Dollar Glen

By Colin Hogarth

Lurking beneath the rounded summits of the Ochil Hills is Dollar Glen, a deep, leafy gorge that is almost equatorial in appearance. Fifteenth century Castle Campbell crowns the valley and below waterfalls tumble over moss-carpeted rocks. The walk rises through the glen, then strikes out over open moorland, providing a spectacular contrast to the early part of the route.

From the main street through Dollar, East and West Burnside run parallel either side of the Dollar Burn up to a narrow stone bridge in front of the local museum. Between the museum, and the golf clubhouse on the left, a small path continues up the burn to Mill Green. At the top end of the park, a stone cairn and information board are reached.

Two paths go up the glen from here, one on either side of the burn. The route on the east side is officially closed due to an unsafe bridge but is by far the most interesting, a series of paths, steps and wooden boardwalks twisting along the base of the glen, passing through a dark, atmospheric cliff-lined gorge where the Burn of Sorrow and Burn of Care converge.

The west bank path crosses the burn at by a substantial wooden footbridge and rises quite steeply at first, steps carved in the hillside. It levels off and runs along the edge of a golf course, then drops into the valley below the castle. Both routes emerge at the entrance to the handsomely rugged fortress, now owned by the National Trust for Scotland and open to the public. The castle is well worth a visit (an admission charge is made), particularly for the grandstand views from the manicured front lawn.

From the entrance gate, follow the access road north. It curves left and then right, crossing a stream at a shallow cobbled ford where a bridge has been provided to keep pedestrians dry-shod. The route rises again, offering tempting glimpses through the trees to the castle, before reaching a cottage at its high point. Leave the tarmac here and turn left on to a track, signed Public Footpath to Glendevon. The way climbs gently through bracken swathing the lower slopes of Hillfoot Hill, then disappears into thick coniferous woodland at a wooden gate.

Follow the track into the trees and, a short way on, a three-way fork is reached. Take the middle option, following a waymarker, and a good path follows a break in the trees, eventually emerging on to moor at another gate.

The path skirts under looming crags and reaches its high point at the bottom tip of the forest. From here there's a wonderful view down the glen to Glenquey Reservoir. The path continues to Glendevon and makes a fine through walk, but for our route we turn round at this point and retrace steps to Castle Campbell. When you rejoin the road above the castle, turn left and follow the road back into Dollar.


Distance 5 miles/8km. ;
Map OS Landranger 1:50,000 sheet 58. ;
Start The clock tower at the junction between East and West Burnside and the main street through Dollar (grid ref NS 964979). ;
Parking Plenty in the town. ;
Grading An easy route with paths throughout. Take care in the glen, particularly with children and pets, as there are some steep drops. A request is made that dogs should be on the lead both in Dollar Glen and on the hillside beyond (where there is sheep grazing).