The Ochil hills being within my county boundary, Scottish government regulations allowed local hillwalkers in my area to at least get out in their nearest mountains without limits this last winter.
As it happens, it was the best snow year in central Scotland for a decade, so I thank my lucky stars for some very memorable days up there in these beautiful and varied hills with their many glens, waterfalls and high moorland areas, serving as vast snowbowls in a good winter.
Craighorn is not one of the 2000ft/610mtr “Donalds” - as a lowland peak is defined here, unlike a highland peak of the same altitude which is called a “Graham”- but is a hill with a grand central position to view most of the highest tops and is a satisfying and varied route.
Parking in the official car park for Alva Glen (A (NS8844 9749)
), the path leads down to a metal bridge crossing the Alva burn and heads up towards the open hill, with the impressive waterfall off to your left. Go through the gate (B (NS8868 9756)
) and head NE across the slope, already fairly steep. The good but narrow track passes through another metal gate and shortly afterwards meets a large stony farmer's track, which is followed even more steeply up the east side of The Nebit until a separate track breaks off west (NS 8C (NS9036 9792)
). Follow this and it leads round to the west flank of the hill. The view up the glen opens up (see photo) and steep-sided Torry and beyond it the sudden outcrop of Bengengie are dominant as this good track is followed all the way up the glen. Shortly after a sharp turn SW and a short , steep descent and ascent, a gate is crossed and one leaves this track (D (NS87678 99813)
) to again start climbing up and over a series of small tops called The Cloves, before heading ENE toward a fenceline with a gate and stile. This route brings us round to the north of Craighorn by following the fenceline on the right until a gate is reached (NN 8E (NN8614 0054)
) and the easy remaining approach is clear, with a small cairn and a post for the top (583m).
After a stop for a view of the higher Ochils, as well as plenty of more distant peaks, a good descent is to carry on S and SW on the faint track which follows the long ridge of the south side of this hill back to the same track followed to ascend (F (NS88330 98769)
). Total walk-time approx 4-5 hours. Distance about 14k at a guess. Linkback: mountainviews.ie/summit/B7126/comment/22721/