Estate, History

Walk this Saturday to feature story of Kinneil Hill Climb

The free outdoor tour at Kinneil Estate, Bo’ness, at 2pm this Saturday, 20 August, will have a special theme featuring the story of the Kinneil Hill Climb.

As if all the rest of Kinneil’s history were not enough, many visitors may not realise that Kinneil Estate is also Scotland’s oldest true motor-racing venue. Thousands of spectators used to watch some of the stars of the sport at the classic Kinneil Hill Climb events from the 1930s to the 1960s. The event was then revived in 2007, but has not been staged since 2019 due to the pandemic.

To help mark this year’s return of the Speed Hill Climb on 10 & 11 September 2022, staged by the new Bo’ness Sporting Automobile Club, join us for this Saturday’s short walk, led by Kenny Baird.

A scene from the 2013 Kinneil Hill Climb Revival – a vintage car navigates the bend next to Kinneil Museum

Kenny has long been involved with motorsport, and in particular motorsport history. As well as his other books on the subject, his authoritative 2006 book about the Bo’ness Hill Climb helped to spark interest and was followed soon after by the Revival events. Kenny is also an active motorsport competitor (in a Scottish-built car) and works as a motorsport official at several Scottish tracks. He was on the committee of Bo’ness Hill Climb Revival for ten years, four as Chairman, and this year helped to set up the new Club.

There is no need to book for the walk, just turn up – meet at 2pm outside Kinneil Museum. Our Saturday tours are part of Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022. Please read the essential visitor information for our summer season of walks, and check the Friends of Kinneil Facebook page before arrival, in case of any last-minute cancellation or changes due to adverse weather or other factors.

Kenny will give a short history of the Hill Climb and how it started, and also how important the venue is to Scottish, and British, motorsport. He will point out various interesting features including parts of the track which have now vanished (the top 50%), and will then walk on up to the original finishing line which is worth visiting as the remains of the old timing hut are still visible!

As an optional extra part of the walk for those who are interested and have time, he can show the route of the planned 1937 motor-racing circuit. The 2-mile circuit was never built, although the plans were approved by the Secretary of State – a shortage of funds and then World War 2 scuppered any plans!