Picnic at Loudoun Hill

Loudoun Hill is a volcanic plug near Darvel, East Ayrshire, Scotland. This small bump in our Scottish landscape is around 316m (1,037 ft) high.

If you ever fancy trying some hillwalking and would prefer to keep it short, but a challenging hike, then this is a great place to visit. Walking to the top of Loudoun Hill is just over 1km (0.62 miles) and should take you no longer than 30 minutes one way. You can stop for a rest whenever you want to!

I visited for the first time in June 2015 with my two lovely friends. I had always wanted to climb the hill, it was practically on my doorstep and I’d never been!

It was a beautiful sunny day and my first thoughts when we arrived were “wow, why have I not visited here sooner.” I was excited, as I like exploring new places.

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~ A very special place ~

We slipped through the gate which had a lovely inscription on it:

“John & Betty Reid, Sheffield, Tasmania, a very special place and one we think of often”

Reading this gave me a nice warm feeling as I walked through. We took the path to the right towards the hill.

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~ Choose your path ~

A beautiful artistic sign mounted on wood greeted us along the way with information about the history of Loudoun Hill.

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~ History of the hill ~

As we walked down the path we came to a picnic table. What a great place to sit on a nice day and enjoy the scenery around you. We had bigger plans though!

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~ Picnic at Loudoun Hill ~

Sculpture by Richard Price

From the picnic table we could see the most unusual and unique sculpture. It looked like the figure of a man, standing tall and proud.

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~ Spirit of Scotland ~

The sculpture was there to commemorate two battles fought at Loudoun Hill during the Wars of Independence.

  • William Wallace 1297
  • Robert the Bruce 1307

The Spirit of Scotland is all around you. If you’re interested, you can read more about the history and the battles of Loudoun Hill on the Future Museum website.

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~ Wars of independence ~
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~ Peeking through ~
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~ Man on the hill ~

Walking up that hill

From the sculpture, we headed down a wee hill towards the wooden bridge. I couldn’t help thinking that the hill was watching us with its winking eye! Can you see it?

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~ The winking eye ~
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~ Bridge over troubled water ~

Even though it was a lovely sunny day, the ground was quite muddy and slippery in places. We crossed the bridge to the other side where the grass was greener and made our way up the hill. It was really nice looking back, watching the sculpture get smaller and smaller.

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~ Higher and smaller ~

I was so right about the hill watching us, its mouth appeared from out of nowhere!

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~ The face ~

As we reached the side of the head, oops the hill, the path was easier to walk on.

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~ The path ~
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~ The path ~

We decided to scramble up the side of the hill… this is a real challenge if you’re not used to climbing. The best way is to follow the path right to the back where you will find an easier climb to the top.

So after a few slips, falls and grabs we reached the top and was welcomed with stunning views of the lush green countryside. It was a hazy day, but looking to the west you could just make out our coastline and the Isle of Arran.

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~ Trig point on Loudoun Hill ~
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~ Me ~

There was a homemade flag at the top. I’m not sure why it was there, but it looked like victory to me!

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~ Capture the flag ~

We sat on top of the hill for while, chatting, eating our lunch and I made us some tea! It was the wonderful ‘cafe in the sky’ with great friends.

Looking down towards the car park and the tiny sculpture was quite scary. I knew there was a steep drop, so I decided not to go any further.

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~ The view ~
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~ The view ~

When it was time to leave, we followed the trodden path and headed down the way we should have came up. Even the sheep knew this was the easier way to go!

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~ White sheep can climb ~
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~ The rock called Loudoun Hill ~

I really enjoyed this walk with my friends. It was a great way to catch up and exercise at the same time. We all have different levels of fitness and we all completed this challenge!

The Ayrshire Paths website has information about other great walks in this area. It’s steeped in Scottish history and I will certainly venture back here to explore more.

Thanks for reading.

~ Dawn~Marie ~

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