- Friday 5th April 2019
- The Ochil Hills
Last week saw us undertake Norman’s Law, the final eastern summit of the Ochils, today we chose Bengengie Hill on the west side. We were going to do a circular today which I always like. This walk takes you to the quieter summits of the Ochils.
We drove to Alva a small town in Clackmannashire situated immediately to the south of the Ochil Hills.
This was where we spent many a day as kids hiking up and down these hills.
The Ochils here in Alva are a set of very steep hills which appear to go straight up and down…accessing the top of some of them takes a bit of time as you have to head up long glens to find an ‘easy’ ascent where climbing them can actually be achieved as they are so steep.
I remember as a kid going up some of them with my family. Dad deciding we would do a steep section covered in scree…very appropriate with health and safety completely going out the window… I sometimes wonder did my mum actually know what we were up to when he said “were going out for a walk”. I remember him helping us over difficult sections and saying ‘stay there’ till he went back and helped the other across, then the other!!! I can’t remember if at that point feeling scared or feeling like a dare devil and loving every minute…probably the latter at 7 years old I guess!
We followed the path up through Alva Glen, a steep-sided cleft scored in the front of the Ochils range, following the Alva Burn .
Alva Glen is a spectacular gorge, dramatic and scenic filled with a series of at least five waterfalls.
The walk up is pretty stunning and makes you feel like you are miles from anywhere in the middle of no-where.
Again only a short drive from home which means a set of hills easy to access after work as nights are light.
Some of the walk hits steep ascents/desents with precipitous slopes so venturing of the paths can be risky.
We pass by the many waterfalls, the ‘Smugglers Cave’ in the floor of the gorge and the hills covered in many sure-footed sheep, so scenic.
We walked for miles surrounded by beauty until our path ran out. We were at the foot of Bengengie Hill, looking straight up and saw the summit, a rocky outcrop…how do we get to it.
The only logical/quickiest way was a straight up scramble, basically clinging to the side of the hill.
By this time the wind had picked up which meant you were almost being blown of your feet, it was pretty difficult, so keeping low was vital…at this point it should have been utter tranquil here in the middle of the Ochils with no-one around…but the wind ringed in our ears constantly…I’m not a fan of wind, give me rain or snow any day!
Once we reached the summit we checked out the views.
We could see Wallace’s Monument and the River Forth, views were pretty good, pity about the wind!
We were so exposed and once again hammered by the wind.
We then followed the ridge linking Bengengie Hill to Big Torry overlooking our starting point.
Here we found a crag to shelter in from the wind and we soaked up the vitamin D while we munched. Wilderness, silence, heat, food and coffee…my idea of utter perfection…such relief until it was time to leave, then the battle began all over until we reached the car.
It was a steep ascent up and it was steep decent down.
8 Comments Add yours
Wow such dramatic pictures of the sky and stunning views. Lovely to be able to get out into this beautiful landscape after work. I am just about to go out with my walking group I will be walk through woods farm land and the hills of Boxted that Lena talks about. To be out for a few hours walking and in good company is great. Although I would love to be walking where you and Andy were walking. I think I may have been on my knees going up hill and sitting down on my cuddie-hunkers coming down hill.
Love Theresa x
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I love the light nights…makes you want to get outside when you come home from work and you have the time to do so without rushing! Hope your walk went well and you didn’t get too wet…we had a pretty damp, dull and wet weekend…then typically Monday morning just in time for work….the sun was shining!! The area you walk in looks lovely, Auntie Lena sent me a photo of it. x
You’re certainly getting lots of exercise in preparation for your Russian trip! !Remember going to Alva Glen with trips from St Joseph when we were young
It’s a beautiful area and I remembeCastle Cambell sitting on the Hill. Is it a ruin or does anyone live there? You certainly know your history. Do you research the areas before you visit? Loved the waterfalls 😀 Enjoy your trips. ..I feel quite envious. Remember uncle Charlie andied I camping up at Blair Castle and going for walks at 11pm as it was still daylight
Love/God Bless Aunty Alice cc
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Yes, just trying to get in as much walking, hiking, anything really for Russia….feeling the pressure now! Alva Glen is such a nice area. There are so many routes to take which is nice so you don’t get bored and they have been doing lots of work on some of the paths nearer the village….Can’t believe you were taken up there with the primary school, how nice…we were lucky if we got to ‘the meedies’ ;-)….Dollar has some nice walks also…so Castle Cambell is still there and is actually open to the public. Its in really good condition considering it was built in the 15th century….I must rummage through some of my photos as we were up there last year or possibly the year before, never went inside but took photos from outside…supposedly this Castle had connections with John Knox and Mary Queen of Scots…there is a visitors Centre which provides information etc about the place.
So yes I do like to read up on or find interesting facts about places I visit…when we ‘go to the hills’ though we use maps all the times (and have the collection to prove it!!)…Andy more so than me…he can have his head in a map all day long….simple pleasures!!! That’s interesting you saying that you and Uncle Charlie camped up there and went for an 11pm walk…Andy and I are planning on doing the very same thing….more so for work however….Andy has a ML Course (Mountain Leader) coming up in May and has to undertake night navigation etc so our plan is to camp out in the Ochils and do some midnight walking – hopefully his night navigation skills are better than ok so he can get us off the hills! X
Lovely photos as usual. I used to love Alva Glen…..it has a magical sound to it. It looks beautiful too. So now I understand how your fearlessness came about. It was during those “going for a walk” days with your dad!! Didn’t realise he did such dangerous things with you all. Was that the 5 of you? He’d be pleased that you inherited his fearlessness! Not much Vitamin D to be had here today I’m afraid. We’re having really heavy showers.xx
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So many walks up at Alva, Dollar, Tillicoultry and so close to home…AND better still within easy reaching distance of a coffee shop (or two)…its my one and only guilty pleasure (and bad habit ;-)!!)…..Auntie Lean, you wouldn’t believe some of our walking stories, there are many more….yes all 5 of us were traipsed out…sometimes all together, sometimes just a couple of us I suppose depending on what age we were or if we wanted to go….but each time was an adventure….we would never take the ‘normal path’ ALWAYS the ‘path’ less travelled and I use the term path loosely!!!! But it was always the best path as we had some adventures! So yes I can guarantee you that’s where I certainly get that side of things from…you call it fearless…thank you :-), some call it stupidity lol! We too had a whole weekend of dampness/dullness and showers so thank goodness we went out on Friday and caught the sun! X
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