Bishop Hill

Less frequently visited than nearby East and West Lomond, Bishop Hill makes for a very pleasant outing.

A number of different routes are described below which can be mixed and matched to create a circular route.

Distances and ascents are given for one direction only, in the following descriptions.

Other routes nearby:

From Glen Vale

Start: small car park at Glen Vale on Dryside Road, near Gateside (grid ref NO 173 069).

Distance: 3.7 km / 2.3 miles

Ascent: 300m / 980 feet (15 m / 50 feet if used for descent)

Terrain: Well made path up Glen Vale, grassy hill paths on the hill (steep in places)

Facilities: limited amount of parking

The path up Glen Vale starts 200m south of the car park at a gate.

The surfaced path takes the walker up Glen Vale gradually gaining height to reach a river crossing at the foot of Bishop Hill. Here, the main path crosses over the river to the south side (the path on the north side has been closed due to rockfalls). Once across the river leave the main path for a steeper path that heads sharply up the hillside next to the fence. This section is a bit of a slog but the gradient does ease off for most of the walk along the ridgeline. The summit cone of Bishop Hill is about 1 km along the ridge to the left of the path / fence.

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From Kinnesswood

Start: Bishop Terrace, Kinnesswood, KY13 9JW

Distance: 1.8 km / 1.1 miles

Ascent: 300 m / 980 feet ( 25 m / 90 feet if used for descent)

Terrain: Very steep grass path

Facilities: On street parking in Kinnesswood (be considerate) or start from the car park at Portmoak

The route starts from a communications mast site accessed via a gate from Bishop Terrace, Kinnesswood. Alternatively access is available along the Michael Bruce Way from The Cobbles, Kinnesswood or from Portmoak, Scotlandwell via Kilmagad Wood.

The grass path heads directly up the western escarpment and is steep and unrelenting! Navigation is easy, just keep going up (and up and up) until you reach craggy rocks on your left. The path (now somewhat worn) goes up the right side of the rocks to reach a promontory on the grassy plateau. Once up, keep going until you meet a trodden path. Turn left onto the path (if you turn right you will reach the area of Munduff Hill) and follow it north along the escarpment. After about 0.75 km this path meets with a wider grass path where you want to turn left to reach an easy-open gate. Be careful not to follow a path steeply downhill to your left. Once through the gate a direct north east line will take you to the small summit cairn of Bishop Hill.

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From Scotlandwell (option to include Munduff Hill)

Start: Portmoak Church, Scotlandwell, KY13 9HY

Distance: 3.1 km / 2 miles (with Munduff Hill)

Ascent: 340 m / 1115 feet (with Munduff Hill) (15 m / 55 feet if used for descent)

Terrain: Tracks and grassy paths

Facilities: Free parking in the church car park (when not required by the chruch), additional parking next to the recycling bins along the road.

At the north west end of the car park on the opposite side of the road you will spot a gate into a field with newly planted trees. A feint path leads up the hill through the field to reach another gate. In late Summer this field may be overgrown and you might find it easier to walk back towards Scotlandwell until you see a sign for Bishop Hill pointing up some steps. Whichever way you go you will arrive at this gate. From here you need to take the path that goes right, heading up the hill. There are a number of paths and you need the obvious one that goes up the hill.

Follow this path which will zig zag and lead you past a viewpoint, then up through some trees to reach a new gate leading on to the open hillside. Head up the hillside until you reach an old quarry area on your right. At this point the path for Munduff Hill bends round to the right along the top of the quarry.

If heading directly for Bishop Hill, keep straight on so that you are heading northwards along the hill. The path works its way past a few rocks and along the edge of the escarpment for 1.2 km until it meets with a wider obvious path. Go left on this path to reach an easy-open gate. Be careful not to follow a path steeply downhill to your left. Once through the gate a direct north east line will take you to the small summit cairn of Bishop Hill.

If visiting Munduff Hill first, keep right, along the top of the quarry area. Follow the path which winds its way up hill alongside trees to reach the hummocky area of Munduff Hill. To continue to Bishop Hill, follow the path that leads north west across open ground (you can include the additional lumps and bumps around here if you wish). When you reach a junction with a well made path, go straight on through the gate directly towards the summit of Bishop Hill which you should be able to see unless visibility is poor.

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From Holl via West Feal (option to include Munduff Hill)

Start: Holl Reservoir car park at grid reference NO 224 034 accessed from the A911 Auchmuir Bridge to Leslie road.

Distance: 5.7 km / 3.5 miles

Ascent: 270 m / 885 feet (20 m / 65 feet if used for descent)

Terrain: Tracks and grassy paths

Facilities: Free parking at Holl Reservoir

A straightforward route and probably the easiest as the ascent is all gentle.

200m south of the car park, go right at the crossroads on a farm track. For almost 2.5 km it is easy walking along the track to reach the vicinity of West Feal Farm. Beyond the farm open fields give way to trees and you soon enter forest.

The forest track splits and you have the choice of following the right hand (straight on) route for the quickest and shortest approach to Bishop Hill or using the left hand option to visit Munduff Hill first.

If using the direct route just keep straight on until the wide path exits the forest onto open hillside. The path is now easily followed across the moorland for 600m to reach a junction. Going right at the junction takes you directly to the foot of Bishop Hill’s summit cone where you cross a fence before making your way up the grassy hillside.

If heading for Munduff Hill, follow the left hand forest track to the golf ball (weather radar) from where there is a path and gate onto the open hillside next to Munduff Hill summit. From Munduff Hill there are various paths through the hillocks before an obvious path takes you northwards across the grass plateau to a path junction with a gate. Keeping straight on at the junction going through the gate (the direct path from West Feal comes from the right) takes you directly to the foot of Bishop Hill’s summit cone where you cross a fence before making your way up the grassy hillside.

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From Holl via Harperleas

Start: Holl Reservoir car park at grid reference NO 224 034 accessed from the A911 Auchmuir Bridge to Leslie road.

Distance: 6.1 km / 3.7 miles

Ascent: 270 m / 885 feet (30 m / 100 feet if used for descent)

Terrain: Tracks and grassy paths

Facilities: Free parking

From the Holl car park continue on foot clockwise around the side of the reservoir. Keep to the main track as it leaves the reservoir, crosses moorland/fields and reaches the Harpeleas Reservoir. Turn left on the main track at the reservoir through woods and then open countryisde to the summit of the path.

Close to the high point of the path go through a gate on your left (NO 194 056) and follow a path up hill alongside a fence until it turns to your right. The path continues upwards through a hillocky area populated by old larch trees. After the trees the path joins the main ridge of Bishop Hill. Turn left now and continue on the path upwards until you see the summit of Bishop Hill ahead of you. A short detour away from the fence you are following will take you up on to the summit of the hill.

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Carlin Maggie

Carlin Maggie is the name given to a rock stack on the cliffs below Bishop Hill. Legend has it that the devil and local witch, Maggie, had a falling out. First the devil threw rocks at her (the Devil’s Burdens found on the southern slope of West Lomond) and then finally turned her to stone. For a good view keep close to the fence to the west of the summit.

Linking the Routes

  • The Scotlandwell and Kinesswood routes are linked via the waymarked Michael Bruce Way through Kilmagad Woods. A distance of 1.1 km (0.7 miles) with some up and down.
  • Glen Vale can be linked to Kinnesswood using core paths through fields to Glenlomond and then a farm track (also a core path) to Easter Balgedie. From here there is a short road walk on pavement to Kinnesswood. A distance of 4.4 km (2.7 miles) with little ascent. This link misses out lower Glen Vale. From Kinnesswood you can then link to Scotlandwell thus enabling an end to end traverse of the hill.
  • The two routes from Holl can be combined into a circuit.

Routes to Bishop Hill

Red: Glen Vale

Yellow: Kinnesswood

Green: Scotlandwell (with Munduff Hill)

Dark Blue: Holl via West Feal (with Munduff Hill)

Light Blue: Holl via Harperleas

Brown: linking routes

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