East Lomond, West Lomond and Bishop Hill. Section 26.
Height – 448metres: 522 metres: 461 metres:
Map – OS Landranger 58 and 59.
Climbed - 17 September 2011. Time taken – 5.5 hours.
Distance – 17.5 kilometres. Ascent – 710 metres.
Trip Report Details:
Falkland in Fife was my destination as it would give me access to the hill road which crosses between East and West Lomond. I don’t recall being in Falkland before but a few years ago I sent a letter to a resident of the village and didn’t receive a reply for several weeks as it went via the Falkland Islands.
From the village I drove to the large car park at Craigmead, where several vehicles were parked. I decided to tackle East Lomond first as the summit of West Lomond was in cloud. I crossed the road and followed the path which initially rose steadily, but soon levelled out and was quite wet in sections as it ran between fields of sheep. I was passed by mountain bikers and hill runners.
Beyond a gate the ground was marshy before it steepened considerably. The path was rather slippery caused by earlier rain and I reached the viewpoint at the same time as the hill runners who had approached from a different direction. They were planning on returning to West Lomond as they had another hour to run. I visited the viewpoint and the summit, which was five metres south of the viewpoint, then took a break sheltering from the wind with views of the villages of Falkland and Auchtermuchty. After my coffee I returned to the car park by the upward route and despite West Lomond being clear of cloud I encountered a short rain shower.
I left the car park by the rear exit which led to an easy angled grassy track before it joined a hardcore surface. Further west the track became rather muddy but I left it and climbed steeply to the summit of West Lomond, marked by a trig point and cairn. The cloud base was now a lot higher and I had views across the Fife and Kinross-shire countryside.
My plan was to return to the car park and drive round to Scotlandwell or Easter Balgedie and climb Bishop Hill. However on the ascent of West Lomond I thought I might as well include it in this walk so I headed south following some trails but once across a fence they seemed to disappear. The going was quite rough and around Glen Vale wet and marshy. I crossed a path, passed through a gate, and followed a wet muddy vehicle track, still heading in a southerly direction.
This led to an opening in the dyke and a track going west which I used but it began to turn away from my destination so I left it and headed directly towards Bishop Hill. Initially this involved some grassy undulations before a fence was reached and crossed. Beyond the ground was wet, boggy and churned up by cattle but eventually I made the final ascent to the summit cairn of Bishop Hill.
Here I found some shelter from the wind for a late lunch but was wary that at any moment the cattle I had spotted near the summit would head my way. Fortunately they didn’t. After lunch I crossed a nearby stone dyke and fence then followed a vehicle track east but it soon disappeared and I encountered more marshy ground. At a junction of fences I headed north and picked up the route I used earlier on my ascent of Bishop Hill and followed it back to Glen Vale.
The decision I now had to make was how to return to the car park. I decided, rather than going over the shoulder of West Lomond, to follow the path east along Glen Vale to Harperleas Reservoir. The path was used by mountain bikers and was muddy in places. At the Reservoir the path went round the south side of the water and thereafter, according to my map, headed off in a south-easterly direction. I therefore continued along the north edge of the Reservoir but the going was very difficult through rushes and round fallen timber. I had to get away from the water’s edge so headed north-west across fields before continuing east to the track beside the ruin above the Reservoir dam. Here I observed the route through the forest also crossed the dam and came out near the ruin, which would have been a lot easier.
It was here that I read the sign about livestock which stated “don’t stare at bulls, they don’t like it and might become aggressive”. Although it may be true it’s the first time I’ve heard that and I thought it rather funny.
I followed the track east where according to another sign thousands of trees had been planted. The track passed above Little Ballo Farm before joining the public road and a short walk to the car park.
Photos taken on walk.