Ben Cleuch – The Highest of the Ochil Hills

View from the summit of Ben Cleuch

This is a circular walk with a bit of everything - Starting off in a steep river gorge, then a bit of a scrabble and a steep ascent of The Law, the hill in front of Ben Cleuch.

From there an easy climb to the summit.  The return route has a  few options - I chose to go over Ben Ever, then descend to the Silver Glen behind Alva.  From there, a pleasant walk through woods and fields takes you back to the start point.

There are fine views of the Forth Valley on the way up, and on a clear day you can see from the Bass Rock in one direction to the Arrochar Alps in the other.

Probably about 6 hours allowing for stops.

Get a Map for Ben Cleuch

Ben Cleuch - Getting There

Park at the top of  Upper Mill Street in Tillicoultry.  There is space for several cars there.

Get Directions

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Part 1

The walk starts at the top of Upper Mill Street.  Go past the information board and follow the path alongside the stream.

There now begins an amazing sequence of steps, paths with railings, and many bridges as the path crosses back and forth over the stream.

Watch out also for the impressive quarry.

Start point for Ben Cleuch
First of many bridges
Path with railings
The quarry

You reach an impressive structure of bridges and wooden walk ways - at the top, after the bridge, the path turns sharply to the right up a set of steps.

Ben Cleuch walkway

Part 2

The path crosses a last bridge over to the East side. For Ben Cleuch, you have to watch out for a steep path descending to cross the stream while the main path veers off to the right.

There is a short rocky scramble, before the steep ascent of The Law begins.

The path splits for Ben Cleuch

The photograph is taken from the Law looking back down onto the path - if you look carefully, you can see where the path heads down to the stream.

 

Now there is a steady, steep climb up to the top of The Law (638m), but there are fine views of the Forth Valley as you climb.

The long climb up The Law
Forth Valley from The Law
Forth Valley from The Law

Part 3

From the top of The Law, you can see the summit of Ben Cleuch - now a fairly easy climb.

A line of fence posts lead away from The Law, follow them for a bit before cutting off to the left to head up Ben Cleuch.

The summit of Ben Cleuch

Finally you reach the trig point and a stone shelter.  There is also a view point, but it has suffered a bit from the weather and is a bit difficult to read.

Despite the low cloud, I could see all the way from The Bass Rock and Berwick Law, right over to Ben Lomond and The Cobbler.

 

Summit of Ben Cleuch
The Bass Rock in the distance
Ben Lomond and The Arrochar Alps

Part 4

The return route now caries on past the summit, but swinging away westwards from the fence line and down the steep slope until you meet another fence with a stile.

Cross over and start the ascent to the top of Ben Ever.

Ben Ever

Carry on down the other side of Ben Ever, and where the path splits, head down to the right and then join the Silver Glen track.

Carry on down the hill on that track.

Silver Glen Track

The track carries on towards Alva, finally starting to descend steeply in a series of hairpin bends.

Watch out on one of the left hand bends for the not very obvious entrance to the woodland path - slightly down the bank from the bend.

Entrance to the woodland

Part 5

Now follow the path through the woodland, until you come out onto a tarmac road.

Turn left and keep following the road which again turns into a path and crosses open fields.

Finally you pass a golf course on the right and emerge onto a tarmac road.  Head down the hill and turn left at the first junction where there is a way marker.

Then turn right and follow the road back across the stream to return to your start point.

The path first leads through woodland
The path leads through fields back to the start

 

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