IT’S not hard to understand why the Campbells based themselves near Dollar. The 15th-century stronghold of Castle Campbell stands defiant above a a deep gorge – making advancing enemies easy to spot.
Nowadays, the advantages of this place are the views. Looking out over the Forth Valley, often shrouded in mist on winter mornings, the Lowlands are laid out before you. Behind lie the Ochil Hills.
On the morning I left the castle behind, the weather was not looking great – the thermometer was near zero and dark clouds loomed. Walking above the little gorge that carries the wonderfully named Burn of Care, great big snowflakes started to drift down.
With my waterproofs doing their job, I strolled along Glen Quey and down to the welcoming Tormaukin Inn – some may decide this hostelry is as far as they want to go. To walk just one way, you will probably need two cars – there is a bus linking Glendevon to Dollar but it is infrequent.
DISTANCE: 4 miles (one way).
HEIGHT CLIMBED: 560ft (one way) TIME: 2-2½ hours (one way).
MAP OS: Landranger 58.
PARKING: From the centre of Dollar, follow brown signs for Castle Campbell. Once on the steep Castle Road, ignore a car park on the right and carry on for 500 yards to find spaces marked out on the right. (You may want to use the lower car park if the road is icy.)
IN SUMMARY: Continue past the car park and, at a fork next to a cottage, go right (left to Castle Campbell). The path swings right above the Burn of Care to reach a gate. Go through and follow a track through felled forestry. Keep on the main track, which bears left, and follow a green and white marker at a junction. At the end of the track, go through a gate and cross marshy ground to reach a path, where you go right.
The path continues, through a metal gate, by forestry and rocky outcrops. This chasm is the high point of the walk. Beyond, cross two stiles and a bridge and go through a gate to Glen Quey. Continue by a reservoir to reach a sign, where you go straight on to reach a gate, then a stile. Cross another stile and skirt a field past a farmhouse to reach another gate.
At a sign, go right to get to another gate. Further on, go through a metal gate and follow a minor road. Once over a stone bridge, go left, following a sign for Auchterarder. Cross a field to reach a bridge over the River Devon. Beyond this, climb steps to a road – the A823 – and go right to reach Tormaukin Inn. Retrace your steps to return to the start.
REFRESHMENTS: A great place is Tormaukin Inn, in Glendevon, and there plenty of places in Dollar, such as the Castle Campbell Hotel.
WHILE IN THE AREA: Castle Campbell (www.historic-scotland.gov.uk) is worth a visit – but note that it is closed on Thursdays and Fridays in winter.