. Go through the gate and turn left to follow a sign for Roslin. The track turns into a minor road as it reaches a farm. Keep straight ahead here to go past a monument to the 1303 Battle of Roslin when an English Army of 30,000 was defeated by 8,000 Scots.

Continue to the village and go left at The Original Rosslyn Hotel, down Chapel Brae. It is worth making a detour to the chapel before 
continuing the route which goes right just before it.

Take a wide path on the left, between two graveyard gates. This leads to the castle ruins, again worth a detour before taking a path on the right, down steps.

These lead to the bridge over the river crossed at the start from 
where you retrace your steps to the car park.

REFRESH The Original Rosslyn Hotel is passed near the end of the walk and serves good food. There is also a café at the Rosslyn Chapel visitor centre.

WHILE YOU ARE IN THE AREA Rosslyn Chapel is the obvious destination (www.rosslynchapel.org.uk). n

Twitter: @ScotlandWalk