Admire the View from the Summit of Schiehallion
Rising up as a lone peak to a height of 1,083 meters, Schiehallion is located between Loch Tummel and Loch Tay in Perthshire, Scotland. Viewed from the west across Loch Rannoch, Schiehallion has a distinctive conical shape, but when viewed from the north and south, the hill’s long main ridge is evident. With its name taken from the Gaelic Sidh Chailleann, meaning ‘Fairy Hill of the Caledonians’, Schiehallion’s slopes are covered in a variety of indigenous flora, including mosses and heathers, of which white heather is regarded as being lucky. Other plants found on the slopes of the Munro include braeberry, lily of the valley, wood anemone and dog’s mercury.
As one of Scotland’s most readily recognized hills, Schiehallion is also one of the country’s most popular destinations for walking enthusiasts. So popular in fact, that erosion of the pathways from the thousands of walkers became a real concern in the late 1990s. Since then a new path has been developed and walkers continue to enjoy the 4.5 kilometer trail to the summit, which offers spectacular views in all directions. More recently, a new initiative by the FieldFare Trust has made Schiehallion accessible to wheelchair users. The first third of the path from the Braes of Foss car park to Schiehallion’s summit has been approved by FieldFare as wheelchair-friendly, while the remaining pathway to the summit is accessible, but up to individuals to decide if they are comfortable in proceeding to the top. Schiehallion is Scotland’s first Munro to be declared wheelchair accessible, a status that has been welcomed by the John Muir Trust which maintains the hill.
Features of the route include a plaque commemorating the 1774 experiment to determine the weight of the world. Conducted by Astronomer Royal Nevil Maskelyne and mathematician Charles Hutton, the experiment measured the deflection of a pendulum caused by the gravitational pull of Schiehallion, which was chosen because of its isolation from other peaks and its near perfect symmetrical shape. By determining the density and volume of Schiehallion, the researchers could determine the relative density and volume of the Earth. Maskelyne’s calculations confirmed Newton’s inverse square law of gravitation and he was presented with the 1775 Copley Medal by the Royal Society.