Little Miss Outdoors and her hill walking pal on top of
Conic Hill with Loch Lomond stretching out below
Conic Hill, at Balmaha, is the perfect family walking spot. I’ve walked this hill more times than I can recall and every time it has been a success. From children as young as six to a mum with a baby on her back, from small dogs to impatient dads, and from the reasonably unfit to the really rather fit, everyone I’ve taken to this beautiful location over looking Loch Lomond has been thrilled by the outing.
On Sunday I enjoyed another trip, this time with the G-Force, Little Miss Outdoors, a pal of LMO, plus the family Arnison/Seel/Lowry (including two boys, mum and baby on board).
Here are a few reasons why it’s such a good hill:
* With a summit of only 350m the total outing adds up to enough of an adventure for the average child or adult – but not too much of an exhausting expedition.
* The effort to reach the top is far superseded by the wonderful views across Loch Lomond and some of the grander mountains of southern Scotland.
* While there are a couple of steepish sections few people will be daunted and at times there even helpful steps created to make the going easier.
* There is an “over-halfway” point that offers fabulous views along Loch Lomond and a hint at the promise of even better views from the top.
* There is enough of a view of the “almost-summit” to con the children that “we’re nearly there now”.
* The almost-summit is in fact very close to the actual summit and requires only a few more minutes of uphill plodding to reach.
* There is plenty of mud for keeping little boys happy.
* There are trickling rivers for cleaning off little boys on the way back down.
* Sometimes, if it’s quiet enough, you’ll glimpse exciting wildlife, such as snakes.
* The car park at the bottom is huge (lots of people come here) and there’s a good children’s play area. There are also toilets.
* The trail up and down Conic Hill is on the West Highland Way and so you often meet and pass friendly hikers with big packs on their backs. It makes your smaller pack filled with chocolate, sweeties and juice seem oh-so-nothing in comparison.
* You only need a few bars of chocolate/sweeties to bribe the kids on a short hill outing such as this.
* Finally, but in most people’s eyes, most importantly, The Oak Tree Inn opposite the car park offers a great range of cakes for a post-walk snack and also a reasonable lunch and evening meal menu. Plus pints of refreshing beer! They welcome folk with muddy boots, too, which was helpful seeing as we had two mucky boys with us by the end of our lovely afternoon hill stroll!