A FIRST outing of the New Year usually has to be two things for me – interesting enough to resist the pull of more revels and easy enough to mean the festivities just enjoyed will not have too much of an impact.
The line of crags above Callander suit both these criteria well. The view from the top is impressive, taking in mountains of the southern Highlands as well as the Lowlands stretching away in the other direction.
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The way up is steep enough in places to bring a little huffing and puffing, but not so long you will be wishing you hadn’t had so many mince pies.
The usual path up Callander Craig is closed by fallen trees at the moment – the Forestry Commission promises to re-open it by spring. But you can still get up to the top and one of the more impressive hilltop cairns to be found in Scotland thanks to a signed diversion.
So pack a flask and enjoy the views from the top of this great little hill.
DISTANCE 3 miles.
HEIGHT CLIMBED 850ft.
TIME 1∫ to 2 hours.
MAP OS Landranger 57.
PARK Station Road Car Park is behind the Dreadnought Hotel, off the main road in the centre of Callander.
IN SUMMARY Looking away from Callander, towards Callander Craig, head to the far left side of the car park. At the end, cross a residential road and turn left. After about 40 yards go right, following a sign for “Crags Path”.
On reaching a large, green Forestry Commission sign go right (the usual route up – currently closed – is to the left). The path climbs up through mixed woodland. At the top of some widely spaced steps – before a wooden footbridge – go left, up a path with red waymarkers at the bottom. This leads up through the trees and after a sharp right hand turn levels off. Look for a path going up to the left, next to a Forestry Commission diversion sign (you can’t read the sign on approach).
The path climbs steeply through the woodland, eventually reaching the foot of the crags, where it turns right. A little further on go left, up stone steps, which lead through a gap in the crags.
At the top go right to cross a wooden footbridge and then continue on the ridge of Callander Craig to reach Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee Cairn at the top. This was originally erected by Malcolm Ferguson of Callander in 1897 but rebuilt 100 years later.
This summit is just 1,125 feet but enjoys great views; Ben Vorlich and Ben Ledi rise up to the north with the Trossachs and Loch Venachar lying to the west.
REFRESH There is a good choice in Callander, and Mhor Fish is one of the best chip shops (eat in and takeaway) in Scotland.
WHILE YOU ARE IN THE AREA
South along the A84 is the 14th-century Doune Castle. A historic setting used as a film set for Monty Python And The Holy Grail, and US science fiction series Outlander (www.historic-scotland.gov.uk).
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