Just a hop, skip and some knobbly tires away from central Edinburgh is one of my favourite parts of living in these parts - the Pentland Hills Regional Parks. Framing Edinburgh from the South, they’re always busy with hikers, dog walkers, runners and cyclists alike. So, wanting to make some use of a beautiful Friday evening (and test some new kit out for a future MTB expedition) I packed up my Brother Big Bro for the first time and took off into the hills.
Cycling out to the hills basically involves joining the canal and sitting on it until Bonaly, which is the first of a variety of points that take you into the hills themselves. It’s ridiculously easy. So easy, in fact, that I actually surprised myself with how quickly I got out there, considering I’d never ridden a rig that had so many bags hanging off it, in particular off the handlebars.
Bonaly Reservoir is just at the tip of the Pentlands, probably one of the closest reservoirs to civilisation, but you’d be forgiven if you’d walked straight past it. But when I pulled off the main path and up onto the reservoir structure, I was pleasantly surprised to find what almost looked like a remote loch, all to myself - until it got dark and I noticed some campfires over the other side.
The next day, I woke up to a tent I hadn’t put up entirely correctly and a 30mph+ winds, and a distinct lack of sleep because of these two factors combined. Not disheartened, I decided to head further into the Pentlands before heading back home.
If you’re thinking about heading into the Pentlands for a quick overnighter, or maybe the start of something longer, Bonaly’s a good place to start, especially if you’re starting after work.