At a height of 578 m (1896 ft), Earl’s Seat is the highest of the Campsie Fells. Relatively unspectacular-looking, it fades into the background behind it’s impressive neighbour Dumgoyne Hill. That said, the summit is a great vantage point with panoramic views across to Loch Lomond and the Scottish Highlands on one side, and the city of Glasgow and beyond on the other. Mostly grassy tracks, the route can be wet underfoot and boggy in places. It is a very exposed area with no shelter so do go prepared! There is a steep section near the start before the route levels off to a far more gentle gradient.
Follow a map of this route on your mobile phone by downloading it HERE
Car parking available in lay-by off A81 immediately after passing Glengoyne Distillery (G63 9LB)
Route: From the lay-by cross the A81 and follow an obvious track up past a small cluster of houses. Continue along, skirting round the outside of a gate and then uphill to pass a new build property. At the end of the line of trees come off the track to follow a faint path on your left, directly towards the foot of Dumgoyne. You will come to a road which you should cross, leading you onto an open grassy area. You can just make out a wide grassy footpath leading towards some trees. Follow this and after crossing over two stiles you are ready to start your ascent at a particularly boggy area! Easy to miss, the path splits in two at this point. Take the path which bears left and after a steep climb follow it further left to skirt around the side of Dumgoyne Hill. The track leads you across the open hillside and up onto the ridge to pass around Garloch Hill and eventually onto the summit of Earl’s Seat. Return via the same route (6.6 miles there & back).
WALK REVIEW: 5th August 2016
Earl’s Seat was suggested to me by a couple of friends when I had asked for recommendations for my Trail 7 Summits Challenge. I had ventured out to attempt it a couple of weeks prior to this trip but had ended up only climbing Dumgoyne due to time restrictions. That day I got a good look at Earl’s Seat and the route involved so I knew exactly what I was coming to this time!
The track was visible all the way. It was mostly short grass and easy to walk on. There were some up and down sections but all very gentle gradients and nothing challenging. Ideal terrain for walking and talking at the same time, as us girls tend to do!
My friend LJ came with me on this walk. I did not know until we were there but this turned out to be her first hill walk! I was surprised because I have known her husband since primary school and he has been into hillwalking from a young age so I assumed LJ would have been hiking a few times already. In one sense I felt honoured to be taking someone on their first walk in the Scottish hills; at the same time I was nervous, hoping that she was enjoying the experience and that it was instilling in her the beginnings of a passion for getting out into the hills.
The summit is a funny place, funny in the ‘strange’ sense. To reach it you need to climb over a barbed wire fence (the jagged parts have been clipped off). I wondered why a stile hadn’t been built over the fence…. and indeed why the fence was even necessary? In any case the trig point provided a welcome wind-break for us as we sheltered from a cool wind to eat our packed lunch 🙂
Views from the top:
At the summit we got chatting to a group of guys from the Rolls Royce Mountaineering Club, one of whom told us about a Ben Nevis trip coming up and invited us along. I couldn’t make that date but do regret not asking how I find out about future trips. He explained that they aren’t allowed to advertise it so no Facebook page etc, only word of mouth. He did say they have a newsletter so I wonder how you go about being added to the distribution list. I haven’t been able to find anything online at all. I did tell them about my website and they seemed keen to have a look so guys, if you are reading, get in touch 🙂