Nearest Town – Penicuik
Distance – 16 Miles 600m of Climbing
Terrain – Variable
Difficulty – Moderate
There are a number of good routes in the Pentlands. The following is one of my favourites and is good for a half day outting. It’s 26km long with 600m of climbing. Suitable for any rider on any type of mountain bike. You do need a map and compass and the ability to use them.
Start at Harlaw Reservoir carpark Grid Ref: 182655
Follow the trail to the visitors centre (toilets) and then along the west side of Harlaw Reservoir. Continue along the north side of Threipmuir Reservoir and cross at the west end aiming for Bavelaw castle. Take the obvious track southwards and uphill aiming to the west of Hare Hill. The route goes west of West Kip until the high point of Cap law is reached.
The descent to Nine Mile Burn is simply great fun. Potentially fast so check your brakes are working!
At Nine Mile Burn go right on the minor road heading for Carlops. You do need to join the main road for 500m so take care. The turning you want is on the right at Grid Ref 161558 which is past the Church and phone box. Don’t take the earlier track as it becomes very difficult / impossible to cycle!
Skirt Carlops Hill and proceed towards Fairliehope. The track is good so progress although uphill is fine. Keep going to the west of North Esk Reservoir and west of Cock Rig.
The descent from here is really great fun but watch for some of the drainage ditches at speed.
You are aiming for Listonsheils where you need to go right on a faint path. If you go too far you will end up in Balerno. Your aim is to find East Rig and onto the Marchbank works. Go to Upper dean park and then onto the path to Balleny farm and back to your car
Submitted By TrailScotland member Philip Taylor
Filed Under: Natural Southern Trails