We were visiting family up in the central belt of Scotland last week. The area doesn’t look very promising to outdoor enthusiasts, particularly on a wet and windy winter weekend.

Naturally we did our weekly parkrun, on this occasion a return to Callendar Park in Falkirk. It was our second time at this run and we both improved our time by about 50 seconds. This is a lovely course, on trails through the woods and a bit undulating, with a “hill of broken dreams” at about 3km. We joined parkrunners for a coffee afterwards and as usual had a very warm welcome – there is a parkrun family wherever we go.

There is a new addition to our family, we are proud grandparents to a beautiful Samoyed pup. Osha is now four and a half months old and Cat and David were keen to show us her new trick of coming back when off the lead. This is when we began to appreciate the Central Belt – it is so close to amazing scenery. We went on a short trip to arrive at the lovely town of Dollar, with a view to walking up Dollar Glen

Dollar Glen is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, owned by the National Trust in the beautiful Ochil Hills, north of Stirling

We parked by the burn and as soon as we left the car we had some amazing close up views of dippers on the stream. We then set off up the Glen, it was a bit drizzly but the woodland gave us shelter. After all the rain the waterfalls, the Burns of Care and Sorrow, looked stunning, it was wet underfoot and a bit slippery at times. There are a number of routes around the Glen; we walked up to the castle at the top, which was quite steep and may be tricky for people with limited mobility.

It has been quite a mild winter and down here in Yorkshire snowdrops and aconites are well out – even daffodils in sheltered spots. In Scotland this was not the case, although there were some shoots of wild garlic coming through there was no sign of any flowers. It might have been lacking in flowers, but the fresh air means that the lichens. mosses and ferns more than make up for it. Apparently there are 190 species of lichen and over 100 different mosses in the glen.

I didn’t see all of those, but the photos show just how abundant they are.

This was about an hours walk. Osha enjoyed running on ahead and exploring and was very impressive at coming back at the sound of David’s whistle. We were very proud grandparents, but pleased we didn’t have to clean the white dog after all the mud!

Dollar Glen
Waterfall in Dollar Glen
ferns and mosses
Ferns and mosses
Lichen on a tree stump



Distance:    3 km

Climb:        150m

Difficulty:    Medium


  • dippers
  • wrens
  • robins
  • ferns
  • mosses
  • lichen