The Ochil Hills

January 18, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

The Ochil Hills are my local hills and I have developed a love of them for the exercise and solitude that they provide. It is a 30 minute drive from my house to park at the base of these hills, so I can be at the top in about 2 hours. I have still got so much to explore there, but needless to say that I have taken a lot of photographs of them, some of which I present below.

Wood Hill Sunset

Sunset in the Ochil HillsWood Hill Sunset, Ochil HillsTaken on Wood Hill Feb-16, Ochil Hills Scotland

I took this picture of this magnificent tree on Wood Hill on a cold February afternoon as the sunset.  I was lucky that the wind blew the spindrift off the hills and the setting sun lit it up red. Wood hill is a steep climb from the Ochil Hills Woodland Park car park. The climb offers some fantastic views which I would say are amongst my very favourites. I took this video in between shots.

The Hillfoots

The Ochil Hills wood hill, Craigleith, Dumyat, MenstrieThe HillfootsTaken from Wood Hill, Ochil Hills 2015. This is another picture taken from Wood Hill which offers great views off the steep Ochil Hills rearing up from the Forth Valley - The bottom of the hills are unsurprisingly called the Hillfoots and the village of Menstrie can be seen in this picture. I found it amusing when I first heard people who live in Stirling (the local city) refer to people who live in the Hillfoots villages and towns as the "Clampits"; in honour of the Beverley Hillbillies...

Sunset Serenity
Wood Hill SunsetSunset SerenityI took this on my first attempt at taking sunsets on Wood Hill in the Ochil Hills. I love the backdrop of this hill and I also like the fact that I can catch a sunset in the winter and be home by 6pm :) This was the first sunset picture that I took on Wood Hill, I enjoyed the torchlit walk back down the steep slopes to the woods where I heard an owl calling along with the chime of an ice cream van in the nearby village! I did not see a soul.

The King of Wood Hill

The King of Wood HillThe King of Wood HillWood Hill Ochil Hills This shot is a stitched 3-shot landscape vertirama of this magnificent tree on woodhill. There is a stone wall around the base and many names of courting couples through the years have been carved into the bark. It is a fine specimen and always one I stop to admire when I am passing by.

Stop & Stare

Wood Hill WalkWood Hill WalkWood Hill, Ochil Hills I took this on the circular footpath on Wood Hill, near the start of the walk. When taking pictures of trees I like to stop and stare to try and see a composition in the pattern of trees. I need to get back to practicing that as I always enjoy idle wanderings in the woods looking for an image.

Boundary The fence on CraighornThe fence on CraighornThis fence cuts right over Craighorn in the Ochil Hills in Scotland I tackled Craighorn head on from behind the Nebit, one frosty and foggy morning. As I climbed I disturbed a lot of sheep who were still laying on the slope, not expecting some stupid human to climb up and surprise them. The climb was worth it as the fog started to clear as I reached the top. I also got this shot further on of this fence and this video gives you a feel of conditions when I took this picture. 

Craiginnan

The Sheep Pen on Saddle HillThe Sheep Pen on Saddle HillThe Sheep Pen on Saddle Hill in winter. Ochil Hills Scotland I have passed this sheep pen many times as it is on my well trodden path to and from the steep sided Saddle Hill. If you aim for this sheep pen, and head north, there is a wee gulley that makes the ascent or descent a bit easier. This time I had been only to the top of Saddle Hill but turned back due to my dog shivering. The wind was blowing the snow around so I decided it was a good time to take a shot. 

Moment
Resting on Wood HillResting on Wood HillThe climb up Wood Hill is steep and this spot offers a chance to admire the scenery before heading up through the old pine trees. After a steep clamber up from the silver glen, this is the scene on wood hill that makes it all worth the effort. I took this the first week of November in 2015, it was a beautiful day and a very enjoyable walk.

Winter on Whitewisp Hill

Sunset on Whitewisp HillSunset on Whitewisp HillWatching the sunset before heading down to the car park at Castle Campbell in the dark I took this picture in Dec-15 and after climbing up I was worried that the cloud would cover the sun before it set. Luckily it didn't! I took this video of the scene with my Dog (Digger) sheltering behind my rucksack with his wee jacket that I put on him - earlier he did not want to wear it but by this time he did not mind wearing it; that dog really feels the cold, especially when I stop to take pictures and he is forced to sit about.

Starburst

StarburstStarburstI never quite made it in time for the sunrise. instead I was confronted with this explosion of light as I stood on a windy and chilly Castle Law on Dumyat in the Ochil Hills I never quite made it in time for the sunrise. instead I was confronted with this explosion of light as I reached the edge of a windy and chilly Castle Law on Dumyat in the Ochil Hills. I have an edited version of this picture where I have taken out the big flare from the sun but I prefer this version due to the sheer blast!

Stop and Stare
Ochil HillsOchil HillsThe Ochil Hills from Wood Hill The way up Wood Hill is not obvious, it takes a wee bit of investigation to find the path and reach this point. I have sat here a few times and basked in this immense view, yet it is a secret to most. The thing is I am sitting here watching everyone rush up and down the track on the edge of the Nebit as they head to the top of the Ochils, on Ben Cleuch; when all the time they are passing a place of real beauty that is in plain sight. 

Tarmangie Hill

Stiles on Tarmangie Hill, Ochil HillsStiles on Tarmangie Hill, Ochil HillsThese stiles allow you to climb over the fence to reach the low key summit of Tarmangie Hill in the Ochil Hills, Scotland These stiles are more or less at the summit of Tarmangie Hill and they add some civility to climbing the fence.

Staring down to Sorrow 

Descending into the Glen of SorrowDescending into the Glen of SorrowThe Glen of Sorrow, Ochil Hills in Scotland I took this descending off King's Seat Hill into the Glen of Sorrow.  I love the name and ironically being around the glen gives me joy!

Lumps and Bumps 

Lumps and BumpsLumps and BumpsThe side of King's Seat hill is lit up by the lowering sun highlighting the lumps and bumps of the hillside Whilst descending back to the Glen of Sorrow, after coming of King's Seat Hill, I looked over to the Banks of Dollar to see the lowering sun highlighting there shapes.

The Glen of Sorrow

The Glen of SorrowThe Glen of SorrowThe Glen of Sorrow lit up by the sun in the Ochil Hills Another picture of the lowering sun painting the Glen of Sorrow. There are a lot of opportunities when the light is like this!

Ochil Hills Woodland Park

Ochil Hills Woodland ParkOchil Hills Woodland ParkOchil Hills Woodland Park It was one of those days in autumn, I jumped out my car after parking and rushed to the fence of the Woodland car park and took this picture.

Clearing Cloud on Craighorn

Clearing Cloud on CraighornClearing Cloud on CraighornView from Craighorn, Ochil Hills After climbing up the front of Craighorn, I reached the top just in time for the cloud to start moving. I have learnt now to go for a walk whatever the conditions as you never know what it is going to be like until you get there!

The Glen of Sorrow

The Glen of SorrowThe Glen of SorrowThe Glen of Sorrow in Winter, Ochil Hills Scotland I took a picture of this scene with the Glen of Sorrow Rowan tree many years previously with a film camera. I had walked near here many times until this day when I decided it was time to try the shot again, this time with a digital camera. It was coming down sleet at this level and I used a special camera cover I had bought to take this picture and protect the lens from getting wet. I have never used it again as I am too disorganised!

Whitewisp Hill

The Glen of SorrowThe Glen of SorrowA view of the Glen of Sorrow from the Ochil Hills This shot looks down on the Glen of Sorrow from Whitewisp Hill. My next objective is to explore the glen itself, which should be fun to navigate to the top.

Old and New

Wind Turbines and Fence PostsWind Turbines and Fence PostsI took this shot from Whitewisp Hill in the Ochil Hill, Scotland There is quite a lot of wind turbines on the Ochil Hills. I took this somewhere on Whitewisp or Tarmangie Hill, of the old crooked fence posts and the new gleaming turbines harvesting the wind.

The Glen of Sorrow in August

King's Seat HillKing's Seat HillKing's Seat Hill from the Glen of Sorrow This was a passing snap of the glen as I headed back off King's Seat Hill, which I have climbed countless times just for the exercise and for fun.

The White Stane of Tam Baird

The White Stane of Tam BairdThe White Stane of Tam BairdThis curious stone sits on the slope of King's Seat Hill in the Ochil Hills. It was first described in the 18th century and is thought to be of Druidic origin. The White Stane of Tam Baird is on King's Seat Hill and is marked on the map on the south side at 425 metres. This day I decided to find out what it was and took this picture of this odd white quartz rock. I also realised as a photographer that there is a wealth of fantastic views on the sides of the hills, rather than just the top. 

At the Edge

At the EdgeAt the EdgeStanding at the edge of Castle Law on Dumyat, near Stirling This shot of the Forth Valley was taken from the edge of Castle Law on Dumyat, as the sun rose one chilly October morning. I took this picture with the long shadows at the same time that I took the Starburst picture above. 

Ben Cleuch

Ben CleuchBen CleuchThis is the highest hill of the Ochil Hills. It is 730 metres Ben Cleuch is the highest of the Ochil Hill's at 730 metres and I took this shot at the summit. I have only climbed it three times as this is the hill that most people go for, due to it being the highest - I like to go where it is quieter. 

Wind and Things

Turbines on Burnfoot Hill Windfarm, Ochil hillsTurbines on Burnfoot Hill Windfarm, Ochil hillsWind Turbines on Burnfoot Hill, Ochil Hills Scotland These wind turbines are on Burnfoot Hill. This is a zoomed shot from a tripod taken from the top of King's Seat Hill. It feels to me standing on these hills that to the south is the Forth Valley and the populous Central belt of Scotland; but looking north from the Ochils, the landscape changes dramatically. The Ochil Hills to me mark the boundary between the more rugged highlands and the smoother lowlands. Maybe one day a geologist will confirm this to me!

Digger on Innerdownie

Digger on InnerdownieDigger on InnerdownieDigger wondering about near the summit of Innerdownie in the Ochil Hills, Scotland Digger is my Ochil Hills walking companion and this picture of him enjoying the moment was taken near the summit of Innerdownie. We were just about to follow the wall back over to Whitewisp Hill on the left, before descending back into Dollar Glen. It was a beautiful September afternoon and the colour scheme of the grass and sky was like peaches and cream. I have a colour shot of that scene which Digger had not wondered into, but I will always like this picture the most as it reminds me of the sheer pleasure a dog obtains from being given a good walk.

The Passing Shower

Steal My SunshineSteal My SunshineStanding on King's Seat Hill watching the rain roll in. The rain showers passed quickly and made for an awesome experience as they went over. The light would change quickly, the sun would flash on and off through the clouds and it was great to be there! I always enjoy a jaunt up King's Seat Hill.

In the Fog

Foggy MorningFoggy MorningFoggy Morning The running water sounds different in the fog I decided to take this picture of Glenwinnel Burn just before I headed up Craighorn to an uncertain viewing outcome at the top.

Wood Hill Secrets

Ochil Hills and Wallace MonumentOchil Hills and Wallace MonumentOchil Hills and Wallace Monument, from Wood hill, Scotland This view of the Wallace monument and the hillfoots is one of the secret views that are given up when you climb Wood Hill. I never tire of it and how it transforms as you climb higher. I recently took my friend Bob here to show him but the cloud closed in and we spent the rest of the walk without any view whatsoever!

The Braw Hoose

Wood HillWood HillWood Hill, Ochil Hills, Scotland Whoever lives here is very lucky. Not only is the building a looker, the surroundings are too. I took a quick sneaky shot of it as I walked past.

Follow the Fence

Whitewisp Hill, Ochils HillsIn the CloudTaken on Whitewisp Hill, Ochils Hills I was lucky to walk the hills during a cloud inversion. Somewhere between Tarmangie and Whitewisp hills, the cloud reared and enveloped me, before receding back like a splashing wave, shortly after.

The Spitfire Crash Memorial

The Spitfire Memorial on King's Seat HillThe Spitfire Memorial on King's Seat HillThe Spitfire Memorial on King's Seat Hill, Ochil Hills, Scotland This memorial is near the top of King's Seat Hill. It commemorates the two pilots who died when their planes smashed into the hill on a cloudy training flight. A third pilot survived the crash and managed to further survive a freezing night on the hill before being found by a shepherd.

Above the cloud

Forth ValleyForth Valley I took this shot from King's Seat Hill during a cloud inversion. I had nearly not bothered going for this walk as where I lived was dark with the low cloud. I am glad that I decided to go anyway, despite my misgivings.

Velvet

When standing on King's Seat Hill in the afternoon light, the hills to the west appear to have a velvet texture. I have taken many pictures of it but this picture was featured in the Readers picture section of the Great Outdoors magazine, sometime in 2016.

The Creeping Cloud

During the cloud inversion, the cloud would slowly build up at the back of the hills and then pour over the top. It would then recede like a slow motion wave. I took this picture of Whitewisp Hill from King's Seat Hill. I knew then where the name came from...

Cloud Turbines

It was great to watch the turbines peak above the clouds as they turned lazily. A hill somewhere north sticks out like an island.

Here comes the Cloud

The cloud slowly built up and covered Innerdownie as I watched from Whitewisp Hill. Four figures on the summit of Innerdownie paused for a minute before heading downward into the cloud and the grey world below. I stood for a while watching with the sun on my back, knowing that I too was also going to start my descent onto Saddle Hill.

Surreal

Wind Turbines in the distance, peaking above the cloud. I took this zoom shot somewhere on Tarmangie Hill. 

The Golden Grass

It was the end to a fantastic walk. After I had left Saddle hill I noticed the golden grasses swaying in the light breeze as the sun lit them up. It was a moment to stop and stare.

This is only a selection of my Ochil Hills pictures. I will eventually post another batch!


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