7th May 2012
After our day on Ben Vorlich, the girls had booked a spa morning, so I was free for a few hours. Where to go? The Ochils were nearby, and new ground for me, so I set off along the road from Stirling to Tillicoutry.
The starting place was at the foot of the Mill Glen, where a well-trodden footpath struck up the steep southern slope of the Ochils, quickly rising above the town, and affording great views. I followed a series of zigzags, branching to the right high above the deep ravine of the Mill Glen.
However, the decision could be put off for a while as I followed the path NE up a broad moorland ridge to the east side of the valley of the Gannel Burn. Eventually, I reached a fence at around 530m, and the decision was confirmed – turn left away from King’s Seat and drop down slightly to the watershed (570m) at Maddy Moss.
After a brief (boggy) respite, the path continued up a grassy slope on to Andrew Gannel (who was he?) hill (670m), which has a surprisingly rocky top. This afforded welcome shelter from the cold wind while I had some lunch.
Suitably sustained, the route continued down a broad slope, then up another towards Ben Cleuch, the highest pint in the Ochils at 721m. To the right, a group of stately wind turbines were silently producing carbon-free electricity – much more aesthetically pleasing that finding a coal-fired power station, open cast mine or nuclear waste storage site up in the hills!
Once on Ben Cleuch‘s main ridge, I joined the broad heavily-eroded path towards the summit, the straight line only disrupted by some peaty hags best avoided.
The summit proved a desolate place, windswept and eroded. Still, the views were good – although it wasn’t a place to linger in the wind. SO, a quicj photo, then back down the way I had come for about 1km, then braching right (and south) on to a narrow nek leading out to The Law (638m), a pointed cone oveerlooking the Mill Glen far below. This proved to be another of these strange tops just on the wrong side of a tricky fence! So, over and back, before continuing down the steep descending ridge.
Another brief resting place with a view, half way down, gave the knees some respite! Then on downward – dropping 500m in 2km! The final section down to the confluence of the Daiglen and Gannel Burns required some care on steep loose gravelly path. What a superb place. The burns meet and continue through a deep ravine; paths on both sides, but temporary closiures for necessary maintenance. So, having crossed to the west bank on a splendid bridge, I crossed back, and climbed up the east side to meet my outward path.
Enjoyed a chat with another couple ofwalkers as we descended back down to Tillicoutry, just as the rain began to fall. Perfect timing!
11km walk + 700m climb