Pentland Hills, Scotland

This evening, I am focusing on the Pentland Hills which form a 90sq. km Regional Park situated S.W.of Edinburgh.

There appears no consensus on the origins of the name. One line of thought is that ‘Pent’ may be derived from the Old Norse for Pict, ‘Petr’. Alternatively, ‘pen’ is a P-Celtic term for ‘hill’.

Etymology apart, the key aspects of the Pentland Hills are:

  • 20 miles (32 km) in length.
  • Mainly privately owned and farmed. Sheep raising predominates with game bird shooting.
  • Suited to a wide range of activities including walking, cycling, orienteering, horse riding and skiing. (Latter on an artificial slope.)
  • Well endowed with archaeology, particularly Iron-Age hill forts such as Castlelaw, Caerketton and Lawhead.
  • Home to military training areas.
  • Location of the so-called Battle of Rullion Green, 1666.

Geology of the Pentland Hills;

  • Mainly formed of 400m year old volcanic rocks from the Devonian age.
  • Some of the southerly hills comprise Devonian red sandstone.
  • The heart of the hills are formed of folded sedimentary rocks of Silurian and Ordovician periods dating from 510m -410m years ago.

Clearly, these prominent hills satisfy a wide range of interests and activities.



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