Roslin Glen

Path beside river, Roslin Glen, 2This is going to be a nostalgia trip so bear with me: this is a walk I used to do a lot as a kid but I worked out that the last time was 34 years ago.  It’s a circuit along the South River Esk starting from Roslin (or to use its much nicer old name, Rosslyn).  A lot has happened in Roslin in the intervening years:  Dolly the Sheep and the “Da Vinci Code“, for two.  I was keen to see what else has changed.

Wall of Rosslyn Castle

Wall of Rosslyn Castle

Path through Polton woods

Path through Polton woods

New walkway, Roslin

New walkway, Roslin

We started at the car-park in Rosslyn Glen beside the river.  The council have done a good job here and the place is attractive with nice paths and wildflower meadows.  We go past the Castle and the Chapel.  Things have certainly changed because of that book: a shiny new visitor centre, a large car-park, and tourists everywhere.  OK, their money helps conserve the Chapel but it isn’t the quiet place I used to know.  However, it does focus the visitors and we soon leave them as we head for Polton along the new (and excellent) footpath.  This goes past the research facility where Dolly was created and is a much better route than the old track I remember.  Eventually it pops out in Polton: a place I knew well 1  I remember the new, ugly houses being built and they are now even more ugly.  However, the old Springfield Mill 2 has been demolished and is now a very attractive nature reserve.

Hewan Bog

Hewan Bog

Hawthornden Castle

Hawthornden Castle

I wanted to indulge the nostalgic trip by continuing along the old path to Lasswade but that would have to wait: instead we were doubling-back to take the river-side path back to Roslin.  In the old days this was a secret path that few knew.  However, the Esk Valley Trust have taken over and done a great job with new paths and interpretation boards.  It does mean that the hoi polloi now get to use it.  The path goes round Howden Bank – I never knew this name before, but I do remember the massive landslide back in 1979 that reshaped it. The path follows the river 3 and climbs to decent heights at various points before dropping back down.  I had two favourite points and wanted to see if they were still there.  First was the view over to Hawthornden Castle through the trees: apart from some renovation work it seems just the same.  The second was where the path drops down to the river and you walk along a sandstone shelf: again this was still there, and the view of the river was lovely (see top photo).

Rosslyn Castle

Rosslyn Castle

The path emerges below the Chapel, although the trees have grown and it is no longer visible from this point.  It then continues under the bridge at the Castle to return to the car-park.  This was a great walk and I was pretty happy with the changes and that my favourite bits were still there.

Notes:

  1. There’s a particularly good Higher Geography project from 1979 on it in the archives.
  2. Where the council located my father to keep him out of mischief when they took over the place in the late 70s.  He wasn’t institutionalised: they actually employed him.
  3. And negotiates a lot of fallen trees.
Distance:8km
Effort:
Scenery:
Do It Again: