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Ochil Hills, Tillicoultry, Ben Ever, Ben Cleuch, The Law, Clackmannanshire, Scotland.
[10.6 km]  Thu 02 Aug 2018

Lat/Long: 56.156040, -03.749129
OS Grid ref: NS 91452 97307

Heading to Scotland in the car to do some walking. Left home around 6:45 a.m. and drove north along the M6 through very dismal weather of rain and spray. Be gloomy weather continued all the way into Scotland and the M74. I continued along the M9 towards Sterling and left at exit 10 and drove to the car park of the Wallace Monument. I was hoping to walk up to the monument but the car park was nearly full and there were too many people around.

Converted Old Mill, Tillicoultry
I left the car park and drove to Tillicoultry to start my first walk. I drove up to Upper Mill Street where there are marked parking spaces along the road. The rain had stopped but there was still low cloud and I couldn't see any of the hills. I'd originally planned a walk to take in The Law, Ben Cleuch and Kings Seat. However, rain was forecast for around 4 p.m. and as the hills were shrouded in cloud I decided to go for the standard circular walk over Ben Cleuch. I set off up the road passing the Old Mill which is now tastefully converted into flats. Through a small park area I followed a path up Mill Glen which is very well made with occasional gates and dense trees either side. The glen is deep and narrow and becomes more impressive as I climbed higher. A lot of work has gone into making the path safe and several bridges cross the river and then a series of staircases are made out of wood. These have been very well engineered into the rock face and I could see many steel bolts holding the base walkway crossings.
Walkways through the deep glen
I came to a junction in the track where the standard route is up to the right and heads up The Law. However several walkers had already gone that way so I decided to do the walk in a clockwise Direction and took the left branch. Part of the path was through deep ferns and the recent rain meant I got my trousers wet. It didn't last long and as I gained altitude the dense undergrowth thinned out. For a short way the path passed the edge of a huge disused quarry and I was able to look down into a massive area that have been excavated in the past. Further up the path joined a rough track which zig zag up the hill side towards Rough Knowles. The low cloud seemed to be clearing a bit and I could see across to The Law and some walkers heading up the very steep ridge. Out to the southwest were excellent views towards Stirling and the river. As I gained altitude I could see the views opening up to Ben Ever. I couldn't see Ben Cleuch yet as it was still in cloud. The path was easy under foot and as I approached then ever another path came up from the left presumably from Silver Glen. Ben ever was the first main summit I reached and I could see the law across to the east but Ben Cleuch was still hidden in cloud. There was a short descent to a saddle which I followed down to a fence and over a style to start my climb to the main summit. As I headed up parallel to the fence I met some walkers coming down.

Ben Cleuch summit (721m), Ochil Hills, Clackmannanshire
 The summit of Ben Cleuch appeared before me with a party of walkers grouped together by the information board and taking a picture in the mist. As I got closer I could see a trig post and a stone wall for Shelter. The group seemed to be school children with two female walkers leading them. As I got to the summit the weather started to clear and one woman asked the way I'd come. I'd seen them earlier climbing the traditional route via The Law and told her I'd come the other way round in a clockwise direction. When I told them my route was straightforward and easy they decided to continue and complete their descent following the way I'd come up. The descent to The Law started with an easy route down to a saddle and then a gentle climb up to The Law at 639 m.

East view from The Law
 I stopped here for a while as the views to the east had cleared and I could see a very interesting mountain range in that direction. The reason the route is normally done anticlockwise is the climb up The Law from Mill Glen is extremely steep and much safer when climbing upwards. I now had to descend the very steep ridge and take care on the grassy sections that I didn't slip. The descent turned out to be easier than Id feared and the last section down by the river was a short scramble over rock. Over a foot bridge a steep climb up was assisted with steel handrails. I was on the main path which then descended down to the valley bottom where I joined the route I'd followed on the way up. I was able to see the staircases in good light as I continued my descent. It is a very impressive glen and must have cost a huge amount of money to install the various bridges and staircases. I returned to my car.