Scottish walks: Tinto

Tinto

Tinto

Share this article
0
Have your say

A distinct and most accessible hill situated five miles south-west of Biggar, Tinto lies on the edge of the Southern Upland Boundary Fault, yet is separated from the main range of the Southern Uplands by the valley of the River Clyde.

Indeed the infant Clyde, meandering round Tinto’s eastern flanks, could, albeit with some imagination, give the impression of a large moat beneath the hill’s prominent conical summit. Oddly enough the main line railway and the A73 trunk road are scarcely conspicuous.

Enhanced by an enormous cairn, the summit is mapped as The Dimple, probably a euphemism for nipple. Dating from 3500 years ago and measuring 43 metres in diameter and almost 6m in height, it is one of the largest Bronze Age burial cairns in Scotland and designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Legend has it that Tinto was an important Druidic ceremonial site where fires were lit in honour of Baal, their sun god, hence the name “Hill of Fire”. Tinto’s name probably comes from the Gaelic teinnteach, meaning fiery. Tinto is formed from an intrusion of felsite, a red coloured igneous rock which can be seen exposed on the upper slopes and lower down on an eroded section of the track. It is less likely that the felsite rock could be the origin of fiery.

There is some confusion about the actual height of Tinto. The OS map gives a height of 707m/2319ft presumably referring to the trig point which lies at the base of The Dimple and thus, not being enhanced by the man-made cairn, the actual height of the hill. The summit of the cairn is deemed to be 711m/2333ft.

My first memory of Tinto is of a weekend’s stay at Wiston Lodge. I recall running up and down Tinto via Pap Craig before breakfast – well, it was a long time ago. Members of Tinto Hill Runners, a local running club, may well enjoy the rigours of charging uphill, but it is a steadier gait for pedestrians.

Map Ordnance Survey map 72, Upper Clyde Valley

Distance 4 miles

Height 500m

Terrain Broad track to summit cone

Start point Fallburn car park, map ref 964374, off the A72

Time 2½ to 3 hours

Nearest town Biggar

Refreshment spot Aroma Coffee House, 88 High Street, Biggar

A distinct and most accessible hill situated five miles south-west of Biggar, Tinto lies on the edge of the Southern Upland Boundary Fault, yet is separated from the main range of the Southern Uplands by the valley of the River Clyde. Indeed the infant Clyde, meandering round Tinto’s eastern flanks, could, albeit with some imagination, give the impression of a large moat beneath the hill’s prominent conical summit. Oddly enough the main line railway and the A73 trunk road are scarcely conspicuous.

Enhanced by an enormous cairn, the summit is mapped as The Dimple, probably a euphemism for nipple. Dating from 3500 years ago and measuring 43 metres in diameter and almost 6m in height, it is one of the largest Bronze Age burial cairns in Scotland and designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Legend has it that Tinto was an important Druidic ceremonial site where fires were lit in honour of Baal, their sun god, hence the name “Hill of Fire”. Tinto’s name probably comes from the Gaelic teinnteach, meaning fiery. Tinto is formed from an intrusion of felsite, a red coloured igneous rock which can be seen exposed on the upper slopes and lower down on an eroded section of the track. It is less likely that the felsite rock could be the origin of fiery.

There is some confusion about the actual height of Tinto. The OS map gives a height of 707m/2319ft presumably referring to the trig point which lies at the base of The Dimple and thus, not being enhanced by the man-made cairn, the actual height of the hill. The summit of the cairn is deemed to be 711m/2333ft.

My first memory of Tinto is of a weekend’s stay at Wiston Lodge. I recall running up and down Tinto via Pap Craig before breakfast – well, it was a long time ago. Members of Tinto Hill Runners, a local running club, may well enjoy the rigours of charging uphill, but it is a steadier gait for pedestrians.

Back to the top of the page