The next in my Trossachs series and following on from the Falls of the Little Fawn, this location is very close by.

Craigmore is the large lump of a hill that stands guard over Aberfoyle to its north-west.  It’s the end of the tail of high ground that stretches down from Ben Venue before reaching the Duke’s Pass.  For all that it looks intimidating from the village, it’s only about 350m up to the summit.  That height makes it a fantastic viewpoint that is well worth the effort of climbing it.  More after the jump…

For the photographer who doesn’t fancy all that climb (especially with their gear), there’s a “cheat” which knocks off about 75m of climb, which is to park at my favourite base, the David Marshall Lodge.  Crossing over the A821 and following the paths north through the woods, you arrive on the eastern shoulder of Craigmore.  On the ground, I found that there were more paths than marked on the 1:25,000 OS map – presumably these started as deer tracks, but they were clear and well-trodden on my visit and paths take you all the way to the summit.  Be warned, the climb is steep in places and the paths can be muddy (and slippery) underfoot.  I visited for a sunrise shoot and really needed my head torch in the woodland.  Once out of the trees, though, I found there was enough pre-dawn light to see by, which was an advantage of choosing a morning with clear skies.

There are a few hazards which are worth mentioning.  With any hill walking you need to go appropriately prepared and equipped and you need to decide for yourself if what you are doing is safe.  Of particular note, watch out for the crags; these are steepest on the southern flank but the heather cover can make them difficult to see until you are right on top of them.  On my visit, I also managed to pick up a number of ticks on my legs.  Now, this was entirely my fault – I walked the hill before my shoot wearing shorts – but be aware and make sure you have full arm and leg cover.

Not really a hazard but a definite irritation are the midges.  As the rising sun hits the heather and starts to warm it, the clouds rise up ready to breakfast on whatever warm-blooded creature’s available.  That’s you, that is.

You might think that with these negatives I’m not really selling this as a location.  But the views are worth it…

mountain Scotland Trossachs rock heather hill slope moor cloud inversion sunrise dawn munro
Ben Lomond over Loch Ard from Craigmore
heather pink forest mountain cloud hill slope sunrise sun Duke's Pass Trossachs Scotland sky landscape
Ben A’an, Ben Vane and Ben Ledi across Achray Forest from Craigmore
forest cloud inversion mist trees landscape repeat sun wood Scotland Trossachs landscape nature
Cloud inversion over Loch Ard forest


If you’re in the area and fancy a climb, Craigmore is worth visiting.  And if you catch the conditions just right like I did, you could be sitting above the clouds and making the most of the views before most people are even out of bed.