West Ochils, Sunday 18th February 2024


Our last outing proved to be a very popular one with a total of twenty-four walkers joining the coach at either Alyth, Blairgowrie or Perth.

Whilst BDHC regularly visits the Ochils, the particular routes chosen for the 18th may well have been new ones to the club as not even founder members could recall a previous visit.

The A party was dropped off in Menstrie and almost immediately started following the steep track that zig-zagged out of the glen and up the hillside. The group was headed for Blairdenon Hill (631mtrs) by way of the south western spur & summit of Colsnaur Hill. After crossing Menstrie Moss the walkers reached their objective, now in cloud, as would be the next section of the walk as they headed south east over increasingly wet and boggy moorland. The weather itself was generally good with only a couple of light showers encountered.

As the group walked out of the clag it was treated to good views south, across the steep hillsides that bordered Alva Glen, and beyond to the flat country of the River Forth. The plan had been to climb a shapely wee hill – the Nebbit - before descending steeply to Alva but time constraints meant giving this a miss, instead the walkers continued on the popular path back down to the village.

Having been dropped off at Alva, the C party thought they were doing the easy option going for Alva Glen and Ochils woodland walks but they were wrong! However, it was all worth it. What it lacked in mileage was made up for in scrambling up and down rocks with beautiful views. The dappled sunshine through the still bare trees enabled the group to see the water in the burn cascading over many waterfalls the length of the glen. The smugglers cave was quite a drop but two of our intrepid members clamboured down with difficulty deep into the cavern. The supposedly easier Pate Trail round the hillside back to Alva started off well dropping gradually on a grassy track but finally there was a steep descent over rocks which meant the route was quite challenging. Afterwards the foray into the Woodlands Park to see a silver mine and more waterfalls was a piece of cake!

It was a quiet day for significant wildlife but a couple of red kites and a raven were seen along the way.

Before re-joining the coach, the walkers enjoyed time in a very welcoming hostelry at the top of Alva, The No 5 Inn, where the two groups were reunited.