The Meikle Balloch Hill overlooks Keith and on a clear day you can see the hill path from my house in Keith. It is a beautiful and peaceful walk through the forest and among the heather, the views of Moray and Aberdeenshire are incredible.
Start: Balloch forestry car park near Keith Distance: 4 miles Time: Allow one and a half to two hours Terrain: Mainly forestry roads. Downhill section is uneven in parts Access: Arrive by car. To reach the car park , turn up Bridge street from Keith and follow the road until you come to a parking area after approx two miles. The postcode is AB55 5NT
Route: At the car park you will see a information board. To the right of the board there is a blue-marked post at the start of the a narrow path into the trees. Follow this path for about 200 yards. You come to a forestry road, take a right here and then keep on this road. There are some nice views of the countryside through the trees as you pass along this section. After about three-quarters of a mile, there is a fork to the right; ignore this and continue on. The road does gently climb here but nothing too taxing.
You will pass a Scottish Water reservoir and the Balloch Quarry. Not long after passing the quarry there is a signpost for Coachford; ignore this if you wish to proceed directly on the planned route. But, for those with the time time and inclination, it is well worth a brief detour. About 20 yards along the Coachford turn off, there is a small pond to the left where dragonflies can be spotted in the summer.
Back on the main track, about 80 yards further on from the Coachford signpost, there is a turn to the left. Take this road and head further up the hill where it will begin to get steeper. Keep on this road. There are plenty of great views on the way up where the trees have been felled. Less than a mile along the stretch, the road will narrow as you come out the trees and reach a fork with two paths. Take the path to the right. This will take you up to the summit and trig point where 360-degree views of Moray and Aberdeenshire await.
After enjoying the views, it is time to descend. Take the path to the right. Once you are back in the woods the path will zigzag before coming to a straight downhill section that can be quite uneven. You will reach a crossroads, take a left here and this will bring you back to the forestry road. After a short stretch, you will come to the last fork in the road. Take a right which will take you back to the gate at the car park.