Walk: Alva Glen - Smuggler's Cave delivers the goods

Clackmannanshire | Ochil Hills | Short walk | ★★★★

[Alva Glen - a rocky gorge with a waterfall around every corner]

The southern wall of the Ochil Hills is riven by a series of exciting rocky gorges, in stark contrast to the neighbouring plains of the Forth valley. Alva Glen is as dramatic and scenic as its counterparts, filled with a series of at least five waterfalls in its forested lower reaches. Small reservoirs and dams are testament to the Hillfoots Villages' once thriving textile industry; at one point the path also lies on top of the pipe which used to supply Alva with water. Smuggler's Cave is the glen's other unique feature: a yawning chasm of bare rock with a hidden waterfall at the top of it as the burn squeezes into the upper cavern. If you're as sure-footed as the sheep wandering the hillsides then you can get right down to the cave, and also return to the start on Pate's Road: a narrow trod high above the gorge. There's a lot of steep and dangerous ground around here, so it's probably inadvisable to venture off the paths.

[Smuggler's Cave - you can see the path winding down on the left]

📌 Walk: Smuggler's Cave delivers the goods ★★
▶ 3 km / 2 miles | ▲ 200 metres
Features: Alva Glen; Smuggler's Cave
Start / finish: Car park at the top of Brook Street, Alva, G.R.: NS 884975 ///banquets.shiver.shortcuts

Route: Car park - Alva Glen - Smuggler's Cave - return to start via path (Pate Road) traversing slopes west of Alva Glen
Terrain: Good path in gorge, steep and narrow further up and for return - occasional hands needed to descend to the cave (optional).
Wildlife today: Sheep, slugs and snails; a couple of (probably) kestrels above the gorge.
Weather today: Mostly cool and overcast after earlier rain but sun breaking through on the summits and extending to the valley by the finish.

[Great views from higher up over Alva Glen with the Clackmannanshire plains beyond]

Route map

Route credit: Scotland off the beaten track

More photos

[Alva Glen]

[Alva Glen]

[Alva Glen]

[Alva Glen]

[These pipes used to supply water to the town of Alva below]

[Alva Glen]

[Following the pipe upstream]

[Alva Glen]

[Alva Glen]

[Alva Glen]

[Alva Glen]

[Alva Glen]

[Alva Glen]

[Alva Glen]

[Zig-zag path out of the lower glen]

[Hungry slug]

[View over the glen]

[Descent to Smuggler's Cave]

[Smuggler's Cave]

[Sheep gazing down from on high]

[View up the glen from just beyond the cave]

[Meeting the residents]

[View over Alva from the return]

[Descent back to valley level]

[Sun breaking through on the descent]

["Steep and exposed rocky slopes, unfenced cliffs... care should be taken..."]


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