In Fife for a few days so I took the chance to venture into the Ochil Hills for the first time since I started hillwalking. Kicked off in Mill Glen. Very scenic woodland walk with some impressive waterfalls due mainly to a recent deluge of heavy rain. Heard a few worrying reports about The Law. Surprisingly steep, apparently. I met a couple of elderly ladies (had to be in their late sixties, although humble apologies if I’ve over-compensated!!) who had stopped at the bottom of The Law for a breather before tackling the slopes. And quite right too. It was a punishing slog to the top (much worse than the 4 Munros I did a few days later), although several false summits certainly didn’t help matters. On the plus side, the slog to the top of The Law takes care of most of the height gain and its an easy jaunt to the summit of Ben Cleuch from there.
Things had started off brightly but the forecast was for rain later in the afternoon. Predictably, it arrived early. The wind picked up considerably on the top of Ben Cleuch and the rain came sweeping in from the south-west. I managed to pull my waterproofs on in the summit shelter even though it was a struggle against the wind. Don’t know who built that shelter but they stopped a few brick courses short of effectiveness.
I had a bit of luck as the rain turned out to be only a short shower, and the wind disappeared as I dropped down the far side towards Ben Ever. There are many choices of path on the way down. Had I wished to prolong the walk I could have headed over to Alva Glen but, due to other commitments, I was on a tight time schedule. At every path junction, I took a left until I eventually ended up across Wood Hill and back in Mill Glen. On the descent, I found myself worrying about the two elderly ladies I’d met at the foot of The Law. I scanned my ascent route for signs of them. I hadn’t seem them from the top of The Law but I spotted them now heading slowly up the long ridge towards Ben Cleuach summit. There was another patch of rain showers sweeping across it and they would be struggling through a strong headwind, but they’d soon be over the worst of it. It was three o’clock and I was on my way down. Hopefully, they’d make it down before dusk. And good on them. I hope I’m still doing routes like this when I’m their age.
Being a Scrambling fanatic, the Ochils were only supposed to be a minor distraction for me, but I actually liked them a lot. They are compact, steep, and their glens are very scenic. I must go back again some time, perhaps when there’s a covering of snow.
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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.