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Lewis Hill

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Though this is a short walk it rewards with a bigger impact than its size suggests; Lewis Hill, though a mere 266 metres in height, is on an escarpment overlooking the North Third Reservoir to the west, while there are good views of the bigger hills to the north. To the south lies the Firth of Forth, with the "eternal" flame at Grangemouth, the bridges, and the Pentland hills as a backdrop. The summit is the highest point of a volcanic edge running north-south in the Touch Hills, just south-west of Stirling.

Ten minutes' drive away from the M9/M80, this area is readily accessible from the major urban centres, though the maze of minor roads protecting it will require some map reading. Best approached from Bannockburn. Parking space for several cars at a small layby several hundred metres south of the Reservoir (don't block the forestry road). Cross the road and take the obvious path through the wood. One recurring pleasure on this walk is the plant life; from old pines and beeches, down to bluebells and primroses in the spring. The gorge bounding the ridge on the north is very ferny.

The path winds gently through the forest, with a viewpoint indicated on the left about ten minutes into the walk. Emerging from the initial wood the start of the ridge is apparent, with boggy ground on the left leading to the water's edge. The escarpment is very open to the gales, and wind-trained pines lie at amazing angles on the cliff edge. This is private forestry, and some good management is apparent, with dead trees often having a young replacement adjacent.

The forestry fence is away from the cliff edge, which soon allows super views of the Reservoir. Lewis Hill's trig point looms up ahead, as does views of Highland hills. While it is possible to make a round walk, this really needs two cars for convenience. Best to return the way you came. If you wish to continue, note that the shore is not a safe or easy option for a return route. Continue north along the ridge until it drops down into a gorge via a newly-built zig-zag trail then go left to walk below the dam and so reach the road on the west side of the reservoir. A couple of kilometres south along this returns one to the starting point.


Maps: OS Sheet 57 'Stirling & The Trossachs'
Distance: 2.5 km
Ascent: 80m
Time: 2 hours
Food & Drink: Pirnhill Inn (GR 804 893)


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