Cleish Hill Forts

A 3.5 mile circuit taking in four summits of the Cleish Hills and visiting the sites of the Dumglow and Dummifarline ancient forts. For a shorter route you can miss out one or both of the Inneans and/or Dummifarline. This walk can be very wet so best to wear walking boots rather than trainers.

Start at the end of the forest track at grid ref NT 093 971 on the Cleish road. There is space for a couple of cars in laybys or on the verge at this point. Please do not park in passing places which is illegal.

The walking starts off easily enough on a surfaced forest track which is followed for 1.3km slowly gaining altitude. Where trees have been felled on your left you will catch glimpses of the final summit of the day, Dummifarline. After 1.3km when the track starts to level off, turn left on to an unsurfaced track through the trees. From this point onwards the underfoot conditions start to get a bit wet. After about 700m the track comes to an abrupt end at a clearing.

Turn right and look for a narrow footpath which goes uphill through a firebreak. This path can be very muddy at times and has overhanging branches. You will now start to gain height quickly. The final stretch through the forest is a bit dark and brooding although quite dry underfoot. Emerge from the forest on to the open hill and into the daylight.

A rough path continues onwards on the open hillside to reach a recently (2016) constructed stile. After the stile the grass starts to get a bit longer and the path heads up and over a small hillock. The summit with its trig point is about 250m after the hillock. From the summit there are 360 ° views of the surrounding countryside. Sheep may be grazing on the hilltops so keep any dogs under close control, ideally on a lead.

Return by the way you came up the hill until you reach the large clearing in the forest. Instead of turning left, go straight on using a wet muddy path through a fire break. At one point you need to cross a small burn and this is probably the muddiest part. Soon after the burn you come to the edge of the forest and the middle of the three hills known collectively as the Inneans looms in front of you. Another new stile can be used to cross the fence on to the hillside.

At this point you can choose to include or exclude various summits. If you don’t want to do either of the Inneans (and they are not as bad as they look), you can walk round the middle Innean to the left on an obvious path.

If you want to include the southerly Innean go right on this path into the gap between the middle and south Inneans. Ascend the south Innean on its north west slope. Once the south Innean has been attained you can then descend northward to the middle Innean which is steep. Pick your way up the slope however you choose to reach the summit. Alternatively, just walk round it! Descend in a northerly direction to rejoin the obvious path.

This path has been created by the many horses that graze this area and they have probably chosen the line of least resistance for their routes. The path leads across some wet ground and as you come round the corner of the forest you will see the final summit Dummifarline in front of you. Dummifarline with its prominent cairn is best ascended by its south east ridge where there is a feint path.

Descend initially in the direction you came up, but strike off to your left towards a wall. Follow the line of the wall downhill but before it reaches the forest fence turn right and make your way over rough ground alongside the fence for about 300m, now in site of the road. The final obstacles of the day now have to be tackled: a barbed wire fence and a ditch, before you reach the road a short distance from your start point.


View / download this route in Viewranger.

View / download this route from Ordnance Survey.


If you are feeling energetic and want to tackle Dumglow by its steeper side have a look at my Cleish Hills (extended) route on Ordnance Survey and Viewranger. If visibility is poor you will need navigation skills for this walk parts of which are on rough pathless moorland.

© 2016  Fife Walking.  All rights reserved. If using this route for a group or organised walk please credit Fife Walking as your source.