At the beginning of the year I noticed that the Norton House Hotel & Spa just on the outskirts of Edinburgh had opened up their grounds for people to come and enjoy during these lockdown times. They also have set up a little bothy selling hot drinks and hot rolls, which in the recent weather is very much appreciated!
It was nice to explore somewhere different, well I have been at the Norton House before for weddings but never had the time to explore! There are 3 trails marked out on a pretty map, they aren’t very long, so probably just about qualify for my 52 Hike Challenge (they state anything over 1 mile can be counted!!).
I met a friend in the car park and we grabbed a hot chocolate before setting off on the Forest Walk Trail (purple line), which is the longest. The weather we have had in Scotland recently has mainly been cold, ice and snow, and so parts of the paths were quite slippy, even the mud had frozen!
This route takes you round the back of the spa and hotel, hugging the perimeter fence, before popping you out on the main drive. Don’t be put off by the half abandoned car and overgrown path- you are on the right track! Crossing the drive and heading up the hill takes you to the highest point on the walk. Once at the top, squinting hard to your left you can see the Castle and Arthurs Seat. Head right and back into the woods, following the path round, hitting a farm track on the way you arrive back again at the main drive.
After our rather slippy and icy expedition we reached The Bothy, a little hut the hotel have set up to serve hot drinks and rolls from. We treated ourselves to a bacon roll, we did deserve it after all the slipping and sliding! After sitting in the gardens of the hotel we decided to give the other easier routes a go. These routes are perfect for a lazy stroll with children and dogs while enjoying a coffee, we were lucky it was a lovely day and as we were leaving the sun was starting to set.
Norton House is well worth a visit for somewhere different to walk and having the The Bothy is a nice touch. One benefit of travel restrictions is finding little hidden gems like this in your own city!