Tobar nan Ceann Gang

The blog of a bunch of middle aged men trying to stay youthful…!


Tinto Hill

Essential Information about the Tinto Hill Walking Route

  • Distance: 5 miles – 711 metres
  • Time: 2 – 3 hours
  • Difficulty: moderate/hard
  • Terrain: well worn path to summit; loose in places – suitable footwear required
  • As with all hill walks, especially if leaving the main route, it is essential to carry a map and compass. Although this trip is relatively short, the weather can change suddenly, so trainers and T-shirts are okay in the car park, but more appropriate gear should be taken on the walk.

On the walk – Jock & Nip (Border Collie) 26th February 2011

Nip and I took to the hills.

Tinto Hill is not the biggest or hardest hills I have walked up, on this occasion it felt like it was as it’s the first serious hill walk this year. It’s a good walk to get them muscles stretched and in preparation for more serious walks that will be done this year.

At the foot of Tinto Hill there is a car park which has obviously been put there to accommodate the vast amounts of hill walkers it gets all year round. From there you go through the gates to the path which leads you all the way to the top, the first 10 minutes is a gentle rise, walking on the path was a little boggy in places due to the recent wet weather we’ve had, by this time Nip was running through the deepest muddy puddles and I just ploughed through the boggy path rather than go through the heather on each side.

Through some more gates and the climb really started, 10 more minutes and I started to feel it while Nip was still running around full of life. As we continued a few walkers passed walking down, they looked fresh; I must have looked a sight. Nip was still full of life, running in front, then back to me, round my legs and way in front again, where he would wait for me to catch up. At this point you could feel a change in the weather, the wind had picked up and all around you could see outbreaks of rain, I was fortunate enough not to get any rain.

Eventually we reached what they say is half way, a few photos a drink and we were on our way again.

The path turns from rough to a smoother path which makes walking more easily, the path levels out for a wee while which is welcoming and then the climb starts again. By this time you can see the top and it looks miles away, you can also see small figures of people making their way down. The last steep climb just before the top is hard as underfoot is loose rocks and gravel.

We finally made it to the top, you are greeted with what the Bronze Age people built, Scotland’s largest summit cairn, most likely as a burial cairn, it’s a shame the summit column has been knocked down.
I took a few photos then Nip and I tucked in to a packed of biscuits and some water. We headed back down and this time the going was a lot easier, the people that were going up were looking and probably feeling just as I was, some could hardly say hello as they were out of breath.

We got back to the car park and into the van as more walkers were arriving, it is a walk I will do more on a regular basis taking both dogs, time to complete was only over 2 hours and that’s me taking it steady.

A little info about Tinto Cairn – took from other sources:

The summit is home to Tinto’s second ancient monument, a huge Bronze Age circular cairn, measuring some 43m in diameter and 6m in height. Its south side has been scooped out in modern times into a series of wind shelters. This cairn helps explain why different sources give different heights for Tinto, with 707m and 711m being the most popular. 707m is the height of the triangulation pillar, more popularly known as a “trig point” which stands on the highest natural point to be found on Tinto, a short distance west of the cairn. But if the stream of walkers arriving at the top of Tinto is anything to go by, most people regard the top of the cairn as the place to be: it is, after all, the highest point for many miles in any direction. The top of the cairn is home to a crumbling summit column which once supported a viewpoint indicator.