The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Thursday 25 August 2016

Birnam Hill (NO032402; 404m)

Thursday 25 August

Driving our way north yesterday afternoon, in glorious sunshine and high temperatures, I had my sights set on an evening hill. By Glasgow, I had to concede that the SatNav's ETA, combined with the current daylight hours, combined with the need to eat at some point, were ruling out that plan. A night-stop further south was found and I turned my thoughts to getting to watch the first in the new series of Bake Off instead.

The result of a morning of essential administration, an afternoon of travelling and an evening of cooking, eating and TV watching meant that it was dark by the time we headed out to make sure we didn't miss out daily Fitbit step targets (my unbroken chain, currently standing at around a year and eight months, makes missing a day unthinkable).

Even though both travelling and visiting friends were on the agenda today, there was time for a quick hill this morning and Birnam Hill sits right next to the A9 by Dunkeld. I knew that because the map told me so; I didn't know it from sight as yesterday’s glorious weather had been replaced by mist and mizzle (boo hiss).

There's not much to say about my outing. A good path took me to the big cairn at the top, from where I saw very little and the same good path took me back down again as I wasn't sure I had time to do the full circuit via the quarry to the south.

I got back to the station car park exactly one hour after leaving, with 2.4 miles walked and around 1000' of up (the distance would have been a touch shorter if I hadn't made a brief foray in the wrong direction soon after leaving the station, following a 'Birnam Hill Path' sign without first checking it was the path I wanted).

Meanwhile Mick went for a jogette. One of my challenges for the planning of this trip has been finding places for Mick to run in the vicinity of the hills I want to visit. On this occasion there was a convenient cycle path from the station car park running adjacent to the A9. Unfortunately it's only just over a kilometre before it joins a B road. Back and forth repetition was thus the name of the game for Mick this morning.


  1. Checked out your walk on the 1:25,000 map and it doesn't show a path but you say it's a good path up. Then looking at the 1:50,000 the path is there. Odd. You would expect the 1:25,000 to be more accurate.
    Shame the weather was dank you might have spotted the smallest castle in Scotland.

    1. That is odd isn't it? I dithered over buying 1:25k maps for the whole of the UK earlier this year and am so glad that I did; flicking between the 1:25k and the 1:50k you can often glean more information, but I am used to it being the 1:25k telling me about paths not the other way around.