Regular readers will know that I love finding a local walk but I have been so busy recently that I haven’t had time for much exploring. That said, I take my opportunities when I can get them so when I was taking the teens for a promised crepe from Vanilla Pod at Harlaw Reservoir, I saw my chance for some exercise and fresh air albeit at an area I have walked in many times.
The car park was full so we had to park down the road and walk up to the car park and through the woods to Vanilla Pod. That was enough walking for teenage boys who don’t always fancy a stroll as I am sure you can imagine, but when bribed by crepes and chocolate, they can usually be persuaded.
Fuelled up we headed past Vanilla Pod and around the reservoir. Now I have written up this walk before and others around the reservoir, and there is certainly no harm in repeating walks – I do it all the time. But is it always good to look for something a little different. So instead of continuing around the reservoir as usual, we climbed over the stile at the first bend in the path. Once over the stile you can turn left which will take you to the Flotterstone Path or you can go straight signed Black Springs.
Believe it or not, the Black Springs route is one I have never taken, so good news – a new variation. The ground along this route is a little less even but well-marked nonetheless. You just head straight over the hill until you reach another stretch of water – the Black Springs. This is a designated wildlife refuge covering 5.59 hectares of open water, marshy grassland and reed bed. This latter is the second largest reed bed in the Lothians (the largest being Duddingston Loch).
As you face Black Springs, you then turn to the right and walk along the water’s edge; soon you will leave Black Springs behind and you will be walking along the side of Threipmuir Reservoir. Follow the water’s edge until it once more joins the Harlaw Woodland Walk around Harlaw Reservoir.
I didn’t want to push my luck with the boys too much so we turned right and headed along the path back towards the visitor centre, but you could take the longer way. We continued along the woodland path until we came back to the stile we had climbed over initially, then climbed back over it but this time we turned left and followed the path until it joined the Flotterstone path. At that intersection, we turned left again and walked through the waving field of wheat back to the car park and on down the road to the car.
Not an overly long walk, but a good hour at a brisk pace with a new view taken in. The Pentlands have such a variety that I expect you could take a different route every time you head out, but even if you take the same route, the weather and the seasons change so the walk changes.
Remember the Scottish Outdoor Access Code when in the hills.
Remember the farming and wildlife calendar
Published in Konect July 2017
Author: Karen Murray