Lowland Hills. An oxymoron, surely? Yet the Lowlands are studded with wee hill ranges, from individual peaks such as Berwick Law or the Dumpling, to substantial massifs such as the 721m high Ochils, a dramatic escarpment rising above the flat plain of the Forth. And the best thing about them? For 80% of Scotland's population - including me - they are right there on the doorstep.
Whitewisp Hill in the Ochils and distant Lomond Hills:
I love hillwalking. But sometimes it just isn't practical to get away for a whole day. And the onset of winter brings fresh imperatives - short daylight, and a desire not to spend hours on the road in the dark. Well, there are plenty of leg-stretching options available within an hours' drive of home. What about a traverse up steep gorges onto the flat, sun-flooded plateau of the Ochils and a descent past a mediaeval castle?
In the Ochils:
A wander up the worn rhinoceros horn of Dumgoyne, round the rim of the vast, untrodden Corrie of Balglass, and down past the beautiful Spout of Ballagan in the Campsies?
Dumgoyne in the Campsies:
A trek past the Bonnet Stane in the Lomond Hills of Fife, followed by a high-level escarpment walk round three grassy peaks of volcanic origin?
Falkland from the Lomond Hills:
Or what about my nearest hills, the Pentlands? 13 minutes drive according to the AA Route planner.
In the Pentlands:
Thirteen minutes, and I am on my way up here.
Scald Law from Carnethy Hill:
Exercised, ruddy-cheeked with wind, skin flooded with Vitamin D, in good company if I'm lucky, a bit of perspective put on the world bustling about its business at our feet.
Caerketton from Allermuir Hill:
This is the view from Allermuir Hill, right on the outskirts of Edinburgh - so close to town in fact that you can get a city bus to Hillend at the hill's base.
Pentlands from Allermuir Hill:
The Lowland Hills. I can thoroughly recommend them.