At 553m Colsnaur Hill is not one of the highest of the Ochils. However, it does make a worthwhile walk for a shorter day. This circular route approaches the hill on grassy tracks up its south west shoulder. The return route descends down the southern shoulder before entering the rougher ground above the Balquharn Glen.
- Distance: 8km / 5 miles
- Ascent: 580m / 1900 feet
- Terrain: Grassy hill paths, rough and steep in places on the descent
- Start / finish: Menstrie, Ochil Row, FK11 7BP.
- Facilities: on street parking, bus service to Menstrie, refreshments at Blairmains Farm
The walk starts from Ochil Row in Menstrie (postcode FK11 7BP) where there is room for considerate on street parking. At the east end of Ochil Row a small lane runs between some white cottages and newer houses to provide access via a metal gate to the old Pony Track. This track climbs steeply into the hills via hairpin bends. A number of the zig zags can be short cutted on grassy paths.
The most useful of these “short cuts” is at the left hand bend following the Forestry Operations signage at the end of the Menstrie Glen track. If you follow the grassy path on your right at this point it contours around the south face of a hillock to reach a more open area close to a fence. From this point the path turns left to go up the hill through a newly planted woodland area. Before reaching the tree plantings there is a diversion to your right to the entrance of old mining workings and later a diversion to your left to the site of a dun. The short cut path rejoins the main track where you continue up the hill to reach a deer fence and gate.
Pass through the gate and cross the First Inchna Burn. Approximately 200m after the gate is the start of a grass path heading uphill to your right through newly planted woodland. The path climbs up through the trees to reach another gate and a landrover track. Cross over the landrover track and pick up the continuation of the grassy path on the other side. The path now winds its way up the hill. Keep right when the path splits following the path that is obviously going upwards until you reach the summit with its small cairn.
Descend in a southerly direction on a grassy path down the long sloping south shoulder. There are two options now.
- Keeping the wall / fence to your left using a grassy path downhill. Lower down the gradient steepens and the path all but disappears as you are confined between the wall and a deer fence. On reaching a boggy dip where there is a gate in the deer fence, turn east (left) and cross the old wall/fence at a convenient broken section. Follow the dip in the ground south easterly until a burn starts to form. You can walk down either side of the burn. If using the north east side it is probably easiest to stay high above the burn until you are able to join a grassy track coming down the hill from your left. The grassy track will then take you across the burn. If using the south west side, the easiest line is close to the burn on feint traces of path until you reach the point where the grassy track crosses from the other side.
- Keeping the wall to your right another grassy path / track heads down the hillside. This is probably the simpler option as the track winds its way down the hillside, steepening as it reaches the Lethan Burn.
Stick with the grassy track as it continues down hill beside the Lethen Burn. To your left is the steep sided Balquharn Glen, one of the lesser frequented Ochils glens. Keep on the track heading down the steep hillside towards Balquharn Farm.
Before reaching the farm however, turn right on an obvious and easy to follow path that traverses around the south face of the hill. As you approach the houses at The Myretoun the path becomes a bit feinter. Keep the house to your left and look for the path heading into the gorse bushes. Follow the path through somewhat overgrown wooded scrub land crossing a small burn.
Once across the burn go downhill to your left through the gorse bushes (the route may be a bit hard to find but it is there) until you reach a fence. Cross the fence next to an oak tree at a point where the barb wire has been removed. A short easy walk down hill through woodland brings you to a small wooden gate which leads to further woodland. A path now takes you from the gate to a quiet public road where you turn right for a 600m walk back to your starting point. The alternative route from the burn, of climbing an awkward wooden gate and following an overgrown path back to Pony Track is becoming very difficult to follow. It’s probably best to go through the woods and out to the road.