Hiking With Kids - Conic Hill



Where is it?


This is where it is

Conic Hill is situated at Balmaha and is part of the West Highland Way. The hill itself is only 360m in height and can be easily walked in a few hours. From the top you get wonderful views of Loch Lomond and its islands. From Glasgow, travel north via the A81 towards Drymen. The journey takes about an hour. There is a bus service, the 309 from Balloch to Balmaha. Balloch can be reached by train from Glasgow Queen Street station. The journey by public transport can be as long as 2 hours. 


The most convenient start for Conic Hill is at the main car park at Balmaha. The car park is large but fills up fast, especially in the warmer months. It is best to park here before 11am as you may struggle to find a space any later than this.  The car park also has a small tourist / ranger office with a toilet. There is a 30p cost for this, and it closes at 4.30pm. There is a local shop and the Beech Tree pub that serves good lunches and dinners. 

Where to Go

The walk starts at the far corner of the car park, opposite the play park. Take the right turn and follow the track through the woods. A couple of hundred yards and take a left turn and the junction, you will see the West Highland Way marker, and continue the gradual ascent. There are some wooden steps that have been placed to help, that smaller legs might find tricky. After 15 minutes you should come to the top of the tree section where you go through a wooden gate. The path is quite obvious and there are more steps cut into the path to help with the climb. these steps continue over a wee stream and then the real work begins. The track leading up can be muddy, even in summer. Please note that there could also be livestock that wander the lower parts of the hill. Last year we came across a group of highland cows passively watching these strange humans clamber all over the hill.

Cows

The track is wide, obvious and starts to get steeper. For seasoned hill walkers this won't be too much of a challenge, but it may take children a little longer to reach the summit. The final accent is steep, narrow, rocky and  thankfully not too long. Be careful with your foot placement as it can also be slippery. This hill can be quite popular, especially on good days, so that part of the hill can be very busy.

Near the top

Lots of walkers

The views at the top are worth it for the splendid views across Loch Lomond.

View From The Top
It is best to follow the same path back down the hill. We decided to walk down another way, across the smaller hill tops but this isn't best suited to small children. The descent drops sharply and the rocks can be wet and slippery.

This is a good walk for people of all ages. The 2.5 mile route only takes a few hours to complete. There is a bonus of Balmaha to look around once you've completed your walk. 

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