Lammermuir Hills Visitor Guide

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The Lammermuir’s are a range of hills in the south of Scotland that border the county of East Lothian and the Scottish Borders.

Visitors can explore the ancient hill forts at White Castle and Addinston, go for woodland walks at Pressmennan Wood and Yester Estate, and climb the highest point of the hill range at Meikle Says Law (1,755 feet/535 metres).

The Lammermuir Hills, South Scotland - Photo Slideshow

Discover more places to visit with the Ultimate Tourist Map of Scotland

About the Lammermuir Hills

While the south of Scotland isn’t exactly known for its mountains, it does have several hill ranges that offer superb walks into the great outdoors within an hour or so of the country’s capital city.

The Pentland Hills are perhaps the best-known hill range purely because of their proximity to Edinburgh, but there’s another range that’s accessible in less than an hour which is more remote and arguably even more scenic.

The Lammermuir Hills lie to the south of East Lothian where they form a natural boundary with the Scottish Borders.

The hills aren’t particularly high but they offer stunning views from each summit, especially at the highest point of Meikle Says Law which stands tall at 1,755 feet.

From up there you can see across the sweeping fields of East Lothian all the way to the Firth of Forth and the Fife coastline, while the opposite direction presents fine views of the Lowlands as far as the English border.

lammermuir hills

Getting to the Lammermuir’s can be a wee bit tricky for newcomers to the area (perhaps the reason why these hills are so much quieter than the Pentlands), so a sat nav is a necessity.

That being said, it’s possible to end up in the western edge of the hills by simply following the A68 from the Edinburgh bypass for 30 minutes, though car parking spaces are rather sparse once you get there.

A far better option is to follow the B6355 from Gifford which is a much slower road but one that ends up right in the heart of the Lammermuir’s where it’s then possible to head off on onto one of the myriad walking trails that thread their way across the moorland.

As far as the terrain goes, the Lammermuir Hills are almost entirely used for sheep grazing so there are plenty of farm roads that offer a good mix of tarmac and gravel paths, interspersed by rough grass tracks.

Many of these paths have been signposted by the Scottish Rights of Way Society (Scotways) who have created a number of walking trails that take in the best viewpoints this expansive hill range has to offer.

While an OS map is by far the best way to find footpaths, Scotways has a decent map of their own which is free to download from the East Lothian Council website. Just type in ‘Lammermuir Hills’ and it’ll appear as one of the first search results.

Lammermuir Hills

One surprising feature of the hills is the number of ancient forts that can still be seen throughout the area.

Many of these are from the time of the Votadini (one of the most powerful tribes in Britain during the Roman occupation) and though the remains are basically just earthen mounds, they’re fascinating places to explore.

Aside from the hill forts, another feature of the Lammermuir Hills are the two enormous wind farms that stretch across a large portion of the central region and the area on the north-eastern edge.

More-or-less in the middle between the wind farms is a large fresh water reservoir that’s home to many species of waterfowl, and there’s a water sports centre next to it that offers lessons for everything from sailing to swimming.

Meanwhile, if hill-bagging is your preferred sport you may be interested to know that the Lammermuir’s are home to three Marilyn’s (Meikle Says Law, Spartleton, and Dirrington Great Law), along with 25 trig points.

There are also lots of geocaches to find, so you might consider checking geocache.com before leaving home, or load their locations into the Geocache app.

Note that mobile signals in the Lammermuir Hills are very patchy so it’s best to download everything before you get there.

Lammermuir Hills

Visiting the Lammermuir Hills

Options for walking through the hill range are limitless, but if you’re a first-timer you might like to follow the Priestlaw Hill circular route from Whiteadder reservoir.

This is a fairly easy ramble acrosss the north-east of the hills along the old Herring Road that used to be walked by fishwives from Dunbar to the market town of Lauder.

The entire route is around 7 miles on gravel and grass tracks with just a few moderately steep inclines, so it should be possible to complete by anyone with average fitness levels.

  1. To begin, head to Whiteadder reservoir and park on the roadside near the cattle grid where a lane branches off to Priestlaw Farm. Head along the lane and then turn right onto a track signposted as The Herring Road.
  2. This rough track heads towards farm buildings where there’s a gated footpath that leads up an incline through empty countryside. Continue for 1.5 miles to a small bridge, beyond which is a minor road that climbs to the left.
  3. Follow the tarmac single-lane road for just over one mile till you reach a sign pointing in the direction of Priestlaw Hill that’s signed for Garvald and Whiteadder reservoir.
  4. The track heads out onto open moorland with lovely views in all directions, but for a really scenic viewpoint you might like to take a small detour up the obvious path that heads to the summit of the hill.
  5. After soaking up the view, return to the main track and continue onwards to Whiteadder reservoir. The reservoir can be seen ahead and the track is obvious so directions aren’t really needed from this point on.
  6. Once you reach Priestlaw Farm, rejoin the lane that heads to the parking area next to the cattle grid.

This is just one of many walking trails through the Lammermuir Hills and you’ll find many more in the Scotways downloadable PDF mentioned earlier.

Lammermuir Hills

Discover more places to visit in East Lothian with: Things to Do in East Lothian.

The highlights

  • The Lammermuir Hills are, without a doubt, the best place to go near Edinburgh to get away from it all. Unlike the Pentland Hills, the Lammermuir’s see few people even at the weekend, so it’s possible to go for a long walk and not see another person. Bliss!
  • Whiteadder reservoir is a real highlight of the Lammermuir’s and it’s a superb place to take a pair of binoculars if you enjoy birdwatching (see my recommended binoculars). The reservoir has a water sports centre facing the B6355 which offers supervised swimming sessions, paddleboarding and kayak tuition, and private sailing tuition.
  • Meikle Says Law is the highest point in East Lothian and offers stunning views from its summit where visitors can look across the rolling hills to the Scottish Borders. Another hill worth climbing is Lammer Law which lies to the west of Meikle Says Law. This hill is right on the edge of the hill range and can be combined with a walk around Hopes reservoir and the Longyester estate.

Visiting tips

  • There are several hill forts in this part of East Lothian but two are within walking distance of Whiteadder reservoir. Gamelshiel Castle and Kilmade Hillfort are interesting glimpses into Scotland’s ancient history, though they’re a wee bit tricky to find. Your best option to find them is following Google Maps from the reservoir.
  • The Lammermuir’s are surprisingly big so it can be slightly confusing to work out where the best paths are. This is one instance where you really need an OS map to make the most of a visit. #345 Explorer is the best map for the hill range. See the link below to order a copy.
  • Be aware that grouse shooting takes place in the hills between 12th August and 10th December. There’s also a live firing range in the western Lammermuir’s that’s marked by signage around its perimeter. Red warning flags will be flown when shooting is taking place.

Directions to the Lammermuir Hills

Whiteadder Reservoir,
East Lothian,
TD11 3SN

Click the map for directions

Google Map of lammermuir hills, scotland
Google Map of lammermuir hills, scotland

Explore this area with a detailed paper map from Ordnance Survey:

Lammermuir Hills – 345 Explorer.

Duns, Dunbar, Eyemouth – 67 Landranger.

OS Explorer Maps: Best for walking, mountain biking, and finding footpaths. 1:25,000 scale (4cm = 1km in real world). Buy OS Explorer maps direct from Ordnance Survey.

OS Landranger Maps: Best for road cycling, touring by car, and finding attractions. 1:50 000 scale (2 cm = 1 km in real world). Buy OS Landranger maps direct from Ordnance Survey.


Things to do near the Lammermuir Hills

From Whiteadder reservoir:

  • Traprain Law. Haddington EH41 4PY. Distance: 15 miles. A steep hill that is a well-known landmark in the centre of East Lothian. A 1-mile path from a small car park to the summit offers panoramic views of the area.
  • Athelstaneford National Flag Centre. North Berwick EH39 5BE. Distance: 16 miles. Athelstaneford is a small parish village in East Lothian that legend says is the place where a Scottish King founded the Saltire national flag after seeing it appear in the clouds. There is a small museum dedicated to the Saltire behind the church.
  • Woodhall Dean Wildlife Reserve. Dunbar EH42 1SJ. Distnace: 10 miles. Nature reserve on the edge of the Lammermuir Hills. This reserve is home to sessile oak trees (a once-abundant tree that is now dwindling in numbers) and it is highly regarded for the carpets of woodland wildflowers that bloom in spring.
  • Marchmont House. Address: Marchmont, Greenlaw, Berwickshire, TD10 6YL. Distance: 18 miles. Marchmont House is a Grade A mansion that was built in 1750 by the 3rd Earl of Marchmont. The mansion house is open for overnight accommodation as well as guided tours, and there are exhibitions staged both inside the house and in the extensive gardens throughout the year.

Accommodation near the Lammermuir Hills

  • Tweeddale Arms Hotel. Address: High Street, Gifford, EH41 4QU. Facilities: Pets allowed, bar, breakfast included.
  • The Juniperlea Inn. Address: Blackshiels Pathhead, Pathhead, EH37 5TE. Facilities: Tea/coffee maker in all rooms, bar, breakfast included.
  • Carfraemill. Address: Lauder, TD2 6RA. Facilities: Pets allowed, tea/coffee maker in all rooms, bar, breakfast included.
  • Green Hope Guest House. Address: Ellemford, TD11 3SG. Facilities: Dining area, flat-screen TV, terrace.

FAQ’s about the Lammermuir Hills

How high are the Lammermuir Hills?

The Lammermuir Hills have an elevation of 1,388 feet. The highest point of the hill range is Meikle Says Law which is 1,755 feet (535 metres) high.

Can you walk around Whiteadder reservoir?

Visitors can walk around Whiteadder reservoir via the B6355 minor road to the north and a farm track to the south. The entire walk takes around 1.5 hours. Interesting points to note are the ancient remains of Kilmade Fort to the east of the reservoir, and Priestlaw Hill which borders the south of the reservoir.

Where do you park at Whiteadder reservoir?

There is a parking area at the fishery car park at the East of Scotland Water building on the north-east end of Whiteadder reservoir. There is also space on the side of the B6355 road opposite the turning to Priestlaw Farm on the north-west end of the reservoir.

Where are the Lammermuir Hills in Scotland?

The Lammermuir Hills span the counties of Selkirk, East Lothian, and Berwick in the south-east of Scotland. The hills lie to the south-east of Edinburgh and to the north of the Scottish Borders.


More places to visit in The Lothians

  • Swanston & the Pentland Hills Visitor Guide
    The Pentland Hills are located south of Edinburgh where they span Midlothian and West Lothian in a regional park that’s over 38 square miles in size. There are 9 peaks over 1,500 feet in the Pentlands and more than 600,000 people visit them each year. There are a number of entry points to the park but one of the best is at Swanston, which is just a 20-minute drive from Edinburgh city centre.
  • Woodhall Dean Nature Reserve Visitor Guide
    Woodhall Dean Nature Reserve in East Lothian is situated to the north-east of the Lammermuir Hills. The reserve comprises mixed woodland which surrounds a deep gorge that opens up onto rolling fields. In spring, Woodhall Dean is awash with bluebells and primroses, while buzzards, sparrowhawks, and tawny owls can be seen throughout the year.
  • Lammermuir Hills Visitor Guide
    The Lammermuirs are a range of hills in the south of Scotland that border the county of East Lothian and the Scottish Borders. Visitors can explore the ancient hill forts at White Castle and Addinston, go for woodland walks at Pressmennan Wood and Yester Estate, and climb the highest point of the hill range at Meikle Says Law (1,755 feet/535 metres).
  • Seacliff Beach Visitor Guide
    Seacliff Beach is situated 5 miles south of North Berwick in East Lothian. This remote beach is overlooked by the dramatic ruins of Tantallon Castle and is best known for its unusual sandstone harbour which is said to be the smallest in the UK.
lammermuir hills

By Craig Neil

Craig Neil is a travel writer and specialist 360° photographer from Edinburgh, Scotland. When he's not zooming around the country with his trusty camera in hand, he can usually be found working on the Out About Scotland website and Vartour virtual tours.