Above the city
Last Saturday we were desperate to escape the city, even for a few hours. With the Pentland Hills just to the south of Edinburgh it's easy to have a morning's breathing space without having to spend too long getting there. This is the view north across the west of Edinburgh towards the river Forth and the hills of Fife beyond. Immediately above the trees are the housing blocks of Wester Hailes. I remember as a child coming down to Edinburgh for summer holidays in the 1960s - we used to drive on a narrow, winding road through open fields where this housing estate now stands.
On Saturday the Forth was hidden by fog, but the two bridges were standing clear. The three triangles in the middle of the shot - like an iron Toblerone - is the upper structure of the Forth rail bridge, and the slender pillars to the left are the road bridge.
Even at this height, after a stiff pull uphill, there was considerable traffic noise from the city bypass below. But turn and face away from the city and you could be on a remote hillside anywhere in Scotland.
Looking east, you can see what a superb defensive position Edinburgh castle occupies on its rock.
We passed by the frozen Bonaly reservoir, one of Edinburgh's water sources.
It was so good to get away from pavements and out among heather and bleached winter grass and icy snow.
The slight drawback of the Pentlands, if there is one, is that parts are used as an army training area, complete with occasional live firing. The Ministry of Defence tells you smartly what's what: "Live firing is restricted to the Live Firing Range at Castlelaw. The primary land use is for military dry training (i.e. use of blank ammunition). Red flags (daytime) and lamps (night-time) are flown/shown when firing is taking place and walkers are not allowed into this Danger Area."
I love this sign - it looks as if there's very choreographed troop training going on. Or line dancing.