Dunning To Dunblane By Hillfoots And Sherrifmuir

Perthshire Circles

ROUTE LENGTH: 51 MILES

By Road

Take B934 south from Dunning St Serf’s, then turn right onto A91 to Tillicoultry. Follow either theA91, passing Alva, or the road south, through Tullibody. Both meet the A907. Take Arthrey Road, you will pass the University of Stirling, and then Sherrifmuir road north. After Sherrifmuir, follow its road, then Glen Road, to Dunblane.

By Cycle

Continue along B934 south from St Serf’s in Dunning. Ride for 9 miles, then turn left onto A823, andthen follow the A91 left passing by Dollar and then reaching Tillicoultry. From there take the A908 to Alloa, turning onto Tuillybody Road to reach that town. Follow A907, and cycle route 76, from Tuillybody to roundabout junction with A91. Take right exit, following A91 north for just under a mile, then taking slight left off it through Hermitage Wood. Then take a right onto Sherifmuir Road. Follow until you reach Glen Road which will take you into Dunblane.

By Public Transport

From Dunning or Forteviot, take the 17 to Perth, then ride either the train or M8 bus to Dunblane.

To check times go to Traveline Scotland and click on Plan your Journey on left side of page.

Suddenly at Dunning we reach St Serf’s sphere of influence. St Serf’s Church in Dunning contains early Christian carvings and a notable tower. Walking round the village you find a memorial to victims of the witch craze, the Dragon’s Den where the redoubtable Serf slew a scaly monster, and on the upper side near the park a standing stone.

In Devon of his devotioun
And prayers, he slew a fell dragoun;
Where he was slain, that place was aye
The dragounis den called to this day.

A scenic road leads over the Ochils to Yetts o’ Muchart on the River Devon. From here all routes are Serf’s. To the east is Loch Leven where Serf founded an island monastery. A later Prior Andrew Wyntoun wrote a famous Scots Chronicle in verse which preserves many stories of the founder, including the one above.

Southwards on the Forth is Culross where Serf founded another monastery on the site of the present substantial medieval church at the top of this wonderfully conserved little town. Here Serf received the infant Mungo and his mother, who is variously named Tennoch, Thenew or Enoch. She was fleeing from the vengeful fury of her royal father Loth, and Serf’s gift of sanctuary changed the history of Scotland. Also on the Forth, at Dysart, St Serf had a retreat or hermitage, which is still secluded in the grounds of a Carmelite Convent.

All of these places are visited on other Pilgrim Journeys, so for now we follow Serf west along the Hillfoots through a series of towns and churches named after this founding father, about whose early life we know next to nothing. St Serf is the dedication at Tillicoultry, and the old church on the hillside above Alva, while to the south at Tullibody he shares that honour with his protégé Mungo or Kentigern -who also inspires the main church dedication in Alloa.

However, Serf’s earliest base may have been in the lost village of Airthrey on the little road just above the present day Logie Kirk. There is an ancient church ruin here, also associated with the earlier missionary Palladius who may have inspired Serf’s original choice of missionary endeavour. This little road winds steeply upwards onto Sheriffmuir providing a quiet and scenic short cut back to our starting point at Dunblane.

Going west today the sun was rising at our back,
But now red fires subside below the western hills.
The sun has gone full circle from day into the night,
Its last rays guide each traveller to peaceful rest.
And the light of Fillan lingers in the west
And the light of Serf waits calmly in the east.

Pilgrim Journeys

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