Cicerone guides are generally informative in every way, well presented and affordable. Susan Falconer’s guide, which features 30 walks in the Pentland Hills, is a perfect example.Susan Falconer herself has been a countryside ranger with the Pentland Hills Ranger Service since 1995, so there isn’t much she doesn’t know about these hills. The book is full of information both useful (necessary) and fascinating, with historical and fanciful anecdotes as well as points of interest on flora and fauna and the well worth considering “best walked clockwise if the wind is from the west!”
The walks themselves can be started from Edinburgh, Midlothian and West Lothian and vary in length from the gentle Harlow Reservoir circuit of 3km on the flat to the challenging 27km with 484m climb Thieves Road. A handy appendix gives a list of the walks with their distances, amount of climb and the length of time you might expect to take, so you can select your route by how much energy you feel like expending. The only improvement I could suggest is an index of place names, as the walks sometimes have names like “Hill, Moor and Wood” or “Historical Hike” which doesn’t tell you where you are starting from.
I always like to have a map when I’m out walking so that I can work out the names of the hills or bits of water I am looking at or so that I can work out a short cut or allow myself to be sidetracked by something inviting off the beaten track. This guide gives extracts from Ordnance Survey sheets which, in themselves, would be adequate for following the recommended route. For folk like me, there is a reference to the appropriate O.S. Sheet.
Colour maps and colour photographs add to the enjoyment of leafing through this book, which is not only a walker’s guide but also ideal for the coffee table.