Walk: The Battle up Loudoun Hill
|[Loudoun Hill and the Spirit of Scotland monument]|
Loudoun Hill sticks out prominently on Ordnance Survey maps as a concentrated blotch of red contour lines amongst flattish Ayrshire farmland close to Darvel. Robert the Bruce led the Scots to victory over the English here in 1307, with an additional battle a decade earlier featuring Sir William Wallace, documented in poetry and in the striking Spirit of Scotland monument. Nowadays this craggy volcanic plug features several rock climbing routes - a rarity for this part of Scotland - and paths accessing these also help walkers heading for the summit by a less vertiginous route. The southeastern slopes facing the car park are impregnable without scrambling, but informal paths head steeply up the flanks on each side to form a circular walk. The hill looks best during the morning, but the best summit views are at sunset.
|[The Isle of Arran dominates the western skyline]|
Name: Walk: The Battle up Loudoun Hill ★★★★☆
Length: 2 km / 1 mile
Ascent: 170 metres
Main summits: Loudoun Hill (316 metres)
Points of interest: Spirit of Scotland monument
Start / finish: Spirit of Scotland car park on minor road east of Darvel, G.R.: NS 613378 / punctual windy weds
Route: Car park - Spirit of Scotland monument - footbridge over River Irvine - Loudoun Hill by southwest face - River Irvine by northeast face - return by outward route
Terrain: Clear gravel then grassy path to footbridge, briefly very boggy then faint afterwards. Steep paths on hill, rocky on ascent and muddy on descent.
Wildlife today: Cows had churned up part of the muddy descent route.
Weather today: Cloudless skies and light winds, rapidly becoming chilly as the sun set.
|[Classic Ayrshire - windfarms and rolling farmland]|
Route credit: Scotland off the beaten track