On Sunday, Janie and I decided to take a walk around Roslin Glen, after a quick trip to Go Outdoors in Edinburgh so that she could buy some new boots (I’ll try and persuade her to give a full review of the boots in a couple of months!). It seemed like a good chance, locally, for her to test her boots out.
We took the route described in Walk Highlands, more or less.
We started off at the car park for Roslin Chapel. It wasn’t massively busy, but that’s most likely because the chapel isn’t open till midday on a Sunday, apparently. We walked back towards the village itself and took a right, through one of the streets. Even in the most urban part of the walk, there was interesting things to see. The highlight was a pair of Bullfinches in a garden.
It’s not long before you come off the main street and onto a path. The path leads you along for the best part of a mile, near farmland, until you come to a bridge. Just before the bridge (which, incidentally, the view from was a bit of a let-down!), there’s a sign directing you to either Bilston or Polton (as shown below).
We took the route heading for Polston. We noticed that the path here had been a little churned up by horses, but didn’t really think anything of it. After about 500 metres, we came to yet another turn off, advertised as Roslin, via Riverside Path – as shown below. In that 500 metres, we did manage to get our first views of Great Spotted Woodpecker for the day – but definitely not the last!
You’ll note that there’s an interpretation board in the picture above. There’s actually quite a few of these along the way, detailing some of the history of the area and some of the wildlife that can be seen. Worth stopping and taking a look at.
It was literally just as we turned off onto this path that we figured out why the path had been so heavily trodden by horses – the 4 people on horseback coming up the hill in full gallop would be a good hint! It’s the first time I’ve ever seen what looks like a horse clearly enjoying itself, too!
After just a few paces, we found the first (and last) view of the day – shown below. It’s actually much more impressive than the photo makes out.
The path quickly turns downhill at this point, heading towards the river North Esk. Initially, the path is made from nice, clean steps, making the walk quite easy. That doesn’t last, however!
Once at the bottom of the slope, and just above the river, we had some great views of a Dipper on the opposite bank. One of my favourite birds, and a real highlight for me for the day!
For the next half of the walk, I had very little opportunity to take photos. I tended to need the use of both hands! This is where the walk got, for lack of a better term, FUN! The path is still there, but as it had been raining quite a bit over the previous days, the path was more than a little muddy, though I suspect that is normal for this walk. As there is a lot of uphill and downhill on muddy ground, the slip risk was considerably higher than normal. I have to say, I only slipped twice the whole time, and Janie managed to avoid it completely – kudos to her new boots!
Additionally, as a result of the heavy snows and winds during the worst of the winter months, there were a lot of fallen trees across the path. A fair amount of the time was spent climbing over or under tree trunks, but it was surprisingly, really good fun! Janie and I both agree that this type of thing adds that little bit of variety to the walk, making it significantly more interesting.
Eventually, the path comes to a small junction, where you have the option of going up, into the woods or down, next to the river. We’d both been on this walk before, so we knew exactly which route we wanted to take – down towards the river!
As the river was quite heavily in spate, the path was a little, shall we say, indistinct… there were quite a few points where we had to try and cling on to bits of cliff, or jump from one (very wet) stone to the next. It was great! 🙂 We’re both big fans of the Elie Chain Walk, so this was right up our street!
After the riverside escapades, it was a pretty simple affair. The path goes uphill a bit, then down towards Roslin Castle (which I’d never visited before, despite visiting the chapel several times!)
Although this wasn’t a particularly long walk, in terms of distance (just over 4 miles), it took us well over 2 hours to complete, but it was probably the most fun I’ve had on a walk for quite a long time! It was a good combination of interesting walking, combined with interesting wildlife. The birds were in fine voice, with the start of spring, and Blue Tits, Great Tits, Robins, etc were everywhere. The only drawback is that we didn’t see the Nuthatches which apparently reside in Roslin Glen. It’s one of the northernmost breeding sites for them in the UK, and no matter how many times I visit, I’ve never seen one yet! I’m beginning to think they live in a totally different and inaccessible part of the glen!
If you do plan on doing this walk – make sure you bring a change of footwear, because they WILL get muddy!