This is my first Walk Highlands post - I've been lurking and reading walk reports forever now, so felt it was time to give back to the community a wee bit. Most weekends you'll find William (the other half) and I up some hill or forestry walk, we've always enjoyed being outdoors in one way or another - a perfect holiday is a tent, a fire and a dram - but this year we've set our sights on Munro Bagging and exploring more of this wonderful country of ours from above, so to speak. For all lockdown's faults, it has presented us with the perfect opportunity to get out there and discover the treasures on our door step. Being able to take the kids and the dog along is a huge bonus, plus its free! So a big "Hello!" from us both.
We're lucky enough to live in Kilsyth, with the Campsies right in our back garden, so we don't have to look far when we fancy a wee wander. The weather started off in the morning rather grey and dreich, but it was to clear up over lunchtime and sure enough, it did.
We parked in the viewpoint at Tak-Ma-Doon and headed along the road a wee bit, before coming onto Tomtain to the left. I'd heard that it was a boggy / swampy climb, and it certainly didn't disappoint.
The majority of the walk is a fairly pleasant ascent, nothing too steep (that came later), and the views along the way were lovely. To the left of the path, were fields and a stunning view out over the central belt, and to the right, lots of thick forestry and places to go looking for Gruffalos...
The approach to the summit is where things get a little steep but not unmanagable. There is a fair climb to almost a false summit, before the hill ascends up again. We stopped at the first one to take in the view and to be honest, catch my breath! Looking back over the route we'd come up, the Tak-Ma-Doon road was a speck in the distance, and the Ochil Hills were over to the left (from the position I was sitting in).
A wee 5 minute breather then it was onwards and upwards to the top. Much like before, it was fairly steep but nothing challenging. In fact, the most challenging / frustrating thing about the whole walk was the bloody horseflies - covered in bites! There are plenty of foot holes to get a grip into if you need a wee puddy up, one unfortunate soul had used them as hand holes, as evidenced by the false nail they'd left behind
To say the top was windy would be the understatement of the year, but the kids were in their element - Caleb may or may not have taken a wee moment to flash his bare arse from the top - to get a "bum breeze" apparently. The view from the summit was stunning. Looking behind the trig point, you can see the entire central belt and beyond, including Edinburgh and the bridges, all the way over to Ayrshire. Looking back from the cairn, Carron Valley resevoir and the mountains headed into the West were glorious, and the Ochils again, were dominating the Eastern skyline.
We stayed up there for a wee while, just enjoying the fruits of our labours before the wander back down to the car. Coming down wasn't too bad either, just watch out for some slippery bits and you'll be fine. Unlike myself, who fell face first into a puddle just seconds after this pic was taken.
All in all, it was a great family day out and an ideal walk for any experience or ability. Once you get down, I'd recommend a wee refreshment in the Campsie Bar (within the Coachman), in Kilsyth - after all, what's a hill walk without a pint at the end?
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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.