An energetic walk is a wonderful thing on a wintry weekend. Rug up in your woollies and waterproofs, don some outdoor footwear with good tread and get out and explore some of the wonderful places we have right on our doorstep.
Here’s a list of my favourites, in alphabetical order. Very importantly, I’ve also highlighted where you can find a public toilet:
Arthur’s Seat: This goes without saying. It’s rocky near the top, so be sure to wear sturdy shoes. If you’re feeling less energetic, try walking behind the Crags through Hunter’s Bog. There is a public toilet next to the Rangers station in Holyrood park.
Blackford Hill: Coming around from the Hermitage, circle around Blackford Hill and as a grand finale, up the hill. Public toilets in Hermitage visitor centre are temporarily closed.
Botanic Gardens: Great if you’ve got children in tow, or if you fancy an easy wander. I like going into the greenhouses on a very chilly day to defrost. You will need to book in advance. There are a couple of public toilets available.
Calton Hill: A favourite Saturday morning stroll up Calton Hill for a photogenic view of Edinburgh, and a close-up view of the newly-built ‘walnut whip / dog poo’ building in the St James Quarter. Public toilet available in Collective Gallery (i.e. only open in gallery hours, currently closed).
Cramond: Sometimes it feels like everyone in Edinburgh is there for a wander, and the car park can get quite full. Try cycling there instead. There is a public toilet opposite the causeway to Cramond Island.
Pentlands: How could we forget? So close to Edinburgh, and less crowded than many of the urban routes. There’s a walk near Hillend Ski Centre (Boghall) which is signposted. Check current restrictions before travelling. No public loos, toilets in Harlaw House (near reservoir) are temporarily closed.
Portobello Beach: It’s romantic to watch the weather blowing in from the sea. With the added bonus of cafes on the Promenade to grab a warming cuppa. Public toilets only open in summer months, or you could try a cafe.
Union Canal: From Fountainbridge the gravelly paths are good for winter walking and it’s a lovely spot to watch the seasons changing. For a longer walk (when lockdown lifts), you can catch a bus up to Balerno and walk back down along the Water of Leith, joining onto the Union Canal. No public toilets on the canal.
Water of Leith: It can get a little slippy, but the walk from the Modern Art Gallery down to The Shore at Leith is a scenic way to spend an afternoon. You can always pop by Stockbridge for a cuppa too, or the Stockbridge market on a Sunday. Public loos on Hamilton Place are temporarily closed.
It’s important to get outdoors even in winter, stretch your legs and get some fresh air. Obviously, please follow current lockdown guidance, but do enjoy the chance to explore your neighbourhood on foot.