One of my favourite places to run (and, more recently, ride my mountain bike) is Sheriffmuir. This is an area on the edge of the Ochil hills, just a couple of miles from Dunblane. The area around the Big Wood is the site of the Battle of Sheriffmuir and there is a monument to those of the Macrae clan who fell in the battle. Not far from the monument is the “Gathering Stone,” a possible fallen standing stone now protected by an iron cage.
The area of Sheriffmuir is fairly large, and includes all sorts of interesting places from the warm and friendly Sheriffmuir Inn to a WW2 replica of the Atlantic Wall that was once used for military training exercises! Over Sheriffmuir and down to Blackford and back is via Braco is one of my favourite road rides, and there are various routes where you can put together a long run that mixes up on- and off-road terrain.
The bit of Sheriffmuir that I visit the most is the area around the monument, called the Big Wood. It’s not a large area, but there are enough trails to keep me amused on a run or a mountain bike for an hour or so. For a rookie mountain biker like me there is a good combination of easy, fast trails; more technical rooty sections and the odd rock!
Despite the name, it’s not all woodland. There’s a lovely open moor:
…some peaceful plantation:
…and gorgeous views.
(Although not long ago I was up here trying to out-run a thunderstorm that I could see coming across the hills towards me…a scary – and wet – experience!).
Finally, there is this little bridge over a ditch, seen modelled here by my running buddy, Rory:
I have – thus far – fallen off my new mountain bike twice. Both times on the same ride. Both times trying to bunnyhop up onto this bridge!
For anyone local who reads this and is inspired to head up to Sheriffmuir, please be aware that there were signs up today saying that stalking is taking place in the area from 24th July to 2nd August.