This must be one of the most popular little hillwalks in Scotland. It’s easy to find and reasonably easy to climb. There is some effort involved, but not for too long, and you’re rewarded by a great view from the top (on a clear day). There are no hazards, if you are reasonably fit.
I had walked up the hill with my wife Maggie a couple of years ago, but this time I was going to run up it from the Crieff Hydro Hotel, where we were staying for the weekend in January 2006. However, I wasn’t sure quite where to access the route (I should have asked at the hotel reception), and ended up going the long way round! Instead of walking the short distance from the hotel entrance to the path up the hill (see below) I ran down through the hotel grounds to Ewanfield Road leading up from the town centre. Continuing onto Ferntower Road, the next road back up the hill on the right was the Knock Road – and I turned up there.
If you’re walking up from the town centre, this is the way to go, up Ferntower Road (to the right of the Drummond Arms Hotel) and then you can’t go wrong.
Ferntower Road is steep at first – the steepest part of the route! Bear left up Knock Road, continue ahead onto the track and across a small road, through a gate then straight up through a field, with the Crieff Hydro hotel grounds to the right. Ahead again, along a new roadway passing the self-catering lodges, up to another minor road. Across here, you’ll see the information panels for the Knock walk, and the Hosh walk. These tie in with the Crieff Walks Leaflet available from the Tourist Information Centre. (You can park here if you want a shorter walk). Continue ahead again, up the broad ridge through woodland to the top of the hill. It’s not a steep climb, but a steady one. There are various other trails heading off around the hill, but it’s easy enough to follow the main route to the top.
Return to the top
The flat hilltop boasts an impressive viewpoint indicator, pointing out the many summits visible from here. Ben Chonzie is prominent to the north-west. On this visit, the late winter afternoon light was already fading, so the photos don’t do it justice (see panorama below).
To go down, you can make your way straight back the same way, if you’re in a hurry. For a variation on the way down, walk over the short distance to the south-eastern side of the hill top (opposite direction to Ben Chonzie) passing a prominent broad-topped pine tree on your left, to join a trail which runs along the flank of the hill. Turn right along here and it takes you back to the road near the hotel lodges – with some good views along the way, looking down to Crieff and Strathearn.
For a slightly longer walk, continue north-east along the broad ridge of the hill, towards the forested northern end. The track runs down to a col – a low point on the ridge. From here you can turn right to join the trail which is described above.
I continued on along the ridge into the forest, and the first section of this was pretty muddy, showing signs that it was used for driving in 4x4 vehicles. Then it became a narrower track between tightly packed conifers, up to the top of the hill (but still surrounded by trees) and down to a forest road on the end of the ridge. I followed this round to the left – it was pretty boring, just a wide forest road with no views other than trees, but easier walking than the trail along the ridge. When a track led off uphill again to the left, I took it, back into the forest, then out and along the ridge again to the col.
Return to the top
If you’re out for a run as I was, it doesn’t really matter if you retrace your steps – I ran back up to the viewpoint on the first summit, and back along some of the other tracks. It’s a great little hill for walking, jogging, and some “hill work” for the more serious runners, right on the doorstep of the hotel.
For the easier access from the hotel, leave by the main doors, walk across to the left, onto a hotel road (with a path built up on the right side of it - see photo) which swings out to the gate leading into the field and the track up the hill.
If you want to take the quieter path along the flank on your way up, follow the earlier directions as far as the upper road. From the information boards by the road, continue up the wide main track, go through an open area, approaching trees again and a couple of benches, and look out for a track off to the right through the trees (see photo). This joins a wider trail coming up from the road, and continues along the flank of the hill. After another 10 minutes’ walking, you’ll see a large pine tree on the left with a track leading off past it, up to the summit just beyond.
Return to the top
< Back to Scotland page with links to other walks
< Back to Crieff and Strathearn intro page
Glen Lednock Circular Walk >
Ben Vorlich and Stuic a Chroin >
Contributed by Andrew Llanwarne
Return to top
Just above the upper road, where the main route goes straight on and a narrow trail turns to the right, skirting the flank of the hill then reaching the top
People leaving the top just as I arrived!
For the view from the top, see the panorama below
The trail leading to the forested northern end of the hill
The track leading back along the flank
of the hill
Looking down on Crieff - better on a sunny day!
Take this little road from Crieff Hydro main door