During lockdown one of the things I really found I missed was heading out to walk up a hill. Once we were allowed out to play again we ended up walking up a few hills as a family, and Conic Hill was definitely one of our favourites.

The trail starts at the car park in Balmaha. You head up the hill firstly through some beautiful woodland. The trail at this point varies in grade but it’s not very tricky.

Then when you reach the gate at the end of the woods the entire hill opens up in front of you. The path gets a bit narrower at some points but it’s still doable for little legs.

Half way up (probably more – felt like this spot was nearer the top than the bottom) you’ll find a gorgeous spot for lunch with a view right over Loch Lomond. You’ll know where I mean when you see it! After this point the trail does start to get a bit more steep.

There may also be some random sheep wandering about too, just in case you have a dog who needs to be on lead around livestock! When you get almost to the very top you’ll have to scramble up the last bit over some loose rocks. Both kids managed it though the wee man needed a bit of help.

Those views from the top are so worth the climb. You can see for miles and you’re just surrounded by beautiful countryside on every front. You can also pretty much see the whole of Loch Lomond from the top. (I never really appreciated how big Loch Lomond actually is before!) It’s quite spectacular, especially on a sunny day.

Conic Hill was easy enough for us adults (obviously with some sweating) and the big kid. But it was more tricky for the wee man. He still did it, but he struggled a wee bit towards the top with sore legs. He did have enough energy to basically run back down the whole hill though (that magic Freddo bar at the top always works) so it was still doable for him.

The Stats

  • Total distance: 3.5km
  • Elevation: 250m
  • Duration: In total this walk took us about 2 hours, with stops for snacks and taking our time playing in the wee path-side waterfalls and down on the rocks by the river.
  • Difficulty: 3/10. This walk starts on an easy gradient but after you get out of the trees it is pretty steep, and a wee scramble at the top. The kids managed it but the 4 yr old needed a bit of help towards the top.

The Logistics

  • Wheels: There are a few bits with steps and the path has lots of loose stones the closer the top you get. This walk is not wheel friendly.
  • Parking: There’s plenty of parking for Conic Hill, but it can get quite busy so I’d advise heading out early if you’re planning on doing this walk. Take some change. The car parks around Stirling council are all £3 for the day, though if I remember correctly the one at Balmaha was still free. Note: If the car park is full, do not park on the road. You will block the road and you will definitely get a parking ticket.
  • Toilets: There are toilet facilities here.
  • Clothing: Dress for the weather. As with most tops of hills it is pretty exposed so take jumpers etc.
  • Dogs: Good for dogs.

The Location

Conic Hill is located in the beautiful little village of Balmaha in Stirlingshire. The car park is well signposted off the B837 and is really easy to find.

The Cost

Completely free.

The Verdict

Conic Hill has truly beautiful views overlooking Loch Lomond. On a clear day you can see for miles and miles. It is tricky for little legs towards the top with the loose stones, but it’s a great few hours out and the views make it well worth the trip.