This walk is a high level circuit of the hills around the Silver Glen taking in the summit of Ben Cleuch. Various options are available to miss hills out to make an easier walk if desired. Most of the walk is on grassy hill paths although they may be a bit feint at times so navigation skills will be required if visibility is poor. You should ensure you are properly equipped for a hill walk.
Distance: 12.5 km / 7.9 miles
Ascent: 930 m / 3050 feet
Start / finish: Alva
Facilities: parking at Alva Glen car park, other facilities in Alva
Other walks in the area:
From the car park follow the path upstream to cross a footbridge to a viewing area for the impressive waterfall at the foot of the glen. From this point there is quite a network of paths. You want to head up the hillside in a roughly east direction to get above the burn and reach an old pipeline. If you spot any marker posts for the Diamond Jubilee Route follow these. Go under the pipeline and up a few steps beside a Scottish Water pump station to reach a metal pedestrian gate. Once through the gate you are on a path across the open hillside leading to a landrover track at the foot of the Silver Glen.
Go left onto the landrover track and follow the zig zags up the hill. It’s a bit tedious but is an easy way of gaining height. The gate into the woods at the bottom of the zig zags goes into the Ochils Woodland Park and is our return route. At the top of the zig zags there is a junction of tracks. The route described below turns left at this junction to head over The Nebit and Craighorn. If you would like an easy option simply follow the main landrover track for 3km to its terminating point at the head of the Silver Glen from where we ascend Ben Buck.
About 150m after the junction a grass path heads off to your right up the southern face of The Nebit. You can either use this path to reach the 449m summit or simply stay on the landrover track and follow it around the western side of the hill to reach the Glenwinnel Burn and the start of the ascent on to Craighorn. From the summit of The Nebit descend in a west north west direction back down to the landrover track at the burn. Cross the burn and then start to ascend the grass slope of Craighorn ahead of you. A grass path soon starts to form and takes you all the way to the 583m summit area.
Beyond the summit the ground flattens out and the path continues northwards to reach a wooden gate in a fence. Climb over the gate and follow another grass path/track to your right in a roughly north direction away from the fence line. The path takes you across the edge of the boggy ground known as Alva Moss to reach the top of the Silver Glen landrover track.
From this point an obvious path strikes off north east uphill to the summit of Ben Buck. However, just before reaching the actual 679m summit the path bears right towards Ben Cleuch. You can include the summit though and then follow the fence line south and pick up the path again when it joins the fence. Continue upwards alongside the fence to reach another fence with a stile. Cross over this fence and turn left to follow it for 400m to the summit of Ben Cleuch with its view indicator, trig point and shelter cairn.
After a well earned rest start your descent by returning in the direction from which you came. However do not cross the stile but instead turn left to follow a fence line in a south westerly direction (a path short cuts the corner so you don’t have to return all the way to the stile). You will now be heading downhill to a coll between Ben Cleuch and Ben Ever.
After the coll, the main path leads over the 622m summit of Ben Ever but there is also a path that contours round the eastern side of the hill (useful if there is a strong westerly wind). The two paths converge on the southern side of the hill to continue in a south easterly direction to a rocky promontory marked on the OS maps as Calf Craig. If you would like an easy descent an alternative path goes south west from the south side of Ben Ever to descend into the Silver Glen from where you can follow the landrover track back down the glen.
After Calf Craig the grassy path follows a fence line to reach a fence junction and a gate. A this point keep the fence to your left and go through the gate in the fence in front of you. Don’t follow the more obvious path which crosses the fence to your left and leads down to Tillicoultry. Once through the gate you need to be heading south west away from the fences. A grassy “ravine” soon bars your way. You can either go down and back up the steep sides or follow the path around it. Once across the ravine the path then goes south towards Wood Hill.
The main path detours around the western side of Wood Hill to start the descent, but you can easily include the 525m summit. From the summit either retrace your steps back to the path or descend directly down the slope south west to rejoin the path at an old wall. The descent path from Wood Hill now follows the old grassy wall down the hill. However, a couple of quad bike tracks are also present and the right hand one can be used instead. The quad bike track rejoins the wall after a sheep feed area. The descent is now quite steep on a grass path but is straight forward enough and soon you will be passing the old pine trees of Wood Hill.
Lower down the hill you pass through a gate into an area of mature woodland which is part of the Ochils Woodland Park. The path continues downhill through the trees and bracken to join another wider path where you turn right still heading downhill. Turn right again when you reach the main path through the woodland park. Just before exiting the woods the path crosses a burn where a viewing platform for the waterfalls and old silver mine has been constructed.
Exit the woodland park through the metal pedestrian gate to rejoin the Silver Glen landrover track at the bottom of the zig zags. Now retrace your outward steps remembering to follow the Diamond Jubilee Marker posts onto the path across the hillside back into Alva Glen.
View / download this route from Viewranger
View / download this route from Ordnance Survey.
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