North Esk reservoir (B2)

Time – 1 hour 30 mins

Distance – 7 km/4.5 miles

A great walk up into the Pentlands with lovely views of the reservoir and towards the coast.

Good paths/farm tracks all the way, with one long uphill stretch to get the lungs working and a steep downhill section but on a good track. 

Route: Start/Finish – Carlops village

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4: round to the north side of the cottage 3: the two optional routes from Carlops combine here 5: the track up from the reservoir forms a steep dog-leg 2: cross this rickety bridge! <strong>B</strong>: as well as green hairstreak butterflies in Spring, Fairliehope was once home to Willie Tod, son of John Tod, often known as the 'Roaring Shepherd' from whom Robert Louis Stevenson learnt all about that 'hill business' and also etched within him his defining and constant love of what he termed 'the hills of home' <strong>G</strong>: approximately here was once the hamlet of 'Friars town', which although now invisible strongly supports the early monastic legacy of Newhall <strong>C</strong>: look carefully and you will see a natural form of waterproofing lining the spillway. Called 'puddle clay' this material was quarried further up toward the Bore Stane and used to form a continous membrane throughout this entire dam <strong>D</strong>: considerable quarrying as well as an ancient tradition of the 'hospitallers' took place here at Spittal Farm. The hospitallers, a monastic and Knight Templar tradition, held that all wayfarers should be provided with a safe house, hence the term 'hospitality' <strong>F</strong>: once the main highway, long before the A702, this point was also one of two entrances to Newhall, for centuries a significant name on all maps (the other entrance being the other western end of the curved line) <strong>A</strong>: this walk well demonstrates the likely source of the name 'Carlops' as 'car louppis' or 'caer luib', a brythonic etymology meaning 'fort of the winding hill' option 1b is muddier yet more interesting option 1a is easier walking 7: continue to bear right 6: bear right toward Carlops <strong>E</strong>: the name Nine Mile Burn refers to the old 'Scots mile' which equates to approx eleven and a half 'english' miles

Setting off from the car park in Carlops village opposite the Village Centre and under the rock, there are two options for the first section of the walk:

Option [1a] (easy) – bear left and cross the A702 and take the farm track up towards Carlopshill Farm (signposted ‘Buteland by the Borestane’). Continue on this track for about 1.5 km until you reach a dip and bend where a bridge crosses a burn among woods.

Option [1b] (less easy but more interesting) – turn right out of the car park, pass the pub and continue to the end of village. Just before the last house on the left, turn down a track (signposted ‘Buteland by the Borestane’) and pass Patie’s Mill. The footpath goes round to the right of the mill and alongside its garden, emerging by the North Esk river. Follow the river bank upstream. The path is badly eroded and tricky to negotiate in places but is generally fine for the sure-footed unless the weather is wet. Cross the river via what can only loosely be described as a bridge [2] (it is a metal plate with no rails), over the stile and up the hill. The path comes out on the track near the bridge [3] in Option 1.

Continue on up the track past Fairliehope and head towards the reservoir dam that comes into view after a few hundred more metres. At the end of track near the reservoir keeper’s cottage, follow the right of way signs through a gate [4] and then over a stile (there is a useful information board about wildlife at this point) and then across the top of the dam wall, pausing to read the information board about the history of the dam itself.

Go through the gate [5] and strike out up the hill following the newly cut track. The track joins another farm track, bearing right and along the contour to pass through a gate/cattle grid in the notch between Patie’s Hill and Spittal Hill, before descending to Spittal Farm. The track then takes you down on to the back road that runs through Ninemileburn. Turn right [6] and head back along the road towards Carlops.

North Esk reservoir

On reaching the 90 degree left bend in the road, continue straight on up the lane that takes you towards Patieshill Farm. [7]. After 400m, where the lane turns right, bear left onto a footpath that runs down through woods towards the Carlops, coming out on the A702 just short of the village.

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