Hill: East Cairn Hill
Date: Thursday 28th December 2017
Company: Myself and Ann-Marie
Distance: 10.4km, Ascent: 340m
Time: 4Hrs 5Mins
On Wednesday evening, I drove part-way home from the Lake District,
parking-up circa twelve miles away from Edinburgh with a view to ascending
East Cairn Hill the following morning. The journey from the Lakes towards
Edinburgh was "interesting" as temperatures en-route dropped as low as -9C.
Our parking spot was positively balmy in comparison at -5C
Thursday morning I travelled to the starting point, parked-up in the car
park, and got suited and booted. The weather from the outset and throughout
the walk was perfect albeit a tad chilly.
From the car park, Ann-Marie set off ahead as I faffed about re-packing
my rucksack and taking photographs. There was fresh snow underfoot from
start to summit and the ground was frozen hard.
Sunrise glow above East Cairn Hill and West Cairn Hill
(Ann-Marie in distance):
Despite Ann-Marie's headstart, I soon caught-up as we progressed along
the Cross Borders Drove Road. In non-frozen conditions, this track would be
a bogfest. I was therefore glad of the sub-zero temperatures.
Heading for East Cairn Hill:
We followed the track as far as the base of East Cairn Hill and began a
steep trackless ascent from the broken waymarker post in the next photo. Had
we walked circa fifty metres further along the track we would have found a
track ascending the hill
. Breaking trail
up through the fresh snow was however quite fun and the nearby track, which
we used in descent, was quite icy and slippery in comparison.
Steep ascent ahead:
During the ascent another walked caught up with us by following my trail
up the hill. We chatted briefly before continuing up the steep slopes.
Looking across to West Cairn Hill from East Cairn Hill:
During the ascent I took some full-zoom photos looking towards
the three bridges over the Forth.
Queensferry Crossing, Forth Road Bridge and Forth Bridge from East Cairn
Ascending East Cairn Hill:
On drawing almost level with a large boulder, I took a photo of the
slopes and boulder with the sun behind the boulder.
On reaching easier ground we made our way across to the large cairn and
even larger summit shelter marking the 561m top of East Cairn Hill. The
featureless 567m summit lay circa 500m beyond.
Onto easier ground:
The Pentlands looked lovely clad in snow.
The 561m top is a much better viewpoint than the 567m summit beyond. We
were rewarded with great views towards the Forth bridges, Edinburgh and
At the 561m top of East Cairn Hill:
Thanks to Ann-Marie for the next photo of myself dressed like a hill
ninja in an effort to keep warm.
From the 561m top we made our way down to the col and then followed the
fenceline to the summit.
Heading across to the featureless summit (567m):
At the summit we stopped for a drink and some chocolate before returning
to the 561m top.
View from the summit of East Cairn Hill:
View towards 561m top from 567m summit:
From the 561m top we followed the track downhill and then back out to
the starting point. During the walk out we met several other walkers and a
Looking back to East Cairn Hill:
2017 has been one of the worst years I can recall for poor weather. This
day, and the two days previous, were outstanding. This weather made the 7+
hour journey south worth the effort.