A few weeks back, James and I decided to explore the nearby Ochil Hills. Only an hour by car away, these hills are often called a hidden gem of Scotland. Naturally, we wanted to see for ourselves whether they deserved that title.
On a clear Sunday morning, we set off to the little village of Dollar. From there, we took a path through Dollar Glen and along Dollar Burn. After ascending steeply through some woodland in the glen, the path got less steep as we exited the trees and got onto the slopes of the hills. From Bank Hill, we got a wonderful view back to Castle Campbell in the Glen and across the village and lowland all the way to the Lomond Hills in the distance.
Braving the Rain
Unfortunately, as we climbed the slopes of King’s Seat Hill, clouds started to roll in from the west and a strong wind set in. We took a break at the top and had some tea, before descending into the Glen of Sorrow. As we got lower, some dramatic views of the glen revealed themselves below the clouds. When crossing the burn, I somehow managed to miss the stone and dunk my whole foot into the water, making it flow into my hiking boot from the top.
As it turned out, that didn’t matter at all. While climbing Tarmangie Hill from the glen, a torrential downpour set in. Within minutes, the rain was flowing down my legs and into the boots, soaking both feet. The wind kept blowing straight into our faces and we were in the clouds and couldn’t see anything. Nevertheless, it was fun to brave those conditions as we made it across Whitewisp Hill and on towards Innerdownie.
When descending down the grassy slopes to the Glenquey Reservoir, the rain stopped, the clouds cleared up and the sun even came out. We started to dry nicely during our late lunch picnic. As we were heading towards Castle Campbell to make our way back to the car, we decided to take a little detour.
Since it was still early and we really wanted to see the views from King’s Seat Hill, we crossed Dollar Glen and once again made our way up. This time, it was sunny all the way as we made it across Bank Hill and up King’s Seat Hill. We enjoyed some gorgeous views and headed back down into the valley again after a surprisingly wonderful finish for the day. Taken together, the Ochil Hills definitely are a hidden gem!