Pentlands: The Monks Rig and North Esk Reservoir

A circular walk around grassy summits of the Pentlands accessed from Nine Mile Burn.

  • Distance: 12 km / 7.5 miles (can be shortened)
  • Ascent: 575m / 1880 feet
  • Terrain: Mostly grassy hill paths and some off path on tussocky hillsides
  • Start / finish: Nine Mile Burn, A702, grid ref NT 173 577. Parking area available.

Route Map

route map

The walk starts from the signpost in the corner of the car park. Initially the route is around field edges and is well signed with a variety of posts and arrows. All fence crossings have stiles and/or gates. An obvious grass path climbs the grassy hillside passing the Font Stone which may have been the base of a stone cross. As height is gained views to your right across to the Kips and Scald Law open up.

At Cap Law summit our route bears left still on a track/path, while to the right is the route up West Kip. The next summit Green Law at 527m is the highest point of this walk. After this a small amount of height is lost before reaching the 526m summit of Spittal Hill.

Continue beyond the summit until you reach the next fence where you leave the path heading down the hillside. 

If however, you have had enough or the weather has turned bad you can continue southwards on the grass path to reach the coll between Spittal Hill and Patie’s Hill, missing out Cock Rig and the North Esk Reservoir.

Pick your own way down the tussocky grass, in a westerly direction with the fence over to your left and a plantation of trees to your right, until you meet a landrover track. Follow this track downhill to reach the Gutterford Burn where there is a vehicle ford but no bridge. Cross over the river and keep to the track to reach a locked hut. There are picnic benches outside the hut so it may make a good lunch stop when not in use.

From the hut the track continues up Cock Rig gradually becoming a feint path leading to the unmarked summit at a wall. The views over to the main Pentland hills are particularly good from here. Descend Cock Rig in a roughly south south west direction on tussocky grass to meet the route of the Bore Stane Track.

Turn left on to this path and cross the river. A short walk brings you to the vicinity of the North Esk Reservoir. Keep to the path, passing a wildlife hide, to reach the dam. Turn left and cross over the dam. Once on the opposite side the hard work starts as the track steeply ascends the shoulder of Spittal Hill.

On reaching the coll between Spittal Hill and Patie’s Hill there is the option to include a detour to the summit of the latter. Go through the gate on your right and follow the grass path to the summit where there is a collection of microwave link dishes. Return the same way to the track.

The track now descends the other side of the hill to Spittal Farm where it makes a loop around the left side of the farm yard. After the farm a tarmac track takes you back to the public road where you turn left for a short walk along the quiet road to return to your start point.