It has been yet another marvellous day here in Edinburgh weather-wise.  Warm enough to walk out without a coat; non-stop sunshine; and cloudless skies. Wonderful.

I took this opportunity to explore a new part of Edinburgh – new to us anyway. A couple of miles away from home, to the south of Edinburgh, lie the Hermitage of Braid and Blackford Hill. This area is one of Edinburgh’s many nature reserves. You can see a map here.

I started at the Toll House (far left on the map).  I did not really know what to expect, so imagine my delight when I was met with these views:

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The path takes you along to Hermitage House and its pretty gardens:

Further along, there was an opportunity to climb right towards the Hermitage Golf Course and Braid Hill, where I saw my first views across Edinburgh:

Doubling back, I then resumed my walk alongside the Braid Burn, crossing a lovely bridge to reach the access to Blackford Hill:

You can see the start of the 100 stairs I needed to climb to get to the top of Blackford Hill, the summit of which is 164m. It doesn’t sound like much, but it was a good pull, especially in the sunshine. Here you can see some shots of the emerging views as I climbed, plus proof that I reached the radio mast:

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That was not the end of it! There was still part of the hill to climb to reach the summit. But oh my, was it worth it, as you can see from these shots:

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And here is a filmed panorama of the 360degree view. Please excuse the slightly wobbly video – I hope you can get at least some idea of how breathtaking it was to see Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh Castle, the wider city, the Pentland Hills and across the Forth Estuary to Fife:

Making my way down the other side of the hill, I ended up at Blackford Pond to finish up this fabulous morning.

As as with my walk yesterday, I was accompanied by many woodland and garden birds along the way.  Once again, my walk’s soundtrack was the song of robins, wrens, chaffinches, greenfinches, thrushes and loads of chiffchaffs, I am pleased to say.  In addition, I heard woodpeckers and meadow pippets and I think I caught skylarks on the top of the hill.

All the time I was out, I kept thinking how ridiculous it was to have lived in Edinburgh for over 6 years, and indeed lived locally to this reserve for 3 years without visiting before now. I am very glad to have put that situation right now. 😀