The Walk up Conic Hill, Balmaha

The Trek and Run Team backpacked around Scotland for three weeks in the summer of 2014. We were supported on our journey by the following companies, who provided the resources we needed to make the best of our time there.

To begin our first Scottish adventure we travelled from London to Glasgow by the Scotrail Sleeper (find out more about this service here) and then onto Millarochy Bay on the shores of Loch Lomond by local train and boat (Sweeney’s Cruises, find our more here). Once at Millarochy Bay we took this short half day walk up Conic Hill to give us a short introduction to local hill walking before we started north on the West Highland Way. Here’s a photo account of it. There’s not much to tell by way of description as it’s a very easy walk. Conic Hill looks quite imposing from Millarochy Bay campsite, or from the village of Balmaha, but in reality the path up it is gradual and very well trodden as it’s part of the West Highland Way. You’d struggle to loose your way on it.

We started out from the campsite at Millarochy Bay.

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From there it was a flat, beautiful thirty to forty minute walk along the shore of Loch Lomond, following the West Highland Way.

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Once in the village of Balmaha the path to Conic Hill begins just behind the Information Centre. You really can’t miss it, but if you do just ask at the centre, the staff will point it out to you.

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You climb first through thick forest. As you can see, the path is wide and not steep, with occasional steps.

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Then you pass through a cattle gate and you’re out of the forest. There’s only one way to go now, up. Don’t think that this makes it a daunting climb though. Many families and people of all ages and sizes were walking to the summit. It’s one of the easiest summits to reach in Scotland I’d say, and certainly one of the most scenic. You get fine views almost immediately and they get better as you rise.

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In the photo below you can see Conic Hill in the distance, to the left. That’s what you are aiming for.

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It’s worth reaching the summit, of course, but if you want the best views over the islands and the famous faultline of Loch Lomond (read more about that here) then the lower summit nearer the loch offers that. It’s an easy five minute walk from Conic Hill summit.

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It was a fine day when we visited. It took us about an hour to walk from the visitors centre to the summit, where we ate our pack up lunch before walking back down again. We’d have stayed longer but for two things; it was windy and also, we wanted to swim in the loch (the loch was a lovely 18 degrees when we were there in July; perfect for swimming). The walk down is quick and easy, and you have those amazing views ahead of you to  keep your eyes occupied.

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Here’s me back at Millarochy Bay campsite, taking a well earned swim, with the summit of Conic Hill in the background. As I said at the start of the article is does look far from the campsite but in reality it’s only a couple of hours walk at most.

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