Vane Hill is actually more of a viewpoint than a hill in that it is somewhat dwarfed by Benarty Hill and its broad ridge behind. However, it is a great place for a walk with fantastic views.
A short, but fairly steep, climb is needed but there are lots of benches along the way on which you can rest if necessary. This also makes this good family route ideal if you want to give those unsure of uphill walks the confidence to give it a go.
Once through the woodland above the RSPB’s Loch Leven nature reserve you can look across the loch and a 360 degree panorama of lowland hills.
At the bottom it is well worth visiting the bird hides near Loch Leven – this autumn 20,000 pink footed geese are expected to arrive from Iceland. DISTANCE: 1½ miles / 2.5km.
HEIGHT CLIMBED: 450ft / 135m.
TIME: 1 hour.
MAP: OS Landranger 58.
PARK: The RSPB’s Loch Leven reserve car park is just over two miles east of Junction 5 of the M90, next to the B9097.
THE ROUTE: Pass the visitor centre (you don’t have to pay to go up thehillbut you do to enter the reserve and its hides – it is worth it for a close up view of the wildlfie) and turn right to reach a picnic area. You can do the circular walk in either direction but I think it preferable to take the steeper path on the way up – meaning less stress on the knees on the way down.
Go to the left of the picnic area and take a grass path with some wooden steps at various steep sections.
The path reaches woodland and then twists up to a more level section. At a sign you can make the walk even shorter by going straight on but to reach the top go left, up more steps.
The path then makes a wide, clockwise loop to the top of the hill where you will find two wooden benches and a small cairn. Before continuing do take time to enjoy the view of Loch Leven in front of you with the Lomond Hills to the right and the Ochils to the left. You can also see Bass Rock and North Berwick Law away over the Firth of Forth.
To start the way back, cross straight over the top and take a path downhill which bears to the right, back into the woodland. At a junction go left and drop to a well-surfaced path lower down, where you go right to return to the picnic area.