Southern Pentlands


East Cairn Hill (567m)
Mendick Hill* (451m)
  *see 'Alternative routes' below


Mount Maw (535m)
Grain Heads (532m)
The Mount (538m)
Wether Law (519m)
West Cairn Hill (562m)  
Byrehope Mount (536m)
King Seat* (463m)
Spittal Hill* (526m)
  *see 'Alternative routes' below


800m (2,625ft)


17km (10.5m)


walking : 5:35hr*, running : 2:30hr
 *Naismith's rule : 4km/h distance + 600m/h ascent

Main route summary

Soft rolling hills above West Linton are more remote and less visited than their nearby Northern Pentland neighbours. This route crosses the Cauldstane Slap through which travels the 'Thieves Road' - an old drovers' route where herdsmen were frequently attacked and robbed of their cattle. Today the only attacks come from the old bits of fence- wire occasionally springing up from grass and scratching legs. The ground underfoot is delighfully soft and wonderful for walking or running along. Navigation for the first part of the route is fairly obvious, but becomes a bit trickier beyond West Cairn Hill.

start/finish Baddingsgill
(grid ref : NT126550)


GPS data download GPX file of this route

easy Some paths, otherwise heather and grass difficult
easy Tricky in mist testing
easyA wee bit of effortlong day
ok Rolling hills stunning
main route outlineprint route
Getting there
  • West Linton is a quaint, yet expanding village on the A702, 20km south of Edinburgh.
  • Just south of the Gordon Arms Hotel, a road heads north west to Baddinsgill - drive up this road for 4km to some forestry immediately before Baddinsgill - there is space to park a couple of vehicles by a cattle grid, or at the end of the public road by the sawmill.

Mount Maw
  • By the cattle grid, a sign points the directions of various Tweeds Trails, one of which points 'Carlops via Stoneypath'.
  • Follow this sign down a grassy path to a wooden bridge over Lyne Water.
  • Cross the bridge, turn right and follow a well maintained dyke.
  • Cross a couple of wooden walkways, then uphill to a gate in the fence ahead.
  • Through this gate and cross the track on the other side then head directly uphill on open hillside ahead to reach Faw Mount.
  • Drop to a narrow gap beyond this, then pick up a grassy track alongside a wall to follow to the summit of Mount Maw. A trig point sits on the highest point where the wall also turns abruptly.

The Mount
  • From Mount Maw, a fence aims initially north east with a path following alongside it. Continue on this, which is delightfully soft underfoot, to the next crest coming from the east (Lamb Hill).
  • At some point, cross over the fence to the path on its eastern side - keeping on the western side will miss the next two summits.
  • A trod is followed over Grain Heads to The Mount.

East Cairn Hill
  • Following the fence, drop to the wet col above Deer Hope.
  • Beyond this col, terrain is easier on the west side of the fence, where a faint trod can be followed around Wether Hill.
  • Cross back over to the east side of fence, drop to a wet col and continue uphill on a faint path following a dyke.
  • The dyke leads to the summit of East Cairn Hill, marked 567m on the OS map, although there is no cairn or trig to indicate this.
  • Continue north west following the wall until it turns north-east abruptly and a faint path continues north-west.
  • Slightly further on and by a cairn, the path meets up with another coming up from the Cauldstane Slap.
  • The path then becomes an obvious, worn scar to follow to a large cairn resting on East Cairn Hill's north-west summit. Fine views from this spot.

West Cairn Hill
  • Return to the cairn aside the path junction, then follow the path hugging the fence down to the wet Cauldstane Slap.
  • Cross Cauldstane Slap, and reach the Thieves Road. A direction sign and stile sit on the fence crossing this track. Cross over the stile and follow a faint path on south side of fence.
  • The path meets a wall and continues up to the summit of West Cairn Hill with its trig point and uninterupted views westwards.

Byrehope Mount
  • Leaving the trig behind, follow the fence-line southwest on an obvious path, taking care not to be whipped by the old wire hidden in the grass.
  • The wall turns suddenly, but fortunately the path continues south west and is easily traced. Descending towards Wolf Crags a cairn is met and path splits into two - take neither fork, instead head straight on over shallow heather.
  • Another fence-line is met and followed briefly around Wolf Crags - an interesting gap in otherwise heather clad rolling surroundings.
  • As the fence-line begins to turn south, leave it and step up a faint path through heather aiming south-east onto Byrehope Mount's northern shoulder.
  • A fence appears from the west and this can be followed to the summit.

  • Follow the fence-line and wall eastwards downhill.
  • At a convienient point, cross the fence and wall onto their south side as there is more forestry present than is marked on the OS map. On pathless undulating and tussocky ground, trace the wall back to the cattle-grid at the route start.

© 2017 Steven Fallon