From the Maiden Castle we retraced our steps back to the main track heading west, all except one member of the party who was soon rounded up by the cairn finding dog.
When you get to the bottom of the climb to West Lomond there is a small quarry and two choices of path. One heads straight up and is very steep. The more sensible choice curves round the north and approaches from the north west. Being sensible for a change we chose the second route.
The cairn sits on top of the hill with a trig plonked on top it and has magnificent all round views. Sadly the site has taken an absolute battering and is scattered all over the place, much of the stones being used to make two enclosures or possibly massive wind breaks. However it is easy to imagine what it originally looked like and with the area full of prehistory what a setting.
People who played or have attended the T In The Park festival before its move to Strathallan will recognise the Lomonds as a spectacular backdrop.
To get back to East Lomond follow the path east. No climbing involved as the path leads to the south of the fort near some lime kilns and eventually heads back to the car parks.
The narrow gorge of Glenvale between West Lomond Hill and Bishop Hill was formerly the haunt of witches, of whom "Carlin Maggie" was the chief. Seeing Satan approach bearing a burden of rocks she took her stand upon the Bishop's Hill and "flyted" him. He let fall his load upon the hill side, pursued her, and turned her to stone on the precipitous slope overlooking Lochleven, where the monolithic rock of Carlin Maggie and the scattered Devil's Burden are prominent objects in the landscape to this day. The legend is told in verse in Gulland ['The Lomond Hills' 1877].
Lomond Hills Easter and Wester.
These isolated heights were called by the old Highlanders "Wallace's Goals," because the national hero was held to be capable of jumping from the one summit to the other.
Probably from J W Jack's 1890s 'Glenfarg and District', but quoted in 'Examples of Printed Folklore' by E S John.
There's lots of stone-related folklore up here and stoney things with strange names, such as the crags called the Devil's Burdens and Wind and Weather. There's the Bonnet Stone (Bunnet Stane) which from this photo looks totally mad. And there's a story about Maiden Bore rock:
Directly below the steep verdant base of the highest peak or top of the hill, where it begins to subside into a plain, there is a cluster of free stone rocks which jut out from under the base of the hill close beside it, with a large perforation through the rock called the Maiden-bore, because maidens only were supposed capable of passing through it. The passage had been originally very small, yet it is now so enlarged, in consequence of so many people trying to pass, or rather to creep through it, that it will now admit the most bulky person.
Seems a bit of an odd explanation but whatever. This is from Small's 'Interesting Roman Antiquities' (1823). The link above has folklore about 'Maiden's Bower' which sounds a suspiciously similar noise, but the bower is a cave where she used to hang out.