The twin bumps of the Lomond hills provide many satisfying walks but I always feel the richest rewards come from tackling them individually: West Lomond from Glen Vale, and East Lomond from Falkland.
After all, East Lomond is also known as Falkland Hill, and despite its relatively modest height it dominates the view from the picture perfect town, towering over it like a silent, ancient guardian.
The advantage of this route is starting and finishing in the historic heart of Falkland, allowing time to explore its beautiful architecture which includes the Bruce Fountain and the palace and gardens built by the Stuart kings in the 1500s.
In recent years, those who follow the TV series Outlander have swelled the numbers of visitors, their pilgrimage to visit the locations seen on screen.
I had an inside view from friends who have a house sometimes used for interior shots. Apologies if anyone mistakenly thought Sam Heughan was in town.
I had picked a day of icy beauty, flawless blue sky and brilliant light. It was a slippery and cautious exit from the car park and up to the wood.
There is plenty signage to keep you right, including one reassuringly reminder that horses are not permitted on the footpath.
A long flight of wood-fronted steps got the heart rate up, leading steeply to the edge of the treeline where the summit dome suddenly came back into full view.
A good path contoured across the flank. Once over a stile, the path steepened appreciably, but the effort was short-lived.
So far I had been the only one on approach, but once on the ridge figures started appearing from every direction, drawn outdoors by the sunshine and clear winter skies.
The views from the top were expansive; the tiny buildings of Falkland lying in shadow below, all the land between the Tay and the Forth spreading north and south, and a forever vista to the east.
A summit view indicator is a handy aid, providing an instant identity to distant shapes.
The hill is what remains of an extinct volcano formed more than 400 million year ago. A Pictish hill fort crowned the summit during the Iron Age, and evidence of a burial cairn from the earlier Bronze Age have also been unearthed.
The prominent higher sibling of West Lomond was an enticing sight, but it was for another day and another direction.
The path dropped off the top steeply south-west, but before heading down to the onward route, I made the short diversion to the south to visit the unusually sited trig pillar (they are usually found on summits).
By the time I reached the wall and the parallel track I had passed a procession of walkers coming uphill, and the car park at Craigmead was full to bursting.
A quick skirt round, then through a wooden gate off the minor road and I was back in a more peaceful setting.
It’s hard to go wrong from here; there are regular signposts as you meander downwards across a series of bridges and path junctions, with the biggest sign of all, East Lomond itself, keeping you company all the way.
Barring Covid restrictions and occasional closures for repair work and safety reasons, you should be able to descend into the delights of Maspie Den, crossing a series of little bridges and running under naturally carved rock and waterfalls, before emerging through a stone tunnel to reach a stone arched bridge.
Nearing the finish line, the route skirts the House of Falkland, a Jacobean-styled country property which serves as a school, to follow the tree-lined road past a stable block and back into the centre of Falkland.
1. Leave car park on W side and walk S up road past housing, continuing on track marked Footpath to East Lomond. Keep right at fork to reach wooden steps going left.
2. Climb past waterworks, and go straight ahead at next junction as path climbs through woods to reach longer flight of wooden steps.
3. Trend right above trees on to path running across hill, cross stile and make steeper climb to summit.
4. Drop steeply SW with care (there is a trig point on slope S of summit) to fence and cross to head W on track descending to Craigmead car park.
5. Stay right of car park on road, go through metal gate on left then fainter right-hand fork through field (signed Path to Falkland).
6. Go through another gate and keep left at next fork. After crossing footbridge, forked path joins again from right. Pass through another gate, take second path on right which drops beside burn to reach waterfall and continue downstream.
7. Cross series of little bridges until path meets track, cross this and go through stone tunnel then another stone bridge to emerge at House of Falkland.
8. Cross stone bridge, bear left to tarmac road then turn right and follow it back into Falkland.
Distance: 7km/4.25 miles
Time: 2.5-4 hours
Grading: Woodland and hill paths, tracks and minor roads. One moderate steep climb from Falkland to East Lomond, suitable for most ages. Exposed summit, take care in poor weather. Can be muddy, good footwear advised.
Start/finish: Back Wynd car park, Falkland (Grid ref: NO 252058). No parking charges.
Map: Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 Landranger Maps 59 (St Andrews) and 58 (Perth & Alloa); 1:25,000 Explorer sheets 371 and 369.
Tourist Information: VisitScotland, St Andrews iCentre, 70 Market Street, St Andrews, KY16 9NU (Tel 01334 472021).
Public transport: Regular bus to Falkland on Perth-Glenrothes route (service No.36).