Talk about blundering around in the landscape... having only decided to try and visit the massive Tinto cairn the night before, I'd no time to purchase an OS map of the area... so took a few compass bearing notes from TMA (in case I got into trouble with cloud), nonetheless leaving me completely ignorant about the existance of this rather fine hillfort literally right beside the approach path from Fallburn. Pleasant surprise on the descent of Totherin Hill, then, to see the enclosure lying below..... although how I walked blindly past on the way up Tinto might well be a case for Mulder and Scully.
To be fair the site is (in late May, anyway) overgrown with heather, so much so that - aerial views from Totherin Hill notwithstanding - it is only by getting up close and personal that the true, substantial nature of the twin ramparts and ditches becomes apparent. Initially I must admit I thought the enclosure was tri-vallate... however Canmore cites my third, outermost rampart as being 'a slight upcast bank on the counterscarp [of the outer bank] round all but the NE quarter of the circuit.' Hey, the heather's my excuse. Although, having said that, the relatively powerful inner rampart is easily 'walkable'. I make out two entrances to the enclosure (Canmore agrees... to ENE and WNW) with some unidentified enclosure in the centre (probably more or less modern).
In my experience this is a rather unexpected location to find such a well constructed defended enclosure as this, that is at the foot of nearby high ground. Perhaps there was a ritualistic focus upon the great, sprawling mass of Tinto, crowned by its extraordinary cairn? Or perhaps just the practicality of the site won the day for the planners, the man-made defences being thought more than enough in their own right? Dunno. But Fallburn is certainly a great, albeit unexpected, way to end a visit to Tinto.
Mind you, if mountain climbing isn't your bag, I'd say Fallburn is well worth a visit in its own right. Simply follow the main track towards Tinto from the large Fallburn car-park... and the hillfort stands to the immediate left a little way up. Can't miss it. He says.......