Walking the 7 hills of Edinburgh

It is not really clear how many hills there are in Edinburgh but it is a hilly city, as all cyclists will know. But the best known 7 hills are (in alphabetic order) Arthur’s Seat, Blackford Hill, Braid Hills, Calton Hill, Castle Hill, Corstorphine Hill and Craiglockart Hill. There is an annual race around these and they make a fine days walk for non-runners.

From Craiglockart Hill looking towards Braid Hills

We’d had great weather for 2 weeks and I looked forward to the week-end when I planned to do this walk. Of course, that was the day the weather started to change and I left in cloud and light rain. There are a multitude of ways around these hills – the race starts and ends at Calton Hill – but I wanted to avoid the walk between Craiglockart and Corstorphine hill as this involves going through one of the less attractive parts of the city.

So starting at Craiglockart Hill, my route was Craiglockart, Braid, Blackford, Arthur’s Seat, Calton, Castle and finally Corstorphine Hill. I took the number 10 bus to Craiglockart Tennis centre then turned left then right and walked down to the pond. There is supposed to be a path up the hill from there – it wasn’t obvious to me but I found a track through the trees and went straight up the hill.

Communcation towers on Braid Hills

It rained a bit on the way up but it had stopped by the time I got to the top.

I headed down following the path towards Morningside, onto Craiglea Drive then across Comiston Road to Braid Road. Up the hill, past the Hermitage of Braid and just after the end of the pavement, too the path left up Braid Hills.

On the top there are two large communication towers. The weather was starting to improve.


Edinburgh Castle from Blackford Hill



From the top of Braid Hills, I headed down towards the golf course to Blackford Hill.  The best route is to follow the edge of the golf course then drop down to Braid Hills Drive.  Then, down XXX to the Hermitage of Braid. Unfortunately, the bridge over the burn was closed but luckily, there wasn’t a lot of water so I found some stepping stones and got across without wet feet. Then, more or less straight up to the top of Blackford Hill.  By then, the sun was shining.

From Blackford Hill, I went down past the Observatory then fiddled around through various streets to get down to Mayfield Road. It was time for a coffee and excellent lemon drizzle cake  in Earthy, an interesting food shop and cafe.

Looking towards Fife from Arthur's Seat

On to Arthur’s Seat. Up Causewayside,  turn right at the lights then straight on, past the Commonwealth Pool into Holyrood Park.  I normally go straight up the steep side of Arthur’s Seat – by the time I got to the top, the cloud had closed in again. But the weather in Fife looked to be a good deal better.

Calton Hill

The top of Arthur’s Seat was a bit chilly so I dropped down quickly to the north, heading for St Margaret’s Loch.  Past Holyrood Palace and the Scottish Parliament Building then up Calton Road, just past the cemetery, to a path leading up to Regent Road.  I crossed the road, passed the old Royal High School and a few minutes later I was on the top.

Quickly down to Princes Street, through the gardens and up Castle Hill. I didn’t actually get to the summit as this would have meant paying to get into the Castle but I reckoned it was near enough.


Princes Street (and tram works) from Castle Hill

I went down the steps to Castle Terrace to the West End where I met my wife and daughter for lunch in La Petit’ Folie.  Mussels as a starter then not-very-french but very tasty  fish and chips (poisson-frites?)


Six down, one to go. After lunch it was a bit of a walk through Dean Village and leafy Ravelston to Corstorphine Hill. The path was easy to find – right at the end of Ravelston Dykes. By now the sun was shining again.

Corstorphine Hill tower

The top of Corstorphine Hill is wooded so no views but there is a tower on the top which was erected by a fan of Sir Walter Scott. The weather was lovely but there isn’t much to see so I didn’t spend time on top. I followed the zoo fence down, then Kaimes Road to the A8. Number 31 bus back into town.

A really good walk which lets you see a lot of Edinburgh – with great views from all the hills except Corstorphine. I started at 8.15 and was at the bus stop to get back into town by 3.15, with a 1/2 hour stop for coffee and an hour for lunch. Probably about 14 miles but I didn’t measure it.

One thought on “Walking the 7 hills of Edinburgh

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *