West Linton to Edinburgh
The Meadows B & B was a really nice place to stay last night, with a decent breakfast this morning – the sausage was better for sure, but still not quite there.
Over breakfast I had a good chat with Cath and Keith who were staying there. They were taking a week out from what sounded like a very hard time; they were 24/7 carers for some old people and it certainly sounded like they needed some time to recharge batteries that’s for sure. We got to talking about my walk and why I was doing it and they very kindly donated £5 towards my sponsorship – many thanks.
Again I probably spent too much time talking instead of getting myself ready for the day ahead but it’s nice to just sit and chat as I don’t get too many opportunities during the average walking day. I still managed to get out the door before 9am but I was a little concerned as it was a longer day’s walking in front of me.
After the short stroll in to the centre of West Linton, if that’s what you can call it, I headed up the hill out of the village and picked up an old Roman road towards Carlops, saving me walking along the A702. The rain over night made the track a little sticky in places but generally it was easy going and I made excellent time, covering the three miles to Carlops in just under an hour, and that was including the half mile climb to the track. A good start indeed and I hoped that the rest of the day would go as well.
From Carlops I headed out over the Pentland Hills Regional Park. Looking at the route for today this would probably be the slowest bit as I wound my way round a number of hills. Fortunately the path didn’t actually take me to the top of any of the hills but there were a number of climbs along the way.
Having been walking for a couple of hours, and finding a stone style to use as a seat, I took a rest. This was quite a pretty spot, nestled between two hills with a little stream, sorry burn, running down the bottom of the mini gorge I was in.
I sat there for ten minutes or so soaking up the atmosphere before heading along the narrow path round the next hill. This wasn’t as bad as some of the paths I’ve walked, especially those on the Pennine Way with their really nasty drop-offs a few inches away from you, but if you lost your footing and went over the side it was still bad enough to do plenty of damage. I didn’t hang around on this section just to be on the safe side.
Coming round the final hill I was greeted by a fantastic panoramic view of the landscape all the way over to the Firth of Forth and Edinburgh way off in the distance. I still had quite a few miles to go but seeing Edinburgh put a little spring in my step knowing I’d be there soon, relatively speaking of course.
Making my way down from the hills was interesting. The rain had made it a little on the boggy side but there were large areas of track made from logs sunk in to the ground. This was great for making sure I didn’t lose my boots in the bogs but they weren’t exactly the easiest of things to walk in, making it difficult to keep to a natural stride. They helped though so I shouldn’t really complain too much.
I stopped for lunch on another style and took my boots off for a bit. The wind was whipping across the landscape a bit but this was welcomed as the sun was beginning to heat up compared to first thing this morning.
Rested I headed off to attack the final eleven miles of the day. The walk in to Balerno was fairly straight forward, following lanes most of the way. It wasn’t exactly interesting but it allowed me to make good time, getting me closer to the end of the day’s walk a lot sooner than I thought I would.
From Balerno I picked up the Water of Leith river and followed the riverside cycle path all the way in to Edinburgh. This was a lovely part of the walk, shaded by the trees, herons trying to catch fish on the river and small waterfalls and weirs to look at along the way. If you’re ever in Edinburgh and fancy a break from the hustle and bustle I’d highly recommend taking a walk by the river as you’d never know you were making your way through such a big city.
I made excellent time today and I was all checked in at the Queens Guest House by 4:15pm. I’d chosen this accommodation for its location, it being just a few minutes from all the shops and restaurants/pubs but I really did hit lucky with my choice. My room was fantastic, loads of room with superb decor and the en-suite shower was to die for. It was double the size of the normal cupboard sized shower I’ve gotten used to. I knew I was going to be ok here for a few nights.
After sorting myself out – yes, the shower was divine! – I logged on to the free wifi and had a video call with the girls. It was lovely to see them again and not just to hear their voice at the end of a distant line. Elisa’s not been very well but she managed to crack a smile which was nice to see. Alice yet again reminded me to try and find a beer postcard and to find something to send down to them. I had a request for a Loch Ness monster, an elephant among other things.
Getting a little peckish now I headed out and made a beeline for the Black Rose Tavern on Rose Street knowing that I’d be able to get something to eat and drink there and listen to some good old rock tunes in the process. Thanks Kate for introducing me to the Black Rose last time I visited!
I originally planned on just having a couple of drinks with my food before heading back to my room to recover from the long walk but once there I just didn’t want to leave. There was a quiz which I wish I’d actually entered instead of just listening. I’d have given the winning team a run for their money for sure, me and my team of one!
After the quiz things took a bit of a downward turn when the rock karaoke started. My word there was some awful “singing” going on and to hear classic rock tunes getting murdered was almost more than I could take…but the beer was going down nicely so I hung in there for a little longer, finally heading back to my room gone midnight.
The long stretch in to Edinburgh went really well today. Again it wasn’t the most interesting of walks but now that I’m in Edinburgh I’m looking forward to relaxing for a couple of days, sorting out kit and supplies and celebrating my entry in to Scotland properly.