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The great outdoors: Tuck into great views with the Dumpling – the grand Duncryne volcanic plug

The sensational view from the summit of Duncryne
The sensational view from the summit of Duncryne

Duncryne is a volcanic plug with one of the best picture-postcard views in all of Scotland.

Despite the grandeur, it’s just under a couple of miles there and back from the village of Gartocharn to the trig point at the top.

There, you are met by the sight of Loch Lomond and its islands, framed by a huge amphitheatre of mountains.

One great advantage of this wee hill is that very often you have it all to yourself, while other stunning viewpoints across Scotland can be busier – such as the panorama of the Cuillin from Elgol on Skye, Queen’s View above Loch Tummel or Scott’s View in the Borders.

It was a favourite of the late Tom Weir, climber, explorer and writer – including for The Scots Magazine. He lived in Gartocharn and would wander up to the superb vantage point – there is a tale that he once broke his leg on such a trip, not on the volcanic magma outcrops but while climbing back over his garden fence.

When you leave the village behind, the tree-clad hill looms ahead, up Duncryne Road. To some it can look impenetrable, but there is no need to worry as a pleasant path leads between fields to the base of the knoll.

A short amount of fairly steep ground is encountered before the easy-to-follow path leads to the grassy top.

The view will take your breath away – it is best to pick a day when the clouds are above the mountains – so don’t treat this as a hill to “tick off” and hurry back down. Take your time and soak in the brilliant viewpoint.

And it’s not all about Loch Lomond. To the east are the Campsie Fells and the escarpment above Gargunnock beyond, making this a scenic place to enjoy a picnic.

As the walk is short and the hill is only 142 metres (465ft) high, most members of the family will be able to manage it. It can be muddy, though, so boots are a must.

If there are youngsters with you, see how many of Loch Lomond’s 22 islands and 27 islets they can count.

Duncryne is also known as “the Dumpling” due to its shape.

Travel info: Car or bus is the best option for reaching Gartocharn, the starting point for this walk. There are regular buses from Alexandria and Balloch, both of which can be reached by bus or train from Glasgow.

If travelling by car, it is just a short drive past Drymen if travelling from the east or just north of Balloch if coming from the south.