The other day on Facebook, I made the post saying it was ‘far too nice to be in the office’, which it was, so I told Barclay to grab his lead, we were going to climb a hill! The hill in question, was Birnam Hill in Highland Perthshire. Not a huge hill by Scotlands standards, but a hill nonetheless. Birnam Hill (Some know it as Kings Seat), stands at 1325ft and is classed as a Marilyn (Marilyns are hills with a 150 metre ascent on all sides and there are 1217 of them in Scotland). We parked up on the B867 near Rohallion, but if you are wise, you would begin this walk from Birnam Quarry or Dunkeld & Birnam Station.
Our chosen route took us past Rohallion Loch, the Rohallion Lodge below Duncans Hill, stunning with its cloak of yellow Gorse. Past the Lodge, we began to gently climb, it is usually an ok track to walk, but they have been felling and clearing timber, so there were some deep ruts (That I would learn on the way back). It was the most beautiful of mornings and as we got further into remoteness, the more Birds we were hearing and seeing. We reach a junction and follow ‘The Path to Birnam Hill 1 1/4’ way marker sign, through a gate and the climb began to steepen a little, through a old wooded area, passing a lovely wee waterfall, which incidentally, Barclay refused to drink out of, opting for stagnant ditch water instead!
After a while, we reach another Waymarker and I am sure it said 1 1/4 miles too! It was much warmer now, harder walking and i just hadn’t appreciated how unfit I had gotten! I let Barclay lead at this point (Lead meaning Pull). Below us on our left was a small gorge with the Birnham Burn (Actually nothing to do with Birnam) running through it. Soon we were to a clearing and there was the Hill in front of us, the path winds round the base and as we followed this, the views became more stunning. We reached the point where the path jinks off to the left and up between the crags to the summit. Steep, had suddenly become much Steeper, but the path zigzags for a while and there are some steps to help you, some kind soul, has even put in some stone slab seats 3/4 of the way up. Puff Pant, last step, here comes the summit, well, not quite, there was more path to walk yet. Steady as we went, it was rugged going. Then at last, there it is, the Cairn aka ‘The Kings Seat’, one wee last pull for Barclay and we would make it, of course, as I am all puff pant and as red as a Tomato, there just had to be an audience sat watching! We catch our breathe, exchange pleasantries with the other walkers, then turn to see the view. Just wow! The McNikon was clicking all the way on ascent and descent, but my images can not do these scenes justice. And they are moments you cannot beat and you just let yourself get lost in them.
Was then time to sit at the foot of the cairn, have a mars bar and gaze some. We said our goodbyes to the summit and began to make our way back down, which, can be a lot harder than going up! You’re slipping on the lose stone and you’ve got a 4 stone Poodle suddenly pulling like mad, paying absolutely no attention to the drop at the side of us. I called halt and we took a seat on those stone slabs! Away we went again and the further down we went, the faster Barclay would go, I had had enough, we were in the Gorge area again and there was nothing else to do but unleash the Poodle, my toes could take no more stubbing. No sooner had I unclicked his lead and the wee sod was off! This was now a great game to him. I reached a level area, whistled, shouted and swore (several times), then, only when I was pretending to head in the opposite direction, did he appear at my side. A quick wrestle to the ground and he was back on the leash!
We reached the 2nd way marker sign and we took a wee detour to our right, this was to Stair Bridge. Barclay was on a very short lead, as there was a deep ravine below us. As you approach the bridge, there is a hill there, called Hangmans Hill, yes apparently they used to hang folk there, then throw the bodies from the bridge into that deep ravine. It has to be said, you do feel a certain chill whilst you’re on the bridge! But, it gives you a very fine few of Rohallion Loch and you can see the very grand looking Lodge. Occaisionally, I do Geocaching when out walking and according to my App, there was one in the area, I had the co-ordinates and soon located the cache. Away we went again, just stopping for a drink nearby the first way marker we passed, Barclay decided to take a roll in the grass and in a ditch, no doubt picking up Ticks in the process! Aching Feet then led us to the Loch Side and then back to the car. I was absolutely knacked, but it had been so worth leaving the office for.