Monday, 28 September 2020

The Pentlands. Part Two. A Gallery of The Seasons.


                                                   ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN.

Looking something up recently for the previous Pentland Hills post I discovered I had enough photos, taken in all the different seasons of the year, with various companions, for an overall scenic gallery or two. Enough to truly capture this much loved Edinburgh hill range in all its unique glory. A sweeping and majestic viewpoint here of The Pentlands from the moors above Carlops. A week of heavy snowfalls over the east coast landscape a month previously was now rapidly melting under a strong Spring sun.

 A walk of great beauty unfolded, most of it undertaken over grass slopes with Alex chasing targets on his hill bagging list at the time but when we did hit any snow patches they were sometimes ankle to thigh deep to cross. Wading downwards was fine... wading up slope much harder. On a few occasions however snow firm enough in certain places to permit very enjoyable and lengthy standing glissades down the slopes occured. Once a common experience for me on the mountains but a rare treat these days.

A lone buzzard looking for a meal.

The Pentlands run from Edinburgh's suburban outskirts heading south west and inland for around 20km before they fade out into lower grassland near the town of Lanark. This is the hill range starting to drop lower here near the Black Mount region. Still scenic but sheltered enough for green pastures and livestock to thrive.

You can come across unexpected sights on the lower slopes. Fallow deer here.

A sideways view. Happy lawnmowers in action. Young animals by the look of them.

I wonder what chickens think when rabbits suddenly pop out of holes in their midst?

The joy of Spring sunshine and young lambs doing push ups on the grass. Give me twenty more solider. Feel the burn!

And the opposite side of the coin. Hungry adults looking for a handout after several weeks of deep snow and minus 12 overnight temperatures. 

Although the Pentland summits sit below 2000 feet, in winter they can provide challenging but fun conditions. Waist deep snow sometimes or hard packed slopes where you need crampons to climb to the top. Enjoyable in every season.

Even in lush summer conditions they provide walks to think about. An old stone bridge on a right of way path to Mendick Hill. Constructed in 1620 apparently so the same age as the Mayflower and the Pilgrim Fathers sailing to North America. Makes you wonder about the dramatic changes in the USA since- the industrial revolution- the railroads across the plains- cowboys- Indian wars- farming dustbowls- depression era gangsters- the skyscraper cities emerging slowly from virgin swamps or forests... yet this view here has hardly changed in all that time period. A kind of landscape immortality that's very rare in the modern world so close to settled lands.

Arthur's Seat and the Pentlands from the middle of the Firth of Forth shipping lanes. Diffuse sun in winter.

Climbing up Scald Law.  579 metres  or 1,899 feet. Feels higher on a raw winter day.

Think this is Ron on the walk in to Scald Law from the Bavelaw Castle side of the ridge. 

Cutler Fell in early morning winter sunshine. One of the delights of the Pentland Hills nearer Lanark is views like this looking south and further inland towards the higher mountains of the Southern Uplands. Cutler Fell, a remote and wild summit is 748 metres, 2,457 feet high and feels every inch of that bulk in winter, plodding along across extensive upward slopes and false summits as I can testify on another of Alex's hill bags. But an exciting outing.

This quieter end of the Pentland Hills lends itself to great lightning effects as well throughout the year.

Small woods and mist pockets. Sheet 72 Upper Clyde Valley is a fantastic OS Landranger map to have on your person, offering dozens of beautiful, and very quiet days out.

Misty Day. Sheep in Winter.

Sunset on the Pentlands.

An evening with Anne in Edinburgh. The Pentlands rising behind the illuminated city with Hillend Ski Slope lit up... to be continued....


Carol said...

Those kind of hills are my sort of winter walking - don't like the steep, craggy, scary stuff - just the even-sloped stuff where a slide probably won't be too serious (I'd have my ice axe of course)...

Happy lawnmowers - like it - those are my favourite kinds of lawnmowers. I keep thinking about borrowing the farmer's sheep for my lawn - much easier than my strimmer - quieter too!

As to rabbits bothering hens when they pop up suddenly, I don't think other species generally care what any other species is doing unless it's a predator and they're prey. I never see cross-species fighting in my garden birds - sparrows fight sparrows, blue tits fight blue tits, robins fight robins - but they all ignore each other.

Anabel Marsh said...

Beautiful selection! As well as the scenery I love the deer and the lamb doing press ups.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol,
I,m with you there. Being something of a hedonist in life I found I enjoyed the Marilyns and hills like the Pentlands more than the Corbetts and Donalds. The Marilyns that I've done across the Central Belt suit the name, being beautiful, lush and shapely with seductive soft curves... and they feel warm, mentally and physically. Corbetts and Donalds, being higher and generally placed in the Highlands are often cloudy, colder, windier, pathless, tick, fly, and midge infested, and are only enjoyable in hindsight, once the pain, aches, and itching has receded. Did you know Great tits eat the heads and brains of smaller birds if they get hungry...and dead humans if they get the chance... Garden birds... never turn your back on them!

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Anabel,
The Pentlands are a lovely range. We are very lucky to live in such a varied country with different geological features round every bend of the road. You only realise that when you go abroad and appreciate the patchwork quilt quality of the UK landscape even more.

Andy said...

When my mate lived in Edinburgh we made a few forays into the Pentlands but the weather was always against us either grey and grim with low cloud or fierce winter storms and rains. They always looked so tempting on drive up, their shapely curves in contrast to the relatively diminutive height.
I was wondering what that weird light was in the last photo!

Rosemary said...

Some lovely snowy images of the Pentlands - you might think of the deer as lawn mowers, but when they arrive in our garden they don't touch the grass at all. They go for all of my lovely flowers. This happens during the night, and I am non too pleased when I see what they have done as I draw back the blinds in the morning.

Carol said...

Didn't know that about great tits - how horrid! I found a sparrow round the back the other day lying dead with a hole pecked in its middle - wonder if that had been a great tit? Can't have been the local birds of prey as they'd have taken the whole thing away and eaten the lot!

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Andy,
There's a few five star day's out in The Pentlands.

blueskyscotland said...

That must be disheartening Rosemary. We have loads of snails and slugs in mine. Not seen any slow worms or hedgehogs to keep them down either.

blueskyscotland said...

Probably. They ate my granny Carol! Never turn your back on Mother Earth :)