Whether it’s New Year’s Resolutions, you were inspired by the stunning feats at the Commonwealth Games last year, or even by your neighbour or friend that gets out running in our beautiful city; every day is a great day for running in Edinburgh. I have put together a list of my 5 favourites to share with you which I personally love and think they capture the beauty of our stunning city. All the routes start from the Crowne Plaza Edinburgh – Royal Terrace which is an ideal part of the city to start a run from. Go and explore on your own, or if you want some company and learn some interesting facts along the way then join me on a running tour of Edinburgh.
Auld Reekie Highlights
In just 4 miles you can take in the major sights of Edinburgh, from the hotel you can head East and explore the historical terrace and mews of Royal Terrace before shooting up behind the Old Royal High School to Calton Hill and clamber onto the Athenian acropolis and take in a bird’s eye view of the city. From there it’s an easy downhill onto Princess St past the Balmoral Hotel with its majestic clock tower and through Princes St Gardens before heading uphill to the imposing Edinburgh Castle up on Castle Rock. Let the legs recover on the downhill of Royal Mile all the way past the new Scottish Parliament to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, exactly 1 mile and 107 yards away. It’s a short uphill back to the hotel back through the New Calton Burial Ground and check out the body snatchers watch tower as you climb back up past the Robert Burns memorial on Regent Terrace and back onto Royal Terrace.
If you’re a runner and you’re in Edinburgh you have to go all the way to the top, I’m sorry but there are no excuses! It’s only a short distance, 3 miles from the hotel to the top and back, but sharp! The views are worth the lung busting effort to the top and you can really have some fun on the way down. Beware if you are heading up in the dark you will need a head torch as it is not lit. Find your way down to Holyrood Park next to the Palace, and head up the main walkway aiming slightly left and heading for the back of the Crags, the path branches slightly to the left taking you off the paved walkway and still heading left, as you start to climb some rough steps (St Anthony’s chapel is directly up above you) and the path veers to the right, follow this main path all the way to the very summit. It is very steep in parts and can be slippery so make sure you have adequate foot wear and take care, especially when there are high winds. Enjoy the views and why not find another path to take you back down to ground.
Water of Leith
The Water of Leith walkway stretches from the delightful Leith Docks, winding its way through Edinburgh City to Balerno. You can run a mile or take it all the way to Balerno and clock up the 12 ¾ miles running the entire length of the path. It passes through some interesting areas such as Colinton Village and Dell, the Union Canal, Saughton Winter gardens, Murrayfield Stadium, the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art, Dean Village, Stockbridge and the Royal Botanic Garden. You can choose to join the path anywhere along the way and make your run as short or as long as you like. Want to go long? Take the path all the way out to Balerno and you are at the foot of the Pentlands, but that’s a whole other blog!
Cobbles, Trails & Beach
This one is a bit longer, 12 miles, but it doesn’t have any serious climbs, just a steady incline on the way back. From the hotel, head down towards Holyrood Park and follow Queens Road around to the right and drop down onto Duddingston Low Road at the roundabout, heading past Duddingston Loch. You can follow the main road all the way down to Portobello, or cut through into Duddingston Golf Course to see Duddingston House, a stunning 18th Century mansion, before heading down to Portobello. Enjoy running along the beach in the sand along Portobello promenade enjoy the sounds of the water lapping on the sandy shores of the Firth of Forth before heading along Seafield road east, when you see ‘Booker’ a warehouse on your left, cross over and head up Brunstane Burn Path. Keep following the No.1 cycle path signs and this path then turns into Innocent Railway and enjoy a cool & dark unique run through an old railway tunnel before popping back out under the Salisbury Crags to head back up to the starting point.
7 Hills of Edinburgh
This is for the experienced runners among you and not to be taken lightly as its a rather hilly (as the name would suggest) 14 mile circuit, so make sure you have some water and snacks with you before you head out. This route is actually a race that takes place annually in June every year, but it is also a great way to see some stunning views of Edinburgh and beyond at anytime of the year on your own merit. The route is quite complicated to list here but clear directions can be found on the race website here. The route starts and finishes on Calton Hill, heading out to enjoy Corstorphine Hill, Craiglockhart Hill East, Braid Hill, Blackford Hill and up Arthur’s Seat before finishing back on Calton Hill.