Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Friday 17 February - The Covenanters’ Glen and West Lomond Hill


West Lomond Hill

The traverse of the three Lomond Hills, West and East Lomond plus Bishop Hill gives a good day out, the Cairngorms being visible on a clear day. The group is easily accessed from various locations and today we took the minor road from Balgeddie to the small car park a short distance from the start of the walk. 

JKP (2)

Ahead on the left lies the sandstone outcrop known as John Knox’s Pulpit. It is said that local people in favour of the Reformation (Covenanters) gathered here in secret and that an angel with a drawn sword appeared above the Pulpit to protect the minister.

The protection needed today was from large blocks of sandstone precariously balanced on top of the outcrop and there were many signs of rockfall. I just had to have a look so made my way up and onto the platform.

The loose rocks can be seen at the top

John Knox's Pulpit
Precarious rocks above John Knox Pulpit
Shattered rock above the Pulpit

The rock was too greasy to risk going into the Pulpit.

Probably freeze-thaw action has caused the rocks to shear from the hillside. The same fate no doubt awaited the short rock wall I was standing next to, perhaps not imminently, but nonetheless I beat a hasty retreat.

Glen Vale is an attractive valley with its minature waterfalls, rock pools and white calciferous sandstone outcrops.

The Devil's Burdens

It's an easy climb from here to West Lomond's 522m summit passing the Devil's Burdens. The Devil's Burden Relay Race involving 34km and 1250 m of ascent takes place every winter (12 January this year) the record time for men being : 2:22:57 and for women 2:50:36 (both in 2011).

Lynne beside one of  the Devil's Burdens

 As we arrived at the cairn in the mist and rain so did a solitary walker from the Falkland side, the most popular approach. We exchanged greetings and while he took advantage of what little shelter there was available, we sought lower ground for our lunch.

..and on the summit

Here's the route and some numbers.


  1. Great stuff. I like photo 3 and 4. Looks a bit nippy on top.
    What are you using for your route mapping pic.

  2. Hi Alan and thanks. I use Memory-Map and the map shown is the result of transferring the track from SatMap(using satsync)which is coverted to a route on Memory-Map and which I've converted back to a track! I think. Memory-Map shows every red dot on the track created by SatMap as blue waypoints and as a result the route becomes a mass of blue dots.

    Sorry you asked now aren't you?

    I hope all this makes sense - I've just finished the last Maplemoon after a day out in the Ochils and I'm not due back in Perth anytime soon. Woe is me!

  3. Thats great. It's always interesting to know what other use.
    Your becoming a techno wizz.

    Oh dear. No Maplemoon. Call 999 it sounds like an emergency. Lol.

  4. "techno wizz". Let's not get carried away here!

    1. Despite not being in the best tradition of Phreerunner, or 'sent using Blackberry' - this looks very good. I'll perhaps be taking advice re the Satmap from one of you two 'techno-wizzes' in the near future. Aren't these gadgets fun!

    2. Thanks Martin. However, I'm at a loss to understand why the SatMap trip log shows the straight line distance about 5km longer than the total distance! Never happened before. Not so much a 'techno-wizz' after all!

    3. I see what you mean Gibson. I hadn't got further than wondering how you got the Satmap data image so neatly into your posting. I'll have to have another go at learning to use the Satmap when I get home...

    4. You can take a screen shot by pressing the Backlight boost button and holding for 3 seconds and then transfer to the PC using Satsync. It's then uploaded to the blog in the normal way.

      The 'straight line distance' error has never happened before!

    5. Thanks Gibson.
      Back home now - amazing how quickly you get behind when the daily routine of blogging on the move no longer needs to be observed!

  5. Mm. Interesting that straight line distance. Can't say that i have noticed it.
    It doesn't look right does it.
    If it was my "walk" stats i would email Satmap technical bods with the map and the satmap image and ask what they think.

    1. As I say above Alan, this has never happened before. I'll wait to to see if it occurs on the next walk and take it from there. Odd though.

  6. it looks great! :)
    some day we will come to scottland again..

    1. Hi Magdalena

      If you visit again, head to the North West if you've not been before.