Our First Hike in Scotland: the Conic Hill in Balmaha
Sometime in May, we got an amazing weather forecast for the weekend, and it was about the time to take a break from the house renovation and get out exploring. We went to Balmaha- it's the tiny village on the eastern shores of Loch Lomond (the National Park in Scotland) where the hiking trail begins. Conic Hill sits above the village, and its only 361 m above the sea level, but the views from the top of the hill are exceptional
Ascent : 361m Distance: 4km/2.5 miles Time: 3 hours
How to get there
train to Balloch- £5.40 (return ticket)
then bus to Balmaha - £2.00 (return ticket)
This is the most direct route- take the train from Glasgow Queen Street Station to Balloch - trains run every half hour and take about 40 minutes. Once in Balloch, turn right out of the station and walk 5 minutes towards the Co-op food store (where you can buy snacks, fruits, water for the hike), the bus station is next to the shop, take a 309 bus and in 30 minutes get off in Balmaha. The bus terminates in the car park, and the walk begins at the back of the car park.
It's a relatively easy hike and we saw many families with the kids, the most difficult part was at the beginning of the walk- you get to climb a lot of steps, but once you're done with them you get rewarded with jaw dropping views. This hike is perfect to introduce some active lifestyle, all you need is comfy shoes, a bottle of water and the enthusiasm...oh and the midge repellent, if you don't want to get itchy bites that last a week. It's not a joke, trust me. We learned this the hard way, so I highly recommend a midge repellent. The walk starts at the back of the carpark. The overall distance of the path is 4km/2.5miles. First, it will take you through the forest (that's where the midge repellent will come handy). Once the forest is behind you there will be more steps to climb- this is the hardest part of the hike. But once you get up those steps you will be rewarded with the view over the loch and its islands. The paths are wide enough for two people to walk. The way back is obviously so much easier down the steps.
TRAVEL TIP: Make sure to pack a midge repellent (small insects, big bites). You'll really need one while walking through the forest (at the start and the end of the walk)
Conic Hill is 361m and sits right on the division between the lowlands of the south and the mountains of the north. A perfect taster of the beautiful loch and its surroundings. The hike is easy, it only takes 2-3 hours and it's a spectacular place to make a picnic on a good sunny day. The views from the Conic Hill are jaw dropping. I think we chose the right place to start exploring the magnificent Scotland's nature. And I'm looking to get exploring more incredible hikes in the near future.