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Alva Glen - Surprising & Challenging

Alva Glen - Surprising & Challenging


Postby Fife Flyer » Mon Oct 25, 2021 7:32 pm

Grahams included on this walk: Ben Cleuch

Donalds included on this walk: Ben Cleuch, Blairdenon Hill

Date walked: 23/10/2021

Time taken: 5.1 hours

Distance: 17.6 km

Ascent: 1086m

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This was yet another Plan B, ideally we would have liked to have headed NW but the forecast of rain and strong winds wasn't very appealing, so I suggested to George & Parminder we stay local (Ochil Hills) as the forecast was more favourable. The Ochils are a very under rated range of hills and once you gain the height the views offered are awesome - assuming you aren't in the clouds. This would be a second visit to the two hills for George and myself, Parminder would finish them off with Blairdenon.
None of us had started from the car park at Alva so it was a new adventure and it was just as well I had a route plotted as there are paths going in all directions.


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The car park on our arrival at 8.30 - empty

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Car park full on our return

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The blurb at the car park

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Waterfall not far from the car park

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Gaining height and we leave the wooded area the views open up

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The path heading uphill

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Looking down on Alva

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Parminder taking in the views, Wallace Monument in the distance

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Looking across towards the Forth

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The way up and ahead

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Arty shot

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Good track uphill, so much so we went too far uphill and missed our turning point for Ben Cleuch

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Looking back

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Looking back downhill

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We are just about to get back on course

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The path - fairly obvious

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Last look south before we enter the clouds

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Summit area of Ben Cleuch

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The way ahead to Blairdenon Hill

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Summit cairn on Ben Buck which happened to be on our route west

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Below the clouds and looking south again

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The way ahead, we opted to follow a path west rather than try and direct route

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One of the joys of getting a view - the inevitable wind turbine appears to enhance the view

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Plenty of moisture in the ground

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The path, not quite a motorway more a "B" class road

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The summit area of Blairdenon Hill, not very exciting

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A George photo, I was making the summit a bit more interesting by creating a wind vane with my poles

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Parminder looking very impressed and so he should be

The descent off Blairdenon was fairly straight forward over thick tufty grass, we opted for the direct route option which would take us toward Alva Glen. Our first priority was to try and lose height as it was fairly chilly and we wanted our lunch. After about 150m of steep grassy descent we found a nice lunch spot that also offered pretty good views.

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It looks fairly obvious that we are in for a steep descent soon

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Yes we are going to go down there

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Looking across to Cleuch, the grass on the hillsides looks like it has been freshly cut, trust us it hasn't

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Still a bit more descending to do

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Parminder in his usual position

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Our lunch view

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We even found 3 rocks to sit on

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Plenty of fungi of varying sizes and colours

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Looking back at what we descended, looks fairly easy

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Looking back whilst on a gradual ascent, before entering Alva Glen

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More fungi

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The way ahead, Alva Glen - there is a path that stays on the right hand side of the burn, it is narrow and exposed higher up

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One final bit to descend and then we pick up the path

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Looking back up to Parminder shows the final descent

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George surveying the burn for a suitable crossing point

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Parminder making the most of his walking poles

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All smiles before his final step/leap

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We are now in the Glen, even from here you can see the problem - steep sides on both sides of the burn

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Looking back

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Parminder looks like he is about to use his pole as a javelin, you can see the path isn't exactly a motorway

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I don't think this one is edible

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An interesting bit

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A surprise waterfall

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The way ahead, you can see the path on the right

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Looking back as George appears from round the corner

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The waterfall from a different angle

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This huge hollow is known as 'Smugglers Cave' and we met quite a few folk in the area and this is as far as most folk come

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The cave again

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The viewing point down to the cave

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Never seen a bench so overgrown

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The path is much better now for all the day trippers

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Another waterfall lower down

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Easy way to cross the burn

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More water

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There are a couple of these signs - and there is a bit of a drop

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The motorway back to the car

A few camera photo's to finish off

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Longannet chimney and Grangemouth in the distance

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Wallace monument zoomed

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The bridges at western end of the Forth - Kincardine & Clackmannanshire

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A zoomed photo for the turbine lovers

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Alva Glen zoomed a wee bit

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Possibly the last photo I will take of Longannet chimney before it turns to rubble

Alva Glen was easily the highlight of the day.
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Fife Flyer
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Re: Alva Glen - Surprising & Challenging

Postby rockhopper » Thu Oct 28, 2021 9:06 am

That looked a nice Plan B - some good walking in the Ochils and options for different/varied routes - cheers :)
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Re: Alva Glen - Surprising & Challenging

Postby Dave Hewitt » Thu Oct 28, 2021 11:28 am

Good outing - that western end of the Ochils is always interesting. I was up Ben Cleuch later the same day, but from the other side, via King's Seat to meet a few folk on top for a completion thing - if you'd been a couple of hours later you could have had champagne and cake! It stayed quite breezy but eventually the cloud lifted off nicely.

When descending south from Blairdenon like that, the other - more standard - option back to Alva is when you meet the farm track in the upper Alva Glen (known locally as "the new track", even though it's been there 30+ years), just stay on that all the way along the E side of Alva Glen to where the path leading S off the Nebit comes in. At that point there's a really nice old grassy path that cuts the corner down to the zigzags on the other track and from there you just slant back across to the Alva Glen side entrance that you used at the start - this avoids any problems with the burn, although you don't get the close-up view of the Smuggler's Cave etc. Lots of options, as ever - they're good hills for endless loops and variations.
Dave Hewitt
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