Two Cleughs in the Pentlands

Castlelaw Hill from Glencorse Reservoir

Castlelaw Hill from Glencorse Reservoir

This walk was a standard one when I was a lad (yes, more nostalgia) and so to give it a slight new spin we were going to start at Balerno on the “other” side of the Pentland Hills.  Back in the 19th century 1 when I used to do this I had the place to myself: no longer.  Today the hills were heaving and it also looked like everyone got a mountain bike for Christmas.  I’m sure the Regional Park authorities spin this as a good thing: I’m not in their camp, but this is a website for misanthropes after all.

Looking west over Threipmuir

Looking west over Threipmuir

Stone stile, Maiden's Cleugh

Stone stile, Maiden’s Cleugh

Glencorse Reservoir from Maidens Cleugh

Glencorse Reservoir from Maidens Cleugh

By the time we got to the carpark at Harlaw it was almost full.  Luckily the Chelsea Tractor brigade can’t park and so I managed to squeeze into a shady spot.  We were taking a clockwise circuit and so headed for the Maiden's Cleugh 2.  The old squelchy path has now been replaced by a nice wide gravel track that can cope with the hordes that now use it.  It is very easy going and we soon cross to the other side over a lovely stone stile.  Here the track drops down to Glencorse Reservoir and is getting seriously chewed up by the mountain bikes.  We had a steady stream pass us and not one said thanks: but then I remembered the K+J Friendliness Theorem applies.

Turnhouse Hill from Glencorse road

Turnhouse Hill from Glencorse road

At the reservoir we followed the road to the right below Turnhouse Hill heading for Loganlea Reservoir where we had booked a table 3 for lunch.  In this stretch there was an unusual sight (for us, anyway) as six Cuckoos were calling and squabbling among each other on the power lines.  I can’t remember seeing this many together before, even on the Sleat of Skye which had been my previous hot-spot.

Green Cleugh

Green Cleugh

Waterfall, Green Cleugh

Waterfall, Green Cleugh

After Loganlea Reservoir we took the Green Cleugh back around Black Hill.  The area has been fenced off to let the native trees regenerate and it certainly looked green and attractive.  It used to be where we had lunch but the midges today would have driven us on.  However, we did spot a male Ring Ouzel on the higher slopes feeding a fledgling.  Having only seen my first one in years just a few weeks ago, it was great to get such a good view in an area that I don’t remember ever seeing them.  The path from here to Bavelaw has been upgraded and avoids the old bog so it was all easy walking.

Bavelaw

Bavelaw

Red Moss of Balerno

Red Moss of Balerno

At Bavelaw the lovely avenue drops down to Threipmuir Reservoir.  By chance I noticed a sign for the SWT Red Moss of Balerno reserve.  As it had interpretation boards and a boardwalk how could we resist?  And what a good idea this was!  I hadn’t known about this place.  It is a rare raised bog and at the moment was just a carpet of Cotton Grass on a bed of Sphagnum: a lovely sight.

Threipmuir Reservoir

Threipmuir Reservoir

It was now back to the car along the side of  Threipmuir and Harlaw Reservoirs against a tide of people with picnics, BBQs and screaming brats.  On the whole I think the walk is better than the old days with the addition of new paths and the wildlife was a pleasant surprise.  Unfortunately it’s sheep country and so Jazz was on the lead the whole way.  If you are after a relatively easy wander through the Pentlands then I’d recommend it.

Notes:

  1. After reading an earlier draft of this nonsense, my Mother wishes it to be known that my birth was a temporal anomaly as she herself is a child of the mid-20th century and so obviously couldn’t have a son who went walking in the 19th.  It looks like I need to check out a high-security nursing home…
  2. A “cleugh” is a pass through some hills in these parts.
  3. A grassy bank beside the reservoir watching all the fishermen.
Distance:15km
Effort:
Scenery:
Do It Again: