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Hill Walking & Trekking In The Borders,
Stirlingshire & Perthshire

Part 1: The Borders, Stirlingshire and Perthshire
by Matt Watts from Alba Outdoors.

   

Scotland has much to offer those with a sense of adventure and desire to explore breathtaking landscapes and coastlines.

Activities such as mountain biking, hill walking and kayaking are environmentally friendly ways to discover the natural beauty of Scotland’s wild places. Hill walking (or hiking, trekking and tramping as commonly referred to across the world) is amongst the most popular of all leisure activities and for good reason too.

It offers the combination of fresh air, a sense of freedom and escape from the pressures of daily routines, open vistas, hearty exercise and adventurous exploration to suit all levels of ability and fitness.

With its vast range of majestic mountains, stunning landscapes,
diverse ecology and geology, Scotland really is a walker’s paradise.

The hill walker is truly spoilt for choice, as Scotland boasts over 284 Munros (separate mountains over 3,000 ft/ 914 m), a further 511 Munro Tops (subsidiary summits to Munros over 3,000 ft), 220 Corbetts (separate mountains over 2,500 ft / 762m) and countless summits above 1,500 ft / 600m – enough to last a lifetime and more. Summiting all of the Munros and Corbetts is becoming increasingly popular for people of all different ages.

Whether in winter or summer, when venturing into the mountains it is essential to have the correct clothing and equipment including the knowledge of how to use it. You will also need good navigation skills and pre-walk preparation to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable day out.

If you would prefer to have the peace of mind of an experienced mountain guide then we would recommend contacting our partner Alba Outdoors www.albaoutdoors.com who specialise in bespoke outdoor experiences for the discerning traveller and small groups.

   

Many of Scotland’s finest mountains can be accessed by car from our properties and in a series of articles to be published throughout the year we will describe some of the classic routes across the country. To start us off here are a selection of popular routes located around the Borders, Stirlingshire and Perthshire. I am confident that you will be suitably inspired.


The Borders

   

Culter Fell (748m) hill of the ploughshare

Moderate (4-5 hours)

The Culter Hills are sprawling hills with rounded summits, and in many places steep sided on their lower slopes and cut by deeply-etched valleys and streams.  Culter Fell is the highest of this group and is located just outside Broughton. 

The village of Broughton lies between the towns of Biggar and Peebles, about 25 miles south of Edinburgh, and is renowned for its local brewery.  Fell is derived from the Norse word fjall, meaning mountain, and is commonly used in England and the Scottish Borders.  The word, however, never caught on in the eastern Borders, were the term law rules the hills.


Hart Fell (808m)
possible hill of the deer as a hart is a male deer

Moderate (5-6 hours)

This hill is one of the highest in the Scottish Borders and the seventh highest of the Donalds (Scottish mountains exceeding 2,000 ft).  It is located just outside the attractive and historic market town of Moffat.  According to author Nikolia Tolsty, author of A Quest for Merlin, his was the site of the Arthurian figure Fergus’ ‘Black Mountain’ and at one point was the home to Merlin the magician himself.  Today, the only memorial of this legendary wizardry is the hill’s lower shoulder named Arthur’s Seat.


Stirlingshire

   

Suggested hotel The Gleneagles Hotel

Ben Ledi
879m, hill of the gentle slop or God’s hill

Moderate (6 – 7 hours)

Ben Ledi is located approximately 8km NW of Callander.  It is a popular mountain which attracts many walkers who are drawn by its fine shape and the views it commands over the central lowlands.  Records dating back to 1794 link Ben Ledi to Druidical rites in pagan times when natives would gather at the summer solstice to worship the Deity on the central cairn. 

There are many route options available to ascend this fine Corbett and the energetic can combine Ben Ledi and Benvane in a long high level traverse.    


   

Ben Venue
729m, (OS map 57)
(hill of the caves or hill of the stirks

Moderate (6 – 7 hours)

Despite its modest height Ben Venue is a rugged and prominent mountain which appears to be impregnable.  Overlooking The Trossachs National Park and Loch Katrine it presents an engaging impression of a miniature Highland scene which has inspired great writer’s such as Sir Walter Scott and Wordsworths.  One of Scott’s famous poems describes this mountain beautifully.

High on the south, huge Ben Venue
Down on the lake in masses threw
Crags, knolls and mounds, confusedly hurled,
The fragments of an earlier world

Sir Walter Scott (The Lady of the Lake, 1810)


   

Ben Cleuch
721m, (OS map 58) gullied hill

Moderate (5 – 6 hours)

Ben Cleuch is the highest point of The Ochils which is an impressive and extensive range of lowland hills stretching east of Stirling.  To the early people of Scotland these hills would have seemed mountainous and today they are enjoyed by many who come to explore the variety of hills, deep glens and gorges. 


   

Ben Vorlich (985m) (pictured)
hill of the bay

Stuc A’Chroin (975m)
peak of the sheepfold

Moderate (7 – 8 hours)

The south side of Loch Earn is dominated by these two mountains which offer a number of different ascent routes from the north and south.  The NE buttress of Stuc A’Chroin offers some easy and entertaining scrambling.  On summiting the former one may be tempted to try and locate the iron ring which is fixed to a rock by a staple.  With geologists claiming that the summit had once been at sea level there are many theories associated with its possible use. 


   

Meall nan Tarmachan
(1043m) hill of the ptarmigans

Strenuous (7 – 8 hours) although easier routes can be planned

Named after the ptarmigan which is a bird commonly found on the high mountain tops of Scotland, Meall nan Tarmachan is one of five peaks rising above 3000ft and the only one that commands the Munro status.  Together they form The Tarmachan Ridge which presents an imposing backdrop to the Falls of Dochart in the picturesque village of Killin.  The traverse of these fine peaks provides a pleasant ramble and scramble of unfailing entertainment.


   

Beinn Ghlas (pictured)
(1103m) greenish-grey hill

Ben Lawer
(1214m) hill of the loud stream or hill of the hoof

Moderate (6 – 7 hours)

Ben Lawers is the highest mountain in the Southern Highlands, its height estimated by early mapmakers to exceed 4,000 ft (1220m).  Not until 1852 was it demoted to less than the magic figure, which outraged one local that he had it topped up again with a 20ft (6m) summit cairn; this has long since collapsed.  Despite no longer being one of Scotland four thousand footers, Ben Lawers and Beinn Ghlas remain a considerable attraction, not only for walkers but also for skiers and botanists.


Perthshire

Suggested hotel  The Gleneagles Hotel 

   

Schiehallion
1083m, OS map 51
The fairy hill of the Caledonians

Moderate (5 – 6 hours)

Schiehallion is one of the best known of Scottish mountains by virtue of its striking appearance and isolated position in the centre of the Highlands.  In 1744 Nevil Maskelyne, the Astronomer Royal, was attracted to the mountain by its regularity of shape, which he was able to utilise in his experiments on the estimation of the mass of the Earth.

During this project, Charles Hutton, one of the survey team, had the idea of drawing lines on the map to connect points of equal height, and thus contour lines were born.  


Beinn a’Ghlo
hill of the veil or mist which consists of the following Munros

   
  • Carn Liath (975m) grey hill
  • Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain
    (1070m) height of the corrie of round blisters
  • Carn nan Gabhar
    (1121m) hill of the goats

Strenuous (7 – 8 hours) although easier routes can be planned

A beautiful and mysterious mountain which is coveted as the finest in the Mounth area between Drumochter and Aberdeen, with the sole exception of Lochnagar.  Located near Blair Atholl, Beinn a’Ghlo rises out of the bare landscape overlooking Glen Tilt which was often frequented by Queen Victoria. 

The massif consisting of three Munros and is supported by no less than nineteen corries.  Its great height and tendency to catch the clouds will explain the name from an old gaelic word glo meaning veil or hood, and stretched by imagination to suggest a veiled or cloud capped summit.  Hill of the mist would be a convenient shorthand nickname.  

Well situated either to have lunch at The House of Bruar or to collect your lunch there before you start the climb.


   
  • Carn Corm (1029m) blue hill (pictured)
  • Meall Garbh (968m) rough hill
  • Carn Mairg (1041m) probably hill of the rust
  • Mealln nan Aighean (981m) hill of the heifers or hinds

Strenuous (7 – 8 hours) although easier routes can be planned

This group of hills are on the north side of Glen Lyon, and form a great arc of board high ridges.  The plateau like terrain is more typical of that found in the Cairgorms and Grampains than of the neighbouring Breadablane mountains such as Ben Lawers.  Glen Lyon is famous in mountaineering history as it was home to earliest recorded mountain ascents in the Central Highlands. 

Luxury Scotland
Tel: +44(0)1786 821 860 
Fax: +44 (0)1383 825 700
E: dorothy@luxuryscotland.co.uk

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