Blackford Hill is 164m high and sits on the south side of Edinburgh. It is comprised of some of the oldest rock in the city in contrast to the volcanic rocks which form most of the other hills in the city. From our flat we can see the summit and most days there is at least one person visible on the top. Together with the Hermitage of Braid it comprises a Nature Reserve. We often walk around there and it is very popular with dog walkers, families and joggers. There was an ancient hill fort on the summit and in the 12th century there was a castle built by Henri de Brad who was Sheriff of Edinburgh at the time. The Hermitage of Braid house was built in 1785 and was the residence of Charles Gordon of Cluny who died in 1814. It was gifted to the council in 1938 and is now a visitors’ centre which is closed at present due to the pandemic. The Braid Burn runs through the reserve and there is also Blackford Pond which has resident swans and is visited by other birds. On our last visit most of the swans were being fed at one end of the pond and this lonely gull was at the quieter end.
There are 30 acres of woodland, many trails and other areas of open pasture. It provides views of the city including Arthur’s Seat
and over towards the Pentland Hills
On one visit I was close enough to see this crow who had found something to eat.
It is a very popular spot to view the fireworks on New Year’s Eve and we have done that on a number of occasions, weather permitting
or to watch the sunset
On one visit in 2017 we found musicians performing on the summit
The hill is also home to the Royal Observatory which used to be located on Calton Hill but relocated here at the end of the 20th century to avoid light pollution. Here is one of the more interesting buildings.
There are gorse bushes on the slopes and it was still in bloom in October. There is an old saying that when the gorse is out of bloom; kissing is out of fashion but at least there is food for the pollinators.
Unfortunately, there is also some Himalayan Balsam
and I did spot an insect on some seed heads.
On our most recent visit the leaves were colourful.
North Berwick Law is higher and once we have settled I must go up there for the views.