Start/Finish: Tillicoultry, Dollar, Blackford or Auchterarder
Terrain: Mostly good, runnable hill tracks (steeper on Southern aspects), some back roads and farm tracks
Transport: Buses connect Blackford/Auchterarder with Stirling/Perth. Buses connect Tillicoultry/Dollar with Stirling/Cupar.
Route: Route Map (and GPX)
|The Ochils seen from the "Devon Way" (Old railway route)|
Again I'm probably guilty of overlooking the Ochils because they're so close. How stupid. The Glens above the Hillfoot towns are gorgeous, sure, but that's where I always seem to end up when I do go for a run here. I've never explored the Northern aspects of this range. The relatively lower altitude of these hills and surrounding area also means they're more likely to be accessible in Winter. This loop traverses the Ochils twice using historical routes - Tillicoultry to Blackford and Auchterarder to Glendevon then to Dollar. And between the hill running you get to run a few miles in both the Forth Valley and Strathallan! I did it clockwise starting from Tillicoultry, although I was looking over my shoulder a lot and thinking anti-clockwise could be nice too.
|Out onto the hills above Tillicoultry (the route heads high-up to L of lump shown)|
|Looking towards the Forth from above Mill Glen|
|A nice view of the "wrong way" - Daiglen Burn|
|Ascending to the col between Andrew Gannel Hill (L) and Kings Seat|
|Looking N from above the watershed on Skythorn|
|Grodwell and Gloich Glens, Ben Cleuch (highest point in Ochils) beyond|
|Trees and stile to aim for when following shore of Upper Glendevon Resr.|
|A useful clue for route-finding (R. Devon above Reservior)|
Continue WNW, arriving at some peat hags (I lost the path here but found it again a bit closer to the water - by the fence).
The path leads up the W arm of the reservior eventually crossing the River Devon by a narow bridge. The glen ahead looks inviting (there's a waterfall a few hundred metres beyond the bridge), but the way to Blackford requires doubling-back along the N shore of the reservior following a fence, eventually swinging away to visit some ruins.
From the ruins, narrow paths lead NW into the tiny "Glen Bee", arriving at a stile. There seems to be a choice of paths from here, I took the easier option keeping lower in the glen, eventually arriving at the last col of the traverse where the path joins a wide gravel track, and a fantastic view opens out over Strathallan and Strathearn, the Highlands teasingly close by.
|View over Strathallan with Ben Vorlich and Stuc a' Chroin on the skyline|
|Descending towards Blackford|
There's a wee shop in town where I picked up some much-appreciated junk food.
The next section of the route is a bit different - now out of the Ochils, follow the B8081 over the rail-crossing, continue around the bends for 500m until just beyond a junction and farmhouse there's a right-of-way sign pointing into a field on the left, from where a good, peaceful track leads up alongside old oak trees, beside horses and after a mile you enter Gleneagles Golf Course! Way-markers take you from here safely between the fairways, the club house and hotel visible to the left, bringing you out by a carpark adjacent to the A823. Head N along this briefly, then fork R towards Auchterarder - one of Scoltand's "Lang Toons" (and another chance to get refreshments).
|Climbing back into the hills (Cloan Glen) - the start of "Cadgers' Yett"|
|Coul Burn, above Coulshill Fm|
This is my first long outing for a while so I was feeling it a bit here, but still quite content because I'd made good time and knew it is mostly downhill from here back to Tillicoultry. Mostly!
|Descending Borland Glen towards Glendevon Village|