Dolphinton, Garvald, Slipperfield and Mendick Hill

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This circular walk in the foothills of the Pentland Hills includes a climb of some 180m up Mendick Hill and some sections which either rely on the access rights conferred by the Land Reform Scotland Act (2003), or include partially obstructed or seemingly private paths which are nevertheless recognised by Borders Council under the Act as part of the wider path network. In these cases, alternative routes along minor roads are indicated. Omitting the climb up the hill not only reduces the total height gain but converts the route to a moderate walk and reduces its length to about 8.7 miles.

The walk starts along the minor road from Dolphinton to Garvald, but soon diverts onto the disused railway track which runs alongside the road. It then follows a relatively little-used but officially recognised right of way, with the possibility of an alternative route along the roads. Crossing the road, the route follows the drive to Garvald House, which is also part of the wider path network, while once again, the road offers an alternative route. Having passed through Garvald Village, there is a shorter alternative but the recommended route crosses West Water by a footbridge and follows the first part of the long right of way across the Pentland Hills via the Covenanter's Grave. On reaching the old drove road, the route turns north-east, crosses Medwyn Water and climbs the shallow valley of the Garvald Burn, passing through moorland and to the right of two massive stone cairns.

Once across the pass, the route drops by North Slipperfield Farm and takes the road that passes through West Linton Golf Course. At the south-west corner of the golf course, the route picks up a track that follows the line of a Roman road, which crosses (another!) West Water by a bridge built in 1620. The track then crosses the road to South Slipperfield and an area of extensive grazing land with narrow belts of trees, to reach Ingraston Farm. The path up Mendick Hill leaves the track along this stretch and zigzags up to the triangulation pillar at the summit, from where there are extensive views in all directions. If desired, it is then possible to avoid returning down the same path to the track by taking advantage of the Scottish 'right to roam', but those choosing this option should be careful to adhere to the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. Beyond Ingraston Farm, the route climbs slightly before finally passing alongside a sand quarry as it drops back down to Dolphinton.

Scotland - South Scotland - Scottish Borders - Pentland Hills


Ancient Monument, Birds, Butterflies, Flowers, Good for Kids, Great Views, Hills or Fells, Moor, Public Transport, Wildlife

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