ICE and snow meant that the road which would have taken us to our intended walk was impassable when we attempted to drive up it. Undeterred, if a little shaken by the slipping and sliding which led us to this conclusion, an alternative was quickly sought.
When we got to the pretty village of Falkland, time was marching on (as it always seems to in the short days of winter) but there was a great option towering above us.
The fresh snow made East Lomond luminous as we entered the woodland below, and with the crunch of the white stuff under our feet it was obvious this was no “second best” hill.
It is only 1,391 feet high, not even as big as its near neighbour, West Lomond, but this little hill really packs a punch, especially the last pull to the top which leaves most lungs properly exercised.
The rewards, however, are great as the views on a clear day extend right across Scotland then south to the Southern Uplands and north to the Highlands.
So if you want a truly great way to spend a couple of hours, East Lomond will fit the bill.
DISTANCE 2∫ miles.
HEIGHT CLIMBED 1,250ft.
TIME 1∫ to 2∫ hours.
MAP OS Landranger 58 and 59.
PARK There is plenty of parking in the centre of Falkland.
IN SUMMARY Leave the centre of Falkland by going up Cross Wynd, which starts at the Bruce Fountain. At the top of the road follow a track into woodland, keeping right when a track goes left to a cottage. Shortly after this go left, up steps which lead you to a path past a Scottish Water plant.
Keep going uphill and at the next junction go straight ahead, following a sign for “Footpath to Lomond Hills”. After a few hundred yards a series of steps lead up to the top of the woodland and a gate. Go through this to reach open hillside and follow a path to the right which heads straight for the obvious dome of East Lomond ahead.
The path leads to a gate and on the other side a steep clamber awaits. You can go straight up the hillside in front of you or head left before turning right for an easier gradient. Either way leads to the view indicator at the summit. And the views really are excellent – from Arthur’s Seat, across the Firth of Forth, to the south, to Highland Perthshire and Angus, across the Firth of Tay, to the north.
There are many paths around here, but if the aim of the day is a short winter walk up to a great point then the best option is to return the way you came.
REFRESH There are a number of places in Falkland.
WHILE YOU ARE IN THE AREA Falkland Palace, in the centre of the village, is a Renaissance building once used by the Stuart monarchs, but it is not open until March (www.nts.org.uk). Alternatively, head for the RSPB’s Loch Leven reserve visitor centre on the south shore of the loch. There are a number of hides (non-members have to pay) and an observation room. It has a good café as well (www.rspb.org.uk).