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Walking in and around Edinburgh:
Culture AND Nature

Edinburgh is a perfect city to explore its culture and its natural surrounding countryside all in one. This is exactly why our Art Director, Magda Kleinhout, visited Edinburgh with a friend of hers. Together they succeeded in completing three walks, each around 18km (approx. 11 miles) long.

Walk 1

City and nature walk to and around Holyrood Park

Starting point: Royal Mile on the side of Edinburgh Castle

Lovely walk with some challenging hills.

Whilst we were shopping, we walked down the Royal Mile from the castle to Holyrood House, one of the Royal family’s residences. We turned right into Holyrood Park and starting the climb up Arthur's Seat, an ancient volcanic peak situated within the park. As we started our climb, we noticed we were not the only walkers brave enough to venture up the 251m elevation.

The brisk ascent was rewarded by beautiful views across the city, Firth of Forth, the sea and surrounding countryside. On the opposite side of the hill, where it was quieter, we descended and continued our walk towards the village of Duddingston. After exploring this charming town, which included visiting Dr Neil's gardens and Duddingston Loch, we walked to Scotland's oldest pub, The Sheep Heid. After lunch, we climbed Holyrood Park's Crow Hill and continued across the Great Plains back to Holyrood House and across to the Royal Mile shops, and made our way back towards the castle. 

Walk 2

The Water of Leith Walkway walk

Starting point: Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. 

A fun and leisurely walk

The walkway along the Water of Leith is a whopping 35 km long (approx. 21 miles). We decided to start the Walkway at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Before setting off on our walk, we ventured into the museum. After a cup of tea and carrot cake in the museum’s beautiful garden, we walked to the Water of Leith. The river situated in its green valley meanders gently through the landscape. 

Soon we arrived at the pretty Dean Village and, after another half-hour of walking, the very desirable village of Stockbridge was upon us, where it was more than worthwhile strolling around all the charming shops selling antiques and vintage second-hand curiosities.  

After a delicious lunch by the water’s edge, we continued towards the Royal Botanic Garden, and spent an hour looking around. The route remained green, but did become a little less green as we got closer to the harbour area. The harbour itself is attractive with its number of restaurants serving worthy seafood. We decided to pay another visit to the Royal yacht 'Britannia' that is moored at the quay. By bus, we left and returned to the city centre.  

Walk 3

From Hillend to Pentland Hills onto Bonaly with a visit to the Colinton Train Tunnel 

Starting point: Hillend (easily reached by regional bus from the city centre). 

Energetic walk.

We decided to venture up the Pentland Hills in Hillend. This walk started with an immediate tough steep climb to Caerketton Hill. But, the rewards once we reach the summit was breathtaking and with stunning views of the Pentlands and Edinburgh. We didn’t rest for long as we started the climb up to Allermuir Hill. After a picnic lunch - there are no eateries in the Pentlands - our hike continued to the third summit, Capelaw Hill. After that, the walk became easier, with the descent down to Bonaly. The final stretch took us past water and forest. Once in Bonaly, you can catch the bus back, or, like us, visit the 1.5-km (0.9 mile) Colinton train tunnel, which is no longer in use. The Colinton community project painted the inside of the tunnel which the residents are immensely proud of - and rightly so. 

Magda's tips for good walking:

Choose good walking shoes. 

Having good walking shoes is imperative when you go on adventurous walks with numerous climbs. It is essential that your shoes have a good profile, because when you go hill walking, the pathways tend to be un-even rather than the smooth paths you would normally experience. Ensure the shoes fit you correctly for hill walking, as you do not want to experience your feet sliding during the descents you make. I have walked in Wolky's Traction and I particularly liked them. This hiking shoe is sturdy without being heavy and provides fantastic support.

Suffering from blisters under the toes? Try toe socks!  

No matter how good my shoes are, after walking more than 10 km (6 miles) I often experience from getting blisters under the toes. To try to eliminate this from happening I tried toe socks. These are specially designed walking socks whereby the toes are separated. The result was amazing - I had no blisters thanks to these socks. 

Invest in a good hiking backpack. 

Buy a good hiking backpack in which you can carry your waterproofs, water bottle, etc. This should be a backpack that is easily adjustable and supportive on the hips, so that the shoulders don't have to carry all the weight.  

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