The Pentland Hills Regional Park is my favourite escape from Edinburgh. Easily accessible by bus, getting into the Scottish lowlands only takes around 40 minutes from Scotland’s capital. The Carnethy Hill and Turnhouse Hill Pentlands Walk is one of the best walks in the Pentlands! Here’s everything you need to know before you go.
The Carnethy Hill and Turnhouse Hill Pentlands Walk in a nutshell
Turnhouse Hill & Carnethy Hill Walk Key Information
Start of the Walk: Flotterstone Inn
End of the Walk: Flotterstone Inn
Length: 11.8 km / 7.3 miles
Time: 2 hours
Ascent: 556 m / 1824 feet
Difficulty: Intermediate; The walk isn’t technically difficult, however, there are a few steep sections and walking poles would be helpful if you have knee problems.
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How to get from Edinburgh to the Flotterstone Inn
This walk is incredible accessible. You can easily get to the Flotterstone Inn, where the hike begins, by either car or bus.
Edinburgh to the Flotterstone Inn by Bus
Take the Stagecoach 111 bus from the Edinburgh Bus Station to the Flotterstone Inn.
You can pay on the bus (it costs less than 3 GBP round-trip!) either by cash or contactless.
It takes around 40 minutes to reach the Flotterstone Inn from the Edinburgh bus station.
Parking Near the Flotterstone Inn
If you’re heading to the trailhead by car, there’s a parking lot right next to the Flotterstone Inn, just off the main road.
Our time doing the Carnethy Hill and Turnhouse Hill Pentlands Walk
We took the 9:20 bus from the Edinburgh bus station and arrived at the Flotterstone Inn at around 10am. After carefully crossing the street and passing the Flotterstone Inn, we followed the road past the car park. The road led us to a junction where you could either continue straight along the road, or go left and through a gate towards Scald Law. You want to take that left, going through the gate. There’s a sign pointing you towards Scald Law, too!
The path starts out with a pretty gradual uphill section, and then it ramps up towards the top of the first hill and is quite steep!
There’s a very short section that’s flat, and then you start heading up to Turnhouse Hill! From the top, you get incredible views of the surrounding hills, reservoirs, and you can even see Edinburgh on clear days. At this point, you’re at 506 meters.
Once you’ve had enough of the views, you’ll dip down slightly before heading up the Carnethy Hill. It looks quite steep but it isn’t as bad as the first bit heading up to Turnhouse Hill. Carnethy Hill sits at 573 meters.
The tops of the hills were really windy, so we didn’t spend too long at the tops. We took a few photos and continued on! After Carnethy Hill, we heading down the trail. In the saddle between Carnethy Hill and Scald Law, there’s a road that goes to the right. You’ll want to take this road, heading downhill.
As stunning as the views were from the tops of the hills, I really enjoyed this section of the walk. There were so many sheep roaming and grazing. You also get incredible views into the valley and reservoir below (which you’re heading towards!).
At the bottom of the hill, you’ll come to the main paved road. Follow that road towards the right. There will be a small stream on your right-hand side, which then leads to the reservoir.
After going around the left side of the entire reservoir, you’ll find a small turning point to the right thats signposted for Flotterstone. Follow that, and just 10 minutes later, you’ll be back at the Flotterstone Inn. The bus comes at 37 past every hour, and the bus stop is just a few meters down the main road towards Edinburgh.
We had just missed a bus, so we stopped for soup at the Flotterstone Inn (recommend), and we even had time for a hot chocolate and coffee (also recommend).
After that, it was a quick forty minutes back to Edinburgh! It was amazing to get outside – sometimes we forget that the Pentlands are such an amazing city escape, and they’re right in our backyard!