Accessing the Pentland Hills by Public Transport

The Pentland Hills are situated within easy reach of Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city, which means that they are easily accessible using public transport. I’ve made a list of bus routes to the Pendlands to help you explore.

Important: At the time of writing (February 2021), most of Scotland is under Tier 4 restrictions: this means you shouldn’t leave your council area unless for essential purposes. To help you stay safe, I’ve grouped this list by council area rather than by bus route.

This is a work-in-progress, and there may be routes I’ve missed. Let me know of any omissions and I’ll add them to the list.

City of Edinburgh

4 to Swanston

Although Hillend (the western terminus of this route) lies in Midlothian, you can use this route to reach the charming village of Swanston. Swanston has long been a favourite starting point for Pentland walkers, including the author Robert Louis Stevenson. You’ll need to walk along Swanston Road from Oxgangs Road to reach Swanston village.

Some of the walks accessible from Swanston:

10 to Bonaly

Bonaly is only a short distance from the Pentlands’ northern reservoirs, and makes for a great starting point for many hill walks.

Some of the walks accessible from Bonaly:

44 and 63 to Balerno

From Balerno you have a walk of around 1.5 – 2km to reach either Harlaw or Threipmuir reservoirs, the starting point for many Pentland walks. Balerno is also the starting point for the Water of Leith Walkway, which you can follow back into the city.

Some of the walks accessible from Balerno:


4 and 15 to Hillend

Although served by Lothian Buses and closer to the city centre than Balerno, Hillend actually falls under the Midlothian council area. From Hillend you have good access to Caerketton and Allermuir Hills.

101 to Boghall, Flotterstone, Nine Mile Burn and Carlops

The Edinburgh to Biggar bus passes at the feet of many of the Pentlands’ highest peaks. It calls at several stops that can be used as starting points for hill walks. Boghall farm allows an alternative starting point for walks up Caerketton and Allermuir, Flotterstone is perhaps the most popular starting point in the whole of the Pentlands, while Nine Mile Burn and Carlops both offer interesting walks of their own.

West Lothian

While the number of hills that fall under West Lothian is small, they are poorly served by public transport.

Scottish Borders

93 and 101 to West Linton

Both of these routes allow access to West Linton and the surrounding area: bus 93 starts at Peebles in the Scottish Borders, while 101 connects Edinburgh and Biggar. From West Linton it is also possible to join the Cross Borders Drove Road, a long-distance route connecting Hawick in the Scottish Borders with Little Vantage in West Lothian.

South Lanarkshire

101 to Dolphinton

The bus between Edinburgh and Biggar calls at Dolphinton, allowing for access to some of the southern hills.

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