If climbing is what you live for make it a priority to check out the Adventure Center (T0131-229-3919) in Ratho Village, just ten minutes west of the airport, off A8. It is a massive rock climbing and sports training venue based in a converted quarry. This is the largest climbing arena in the world, with outdoor rock cliffs and walls, and is home to the National Rock Climbing Center. The center includes an air park, suspended aerial adventure ropes ride, and adventure sports gym, as well as bars, restaurants and accommodation.
Pentland Hills are located south of the Braid Hills, beyond the City Bypass. The Pentland Hills are a serious range of remote hills that rise to almost 2,000 feet and stretch 16 miles from the outskirts of Edinburgh to Lanarkshire. This excursion offers moderate climbs and magnificent views upon reaching the top. The many walks up to the Pentland summits are described fully in books such as 25 Walks in Edinburgh and Lothian (HMSO, 1995). Ordnance Survey Landranger Map no. 66 details the area.
About five miles northwest of town is Lauriston Castle, T0131-336-2060. Entry costs ï¿½7.50. Lauriston Castle is an Edwardian country mansion overlooking the Firth of Forth. The original tower house is late 16th century, but some neo-Jacobean additions were made by William Burn in the late 19th century. It was once the home of John Law, the founder of the first bank in France, who also obtained sole trading rights in the lower Mississippi, and christened Louisiana in honor of the French King. The interior has been preserved and contains collections of period furniture and antiques.
A popular cruise takes you to the island of Inchcolm, where you will see the beautiful ruined abbey that was founded by King Alexander I in 1123. It is considered to be the best-preserved group of monastic buildings in Scotland. Inchcolm Abbey’s 13th-century octagonal chapter house is the oldest surviving building on the premises. Climb the tower for views of the island. You might also notice that the island’s population consists of more nesting seabirds and seals than people. Contact Sealife Cruises (T0131-331-4857) for cruise information.