Just outside the small picturesque village of Dunkeld lies a small hill, just a little over 1500 feet, called Deuchary Hill. There's nothing hard about this walk, both in terms of physical effort and distance, but it is full of rewards.
I first walked up this hill last year with my friend Andrew, and last weekend we returned with four other friends on a glorious day.
Part of the joy of hillwalking for me is taking the train whenever possible to the starting point. Sometimes there just isn't that choice, such as for the mountains of Glencoe, but for Deuchary Hill it's a short travel time from Edinburgh to the outskirts of the village of Dunkeld.
The estimated time for a circular route of Deuchary is six hours, though in the end we took slightly longer. Even the reward at the end of food and a drink at the Taybank bar, overlooking one of the great salmon rivers in Scotland, the River Tay, couldn't tempt us to hurry.
At Mill Dam we were supposed to take a left on the advice of my friend Pauline, but we decided to continue on to the small body of water, Loch Ordie. We stopped briefly just after Mill Dam for a spot of lunch, soaking in the late spring sunshine and watching the birds flitting around gathering nesting material.
Doubling back slightly after Loch Ordie we found the path up to the summit, and 20 minutes later we were admiring the views from the rocky top. The unmistakable pointed peak of Schiehallion was visible nearby, still covered in late snow. As Dave passed around his hip flask of brandy we congratulated each other on a job well done. For a while longer we sat silently, not from exhaustion but from quiet contemplation as we watched the few clouds there were drift slowly by.
We picked a direct, short but steep route off the hill and wandered back to Dunkeld for our evening meal, satisfied in our little expedition with old friends up Deuchary Hill.