Walk of the week: Torduff reservoir, Bonaly

Torduff Reservoir, Bonaly. Picture: Nick Drainey
Torduff Reservoir, Bonaly. Picture: Nick Drainey
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AFTER a wonderful display of heather in the Southern Uplands was highlighted last week, this walk sees a return to the Pentlands for an equally glorious show of upland splendour.

On the doorstep of Edinburgh, these hills offer a wide range of walks in surprisingly natural surroundings considering the proximity of the capital.

The Regional Park has a good number of marked trails and one, the Torduff Water Walk, is perfect for all the family. A short uphill section through woodland takes you to a view of the sprawling hills which make up the Pentlands. These are currently covered in purple heather – so good to behold in sunny weather yet often overlooked as a true spectacle at this time of 

After passing the reservoir – nestled prettily despite being a man-made intrusion in these hills – the walk ends with a wonderful view taking in virtually the whole of Edinburgh’s skyline, including the castle and Arthur’s Seat.

This is an ideal stroll to work up an appetite or to walk off the excesses of a big lunch. A great idea is to take a picnic with you to enjoy while looking over the wonderful heather.

DISTANCE 1∫ miles.


TIME 1 hour.

MAP OS Landranger 66.

PARK From Woodhall Road, to the west of Colinton, turn left up Bonaly Road, following a brown sign for “Pentland Hills Regional Park (Bonaly)”.

IN SUMMARY Go through a gate at the top of the car park and carry straight on, following a sign for the Torduff Water Walk. The wide path goes straight up into Sanctuary Wood. At the top of the wood, just before a gate, go right to follow a marker with a water tap symbol on it along the edge of the trees with heather moorland to your left.

When the trees end, go through a gate on the left and another marker points out the grass path ahead, running through heather. The path drops down and swings right before passing through a gate. After going through two more gates in quick succession you reach a minor road, where you go right.

This road leads along Torduff Reservoir to a gate at its far end. Go right once through the gate and walk across the reservoir dam. On the other side, go up a twisting path then keep left – don’t go up a hill ahead of you.

The path leads round to the right with a great view over Edinburgh, then down to the gate at the top of the car park.

REFRESH There is nothing at the start of the walk, but Colinton has a very good choice of eateries.

WHILE YOU ARE IN THE AREA Edinburgh is right in front of you with its array of attractions. But if you want to stick to the wonders of nature, visit the Royal Observatory on Blackford Hill which is holding its first winter Public Astronomy Evening on 2 October (booking necessary) – keep your fingers crossed for a clear night. 
www.roe.ac.uk/vc n