A circular (well heart shaped) walk taking in the two highest summits of the Ochils: Ben Cleuch at 721m and Andrew Gannel Hill at 670m. This is a high level hill walk so please ensure you are properly equipped for this. If misty, then navigation skills will be required. Allow about 5 hours for this walk.
Distance: 12 km / 7.5 miles
Ascent: 750 m / 2500 feet
Terrain: grassy hill paths
Start / finish: Tillicoultry
Facilities: full range of facilities in Tillicoultry. On street parking. Public transport.
Other walks in the area: Ben Cleuch from the North
Start from the small parking area on Upper Mill Street at grid reference NS 914 975. If no space then there is plenty of on street parking in the vicinity.
Follow the Tillicoultry Glen (Mill Glen) path starting at the bridge on the east side of the burn. The Glen is a steep sided gorge with tumbling waterfalls and cascades and makes a excellent start to the walk. The path will criss cross the burn on bridges a number of times. After the 5th crossing you reach an obvious path junction on the west side of the burn, take the left hand option up the slope and through a gate.
Beyond the gate a grassy path takes you out on to the open hillside southwards towards the quarry. You can either follow this path to the edge of the quarry (fenced off) or use one of the short cut paths that have formed on the hillside. Whichever way you go you will join a wider grass track where you need to turn right at a cairn. This track now takes you up on to the slopes of Wood Hill where it turns in a north westerly direction still gaining height. The path will meet a fence that needs to be crossed using a broken stile so that you are to the west side of the fence.
From here continue north west past a small rocky outcrop towards Ben Ever ahead of you. Don’t forget to keep looking back for views over the Forth Valley though. Before reaching Ben Ever a path goes left down into the Silver Glen above Alva. You now have the option of either going over the 622m summit of Ben Ever or round it to the east. Both routes converge at a gate on the north side of the hill. A short uphill slog on to the shoulder of Ben Cleuch following a fence line now follows. The path bears right away from the fence to short cut the corner before reaching the summit with its trig point, view indicator and rock shelter.
From the summit continue in a south easterly direction on a wide grassy path alongside a fence. Approximately 800m from the summit keep left when the path forks so that you are heading towards Andrew Gannel Hill with its rocky prow (the right hand fork will take you back to Tillicoultry via The Law). Descend to a wet coll before regaining a small amount of lost height as the path and fence head towards the summit. As you reach the summit area the path diverges from the fence towards the rocks although the actual summit is close to the fence.
Beyond the summit the path heads east downhill away from the fence, to the rather boggy area known as Maddy Moss. At the lowest point pick up the path on the opposite side of the cleft heading south. If visibility is poor this area can be a wee bit confusing.
The descent route is now on the old Right of Way from Blackford to Tillicoultry. Keep right on the lower path when the path splits (unless you want to include Kings Seat as well). The path stays up high above the Gannel Burn for most of the descent. A route off Kings Seat joins on your left before the path starts to lose height. The next section of the path is above Tillicoultry Glen where you were earlier and if it is a clear day you will be able to see your ascent route. A network of zig zag grass paths takes you down the final section of hillside where you join a stepped path and pass through a gate into the wooded glen emerging close to your start point.
View / download this route from Viewranger.
View / download this route from Ordnance Survey.
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