On the south side of Loch Leven rises Benarty Hill. Like all the hills that surround the county of Kinross-shire, it makes a great viewpoint.
One that’s maybe not so high — but shouldn’t be overlooked — is the Vane Hill. It forms part of the RSPB Loch Leven Nature Reserve, and is accessed by passing through the Reserve shop. It couldn’t be easier to climb, as there are well-marked and well-prepared paths and trails leading all the way to the top.
The higher you go, the finer the views become as they open out over the loch and across its scattering of islands. The closest and largest of these islands is that of St Serfs.
Away to the north-east, the Bishop Hill rises above the villages of Kinnesswood and Scotlandwell. To the west stretch the Ochils. Near the summit of Vane Hill we can look down on the “Leven Cut” — a long, straight, man-made channel created in the 1830s. Sluices once regulated the flow of water powering the mills downstream.
This is the third time this year that I’ve visited the Reserve and climbed to the top of the Vane Hill, and it probably won’t be the last!
A selection of Willie’s favourite scenic walks features in our upcoming issue, on sale from Wednesday, May 4.
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For more of Willie’s wanders, click the tag below. And if you’re looking for inspiration for your next trip, there’s plenty on our travel pages.