Autumnal Dawdle With A View

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pocket mountains duncryne

Courtesy of Pocket Mountains

This is a short walk up a little hill, but the outlook is truly world class and should definitely be saved for a clear day. Duncryne (or the Dumpling, as it is known locally) was a favourite of Tom Weir, the climber, author and broadcaster, who used to live below it. Only when you reach the top of the volcanic plug is the view of Loch Lomond revealed, the backdrop of mountains arranged as if by design to make the scene all the more enchanting.

From the centre of Gartocharn head up Duncryne Road to the left of the House of Darrach, a mix of womenswear, gifts and a coffee shop. After 750m go left through a wooden kissing gate next to a large metal gate to enter woodland.

Follow the path to the edge of fields and then through two gates. 

A further path, often muddy, leads up towards Duncryne, between two fences. Go through another gate at the end of this path and turn right before taking a looping trail round to the left (ignore a path to the right higher up) to reach the trig point at the top of the hill.     

This is a place to linger – don’t rush back down before savouring the view, one of the best in all of Scotland. Weather permitting, take a picnic to enjoy on the large grassy area at the top. You are actually standing on all that remains of a long-extinct volcano. This plug is hardened magma and all the other rock has been eroded over millennia. 

Looking over Loch Lomond, you can see islands ranged along the line of the Highland Boundary Fault, which divides the Highlands from the Lowlands. The loch contains 22 islands and 27 islets in total The late broadcaster and mountaineer Tom Weir lived in Gartocharn for many years with his wife, Rhona, and extolled the virtues of this hill, which he regularly climbed. Despite having made ascents of famous peaks across the world from the Highlands to the Himalayas, it remained one of his favourite summits. It is also said he once broke his leg coming back from Duncryne – not on the rocks but climbing over his garden fence!

To get back to the start, simply return the way you came as the hill is surrounded by farmland, often occupied by cattle.

pocketmountains.com

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