Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Monday 3 February - Easter Downhill, 361m OS map 58

Easter Downhill from Castlehill Reservoir (February 2019). Castle Hill is an alternative name for the hill. 
A warm balmy Spring day wandering among the hills north of Glendevon village eventually landed us on the 361m summit of Easter Downhill.

That was in 1991 and with us was the latest member of the family: Mist, our Border Collie, rescued six months earlier in a poor state from a farm not far from where we stood. Now healthy and strong, two months later she would climb her first Munros with us on a backpacking trip in Knoydart. That left us one Munro to do, Sgurr Dubh Mòr on Skye which involves scrambling, so we were on our own unfortunately.

Though dry, it was far from balmy when we pulled into the small parking area below Lendrick Hill and, with perfect timing, the forecast rain blew in just as we were putting on our waterproofs. Cameras were stuffed into rucksacks, waterproof (?) covers atta, taken off again to get gloves, car keys dropped in the mud. But no matter, it was good to be out in some rough weather and heading for a top again.

A short walk along the road took us to the farm road to Downhill and the open exposed hillside. The wind battered away at us, sleet showers swept in and just as quickly pushed through, my waterproof rucksack cover blew off, was retrieved, re-attached, blew off again so returned to its zipped pouch. We enjoyed it all.

Lendrick Hill from the top of Eater Downhill.

Castlehill Reservoir  and Seamab Hill 

Distant middle - Whitewisp Hill,  and right Innerdownnie Hill

On the summit, we remembered the day back in 1991, took some photos and Lynne briefly reacquainted herself with the remains of the hillfort, but it was no place to hang about so we departed downwards towards a stand of Scots Pines where lunch could be had in relative calm.

Mellock Hill from our tea break spot. First of the local hills to be threatened by wind farms in early 2002 (I think),  a campaign stopped the development but even more inappropriate locations in the Ochils were chosen instead.
We found a sunny spot with a good view to Mellock Hill and enjoyed a brief halt to enjoy a cup of Lapsang Souchong and a biscuit. Our plan to walk directly back to the farm track was soon abandoned as we sank into the sodden ground. Some may remember that my left Achilles tendon is troubled by wearing boots so I was wearing trail shoes which of course failed to keep my feet dry in such conditions. Lynne's boots performed no better so we ascended some way back up Easter Downhill to escape the worst of the quagmire, dropped to a gate and so to the track.

Heading uphill a bit to escape the bog
The weather was now blustery and invigorating so we decided to continue towards Downhill Farm and have a look at the Castlehill Reservoir dam where we reckoned the overflow would be quite spectacular. The start of the path to the dam is waymarked but obviously not used very much, probably because there is limited parking on the B934 and most people (tourists rather than walkers) use the route near Nether Auchlinsky on the A823.

Approaching Castlehill reservoir with weather closing in again

Plunging to the River Devon to join the River Forth

The photo doesn't capture the overflow's display of power, though a video taken with the iPhone does better.
On our return journey we noticed some rusting farm machinery - cultivators - in a field. They had been manufactured by Nicholson of Newark around 1906-1920, perhaps earlier, and unlike old rusting cars found in similar locations their presence didn't jar.

A route by the pines (not the ones where we had tea) looks like an ideal walk on a summer's evening

A nasty chest infection kept me housebound for a large part of January so it was a great relief to
be on a hill again. I did manage to finish my latest model, the Apollo 11 Command and Service Module so the month was not completely wasted.

Our 1991 route as I remember it, minus the Green Knowes Windfarm

Today's route

Sent from my iPhone


  1. I tried to post this comment earlier so it may be duplicated.
    I have a photo folder titled "Relics'" Your fabulous rusty machinery would certainly qualify but I am restricting to my own discoveries only with certain other parameters, one being that they must be in isolated or unusual locations, not just in the corner of a farmyard. Good to read of you being out and about.

  2. Hi Conrad - Success. It was good of you to leave a message on voicemail which quite took me by surprise. I thought it easier to give you email addresses by text which I hope you now have, but I hope some time we can actually speak on the 'phone.

    The machinery was well away from the farm but the location could not be described as remote. A couple of errors in the post have been corrected by Lynne.