A circuit of four of the higher Pentland tops: West Kip, East Kip, South Black Hill and Scald Law. A straightforward walk on grassy and well made paths. There are numerous easy open gates along the route and one stile.
Distance: 12.4 km / 7.7 miles
Ascent: 520 m / 1700 feet
Start / finish: Balerno (Redmoss)
Facilities: free parking at Redmoss/Thriepmuir (grid reference NT 167 638), nearest toilets at Harlaw Visitor Centre, other facilities in Balerno,
Start the walk at the Thriepmuir carpark on the Redmoss Nature Reserve outside Balerno . From the car park you can either use the path on the south side of the parking area or simply return to the road and walk southwards towards the hills. The road crosses a bridge at the reservoirs and goes uphill towards Bavelaw. On reaching Bavelaw go firstly right (signed for 9 Mile Burn) and then left through woods, to reach a gate onto the open moorland.
From this point there is a walk of almost 3km across the moorland on a good path to reach the foot of the Kips. The path undulates as it crosses over the shoulder of Hare Hill and then starts to gradually gain height as you approach the Kips.
The ascent onto West Kip although steepish is short and very quickly the summit is gained. With some small rocky outcrops this is probably the most attractive summit of the day. Proceed eastwards on the obvious path to the rounded summit of East Kip (there’s only about 30m of ascent involved this time).
After East Kip, the path descends to a coll where a path from Eight Mile Burn crosses the hills. From the coll the direct route up Scald Law is visible ahead of you. However, as you start to ascend keep right at the path junction so that you are walking in a south east direction to the summit of South Black Hill with its large cairn/shelter rocks. At 563m this is the third highest point of the Pentlands yet it is often missed out by people walking the direct route between the Kips and Scald Law.
From South Black Hill it is barely nothing more than a gentle stroll on a grassy path to the highest point of the day, Scald Law. At befits the highest point in a range of hills, the 579m summit is marked with a trig point. The path now descends the north east side of the hill to reach a coll at 450m and a junction with the Old Kirk Road path. To complete the circuit back to Balerno, go left at this junction on to a good path that descends to the Howe close to the Loganlea Reservoir. A stile needs to be crossed as you go down the hill.
Once at the Howe there is a choice of paths criss crossing the area, turn left (west) on any of them to follow the burn The path bears right to enter the Green Cleugh, crosses the burn a couple of times (not bridged) and passes a waterfall. Beyond the waterfall the path winds its way between the steep sided hills and bears left. Stick to the obvious main path (there are a number of side paths leading up into the hills) in a now westerly direction. As the path emerges from the hills onto flatter moorland the woodland of Bavelaw is visible ahead of you.
Pass through the gate into the trees, note Bavelaw Castle (a private house) to your right. The road now turns left to reach the junction with the sign post that you passed at the start of the walk. From here it is about 1km downhill on the tarmac road, or use the paths at the side of the road, to reach the car park.
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