A Guide to Hiking the Pentlands Nine Mile Burn
Ever feel like you need to get out of the city and see some nature?
I sure do! The past weekend, I was feeling a bit sluggish. Instead of taking a day to rest, I decided to get out and see some Scottish nature! Sometimes all you need is a little fresh air.
I hiked the Nine Mile Burn, a walk/hike in the Scottish Pentlands. The Pentlands are actually a short 45-minute bus ride away from Edinburgh, and a FABULOUS way to feel like your miles away from a city.
I didn’t actually know I was going to hike the Nine Mile Burn, but I planned the same route, and wow is it a stunner!
How to Get There
To get to the Pentlands and the start of the hike, take the 44 bus from Princes Street. Take the bus all the way to Balerno. The bus actually is a loop service, and you want to get off just a couple stops from Main Street. It’s the stop at the intersection of Cockburn Street and Mansfield Road. It costs £1.60 to take the bus.
From there, walk up Mansfield road (away from town).
After about half an hour of walking, you’ll get to a parking lot. At the parking lot, go right on the trail, then left onto the road. Continue past the “no cars” sign, and you’ll eventually run into a sign that leads you towards the Nine Mile Burn.
The hike is absolutely beautiful! I went when there was loads of freshly fallen snow – it went up to my thighs! It reminded me of my final day at Annapurna Base Camp.
You go up and down 5 different hills: West Kip, East Kip, Scald Law, Carnethy Hill, and Turnhouse Hill. Luckily, once you go up the first hill, you’re walking on a ridge, so the uphills from there, though still substantial, are not too bad. I think the snow made it difficult (there was a lot of slipping!), but the weather was gorgeous and I can imagine it’s a beautiful long walk without the snow.
With the snow, it was hard to believe I was in Scotland! It felt like I was in a mountain range- it was the perfect day escape from Edinburgh. The walk takes 4 to 5 hours.
Once you finished Turnhouse Hill, follow the trail down to the Flotterstone Inn. Here, you can grab a meal or hot drink at the pub (a GREAT way to end the day). There’s a bus stop just a couple minutes down the road from The Inn. Check the bus times, though, as they slow towards the afternoon and have few regular services sometimes! You’ll take the Stagecoach 101 bus, which costs £1.40 and takes you to the Edinburgh Bus Terminal.
What to Bring
To be totally honest, I underestimated this hike. I wore hiking boots and yoga pants, and brought along a fleece and down jacket. If it’s snowing, you’ll want gaiters and crampons, as it gets REALLY steep and slippy. Also, there will be snow in your shoes without gaiters (speaking from experience). Trekking pants are good, especially if they’re waterproof. If it isn’t snowing, you probably won’t need some of these things, but bring a raincoat! And gloves!
I brought loads of snacks with me, and I’m glad I did! It was a long walk and I got hungry! I also brought a thermos of tea, which was really nice, as it was COLD. And also a litre of water, which I went through.
It’s important to have a map or maps.me on your phone, as cell reception is spotty.
Ever been to the Pentlands? Are you up for the Nine Mile Burn?
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