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WALK THIS WAY: Craig Gibbon, a popular hillock among jumble of hills accessed from Little Glenshee

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The small wooded hillock of Craig Gibbon in Perthshire is a popular destination for walkers despite being a relatively minor top among the jumble of hills accessed from Little Glenshee, says Alan Rowan.

The main curiosity is the obelisk perched on its summit, an eight-metre high stone pyramid, erected in the early 1800s by Colonel William Mercer, so that he could pick out the hill from his house at Meikleour, some 12 miles away.

The surrounding trees have long since kept the structure out of sight until the last minute, but the final reveal is a grand pastoral view to the south.

Little Glenshee is a short hop from Perth, but the transformation of the landscape and its soundtrack in that brief journey is breathtaking; leafy arches, gently bubbling waters and birds darting here and there. By the time I reached the small parking area just before the ford I was already feeling as though I’d had a mental massage.

A wooden bridge leads out of the car park, along a path and across a road to a high locked gate, the first of a few you will encounter on this circuit. There is a high metal stile with handrails at each, and handily, a separate low entrance hatch for dogs.

Loch Tullybelton.

The day still hadn’t sparked into life; a grey pall coated the sky and my first target, Loch Tullybelton, was a drab silver streak down to the right. My progress had sparked interest with the local crow colony in a nearby stand of trees, however, as they took to the air en masse in full complaining frenzy. Suddenly the silence wasn’t silent any more.

On paper, my route was straightforward. In reality, it paid to check the map every so often. There are far more tracks on the ground than there are on the map and it would be simple to stray.

Heading up from the gate, I turned right at the first junction to head east for the loch, ignoring another track going off to my left on the way. The burgeoning blue sky had transformed the waters and the yellows and browns of the flora on the surrounding slopes were set alight.

I kept to the main drag along the side of Drum Tick, again ignoring a possibility to the right, and when the track started to turn left, I branched right, crossing a small stream to head uphill to reach two small ponds. The first, on the left, was alive with ducks and a family of swans; the next one, on the right, was not so heavily populated.

Just beyond is another junction. A left turn led uphill by a wood and eventually rounded a hairpin bend, then another gate and high stile. Once over this, stick to the main track, which trends right, climbing steadily until it reaches an obvious branch right.

The obelisk at the summit.

Ahead is a prominent cairned top. This is Carn Tuile which is passed on the left, and just beyond this the wooded hillock of Craig Gibbon can be seen clearly for the first time. With the rugged brown features of Craig Obney filling the skyline dead ahead, I dropped left from the track on a grassy path to reach a gap in a dyke and the short push to the obelisk. It’s a fine spot to linger, and if the weather is misbehaving, it provides a temporary reprieve from the elements.

The pathfinding for the return is simple; back to the last junction and then follow the track anti-clockwise round Moine Folaich, passing the prehistoric Sack Stone, with another pyramid, the distant Schiehallion, keeping you company most of the way.

The track swings round Creag na Criche to rejoin the inward track, but if you haven’t had enough for one day this summit is not too far away. Be warned though – the ascent may be short, but the heather is deep and awkward. The descent is then down a grass ramp to rejoin the track.



1.    Cross footbridge from car park and follow path then cross minor road to metal gate with high stile.

2.    Follow track and at first junction take right-hand branch east towards Loch Tullybelton (ignoring another exit on left en route).

3.    Continue on main track past loch and when it takes uphill curve to the left, take branch right to reach two small ponds, first on left, then right.

4.    Just beyond the ponds at junction, turn north (left) and follow to another gate and high stile. Stay on main track, ignoring branch left, and climb steadily to junction.

5.    Turn right here, passing a prominent cairned top, then drop right on grass path to wooded top of Craig Gibbon, and climb through the trees to obelisk at the summit.

6.    Retrace steps to the track and down to the junction.

7.    Complete the circuit, heading right on track which curves to drop back to first junction and path to car park.


The Lowdown:

Distance: 14km/8.8 miles

Ascent: 415m/1355ft

Time: 3-5 hours

Grading: Good tracks, sometimes wet and muddy sections, steady ascents. Sturdy boots and adequate clothing advised. High stiles to climb, but all with separate dog gates. Please keep dogs under close control due to ground nesting birds and farm livestock.

Start/finish: Small car park on right before ford in Little Glenshee (Grid ref: NN 998341) on minor road from Luncarty.

Map: Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 Landranger Map 52 (Pitlochry & Crieff); Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 Explorer sheet 379.

Tourist Information: VisitScotland, Perth iCentre, 45 High Street, Perth, PH1 5TJ (Tel 01738 450600).

Public transport: No public transport to Little Glenshee.

  • You can follow Alan’s regular mountain adventures at or on Facebook (Munro Moonwalker) and Twitter (@munromoonwalker)