Thursday, 7 June 2018

At the top of the Devil's Staircase: Bheinn Bheag and Stob Mhic Mhartain

5 June 2018

Participants: Just me
Where: Bheinn Bheag, 616m/2021', P68m, TuMP, OS 41, NN 221580 and Stob Mhic Mhartain, 707m/2,320', P36m, NN 208 576

It was a bit cloudier than I had hoped but it was lifting off the higher summits as I pulled into the car park near to the start of the route over the Devil's Staircase at the mouth of Glencoe. The Staircase itself was new to me, as usual when I was younger, I had concentrated all my activities on the Munros and Corbetts. Both of today's hills were in view almost as soon as I started to ascend the Staircase. Bheinn Bheag.....


and Stob Mhic Mhartain.....


Although they are classed as TuMPS, they are in a different class altogether from the small hills that I have been climbing for most of the year so far. The Staircase is of course part of the West Highland Way and there were a few people trudging up with overloaded rucksacks, not for me! My two hills obviously receive a fair number of visitors as rough paths led off to them from the cairn at the highest point of the Staircase. Approaching Bheinn Bheag with the Blackwater Reservoir in the background.....
 
 
Although it was cloudy it was also hot and the humidity was high. So I was glad to have a rest at the cairn and admire the view.....
 
 
The eastern Mamores, Am Bodach to Sgurr Eilde Mor with the eastern end of the Grey Corries and Sgurr Innse beyond......
 
 
Beinn a'Chrulaiste looking dark (I hadn't realised till I saw it from this angle just how big a hill it is).....
 
 
On the way back to the Staircase, I took a couple of photos of the next objective, Stob Mhic Mhartain.....
 
 
 
It is the better hill of two and could in fact be held to be the start of a Greater Aonach Eagach traverse, although that is not something that I would be able to attempt nowadays. It's summit is much closer to the big mountains on the south side of Glencoe and by moving 30 yards or so to the edge of the south face also provides a great view down to the glen and onward to Rannoch Moor.
 
The rather unsightly summit cairn.....
 
 
Bidean nam Bian.....
 
 
Buachaille Etive Mor and Creise.....
 
 
The Buachaille again this time from the better viewpoint.....
 
 
My phone camera which has a mind of its own occasionally decides to offer me a panorama based on a photo that I have taken but with extra content. I don't have a clue how it does this but I was sure glad that it chose this one showing Beinn a'Chrulaiste, Rannoch Moor, Buachaille Etive Mor and Buachaille Etive Beag.....
 
 
 I hung about the summit for a good half hour before making my way back. It was almost too hot to be out in the open! A view to Bheinn Bheag and the Blackwater Reservoir taken on the descent.....
 
 

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Corlick Hill, Clyde Muirshiel Country Park

30 May 2018

Participants: Neil and Ben
Where: Corlick Hill, 303m/994', P 108, HuMP, OS 63, NS 290 728

I'd been out twice this week already doing TuMPS but as it looked as though there might, by the weekend, be a breakdown in the long, fine spell of weather that we were enjoying, I decided to head out again. Boy, was it hot. If it hadn't been for the light breeze, I would really have been struggling. Corlick Hill, south of Greenock had been on my radar for a while and it didn't disappoint. It was easily the best hill that I have climbed so far in the Clyde Muirshiel Country Park. It probably helped that there was a track all the way to the top and that you can drive up to about 200m on the minor road that runs from Greenock over the moors to Largs. The track passes Whitelees cottage after which the hill is in view.....
 

There were sheep and lambs about so Ben stayed on his lead. Not ideal as he was in his most tugging mood on the way up! He was OK coming back, I guess that this is because he has already covered the ground so there is nothing totally new to examine. Here he is at the trig with the Roseneath peninsula and the Clyde sea lochs in the background.....
 

and south over the Gryfe reservoirs to the higher hills to the south of the Park.....
 

Looking up the Clyde towards Dumbarton, Clydebank and I suppose Glasgow. That wind anemometer is a bit worrying, surely they're not planning on building a wind farm here?
 

Another photo of the sea lochs.....
 

We didn't linger too long at the top, it was too hot to sit about. So not a long walk but a good one.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Gairloch in May

Participants: Neil and Ben
 
A good forecast saw us heading for the north-west. I had booked self catering in Melvaig and there were lots of not too taxing walks around. I stopped overnight in Inverness on the way up and bagged the two TuMPS within the city boundary.
 
Craig Phadrig, 172m/331', P32, TuMP, OS 52, NO 091 234. A wooded hill on the west side of the canal with lots of paths. The summit area is the site of an iron-age fort, thought to have been built around 500 BC; all that remains are the grass covered ramparts which would once have stood 10m high.....
 
 
Unfortunately, the view is mostly obscured by trees but there was a glimpse of the Beauly Firth.....
 
 
Tomnahurich, 70m/230', P38, NH 655 441. The first TuMP that I have come across that is used as a cemetery. It is another wooded hill and the highest point is at the war memorial.....
 
 
 
Next day it was on to Gairloch. First stop was at Gairloch beach where a great walk started taking in the beach and a couple of wooded hills, both TuMPS.
 
An Ard, 48m/157', P33, OS 19, NG 806 752 and Ord na h-Eaglaise, 54m/177', P36, NG 810 753. The beach.....
 
 
Gairloch from An Ard.....
 
 
 A glimpse of the Flowerdale Grahams, Beinn an Eoin and Baosbheinn.....
 
 
Gairloch harbour from An Ard.....
 
 
The summit of Ord na h-Eaglaise. I didn't realise until I got home that it was Ben's 200th listed hill or I would have probably done these in the reverse order as An Ard is the better of the two. Stll, doubt if Ben minds!
 
 
There was time for another TuMP on the drive out to Melvaig. This one was more like a hill!
 
Meall Glac na Daraich, 161m/528', P32, NG 760 808.
 
 
It stands at the edge of a vast moorland; there are settlements all along the coast on both sides of the peninsula but inland it is all bleak moorland. The highest point is the Marilyn An Cuaidh, seen in the distance, more of which later.....
 
 
It was a great viewpoint for the hills to the east. The Flowerdale and Torridon hills.....
 
 
Skye on the western horizon.....
 
 
the Fannichs and Fisherfield.....
 
 
I had been in two minds about doing An Cuaidh. The reports that I had read talked about rough and wet moorland with nothing much to see when you got there. I think, however, that most folk must leave this Marilyn for an "off"/bad weather day and I decided that as it was on my doorstep, I had better do it.
 
An Cuaidh, 296m/971', Sub-2k Marilyn, NG 765 891. I could have made it a really short day by driving up to the masts that are visible for miles around but instead decided to park at the foot of the private road to them and walk. The view when we arrived at the masts was not encouraging, the moorland certainly didn't look like enticing walking (you can just see the trig on the distant highest point in this photo.....
 
 
However, after a couple of hundred yards faffing about in the peat bog, I was able to reach much better ground by heading slightly north where I found some higher ground. Approaching the trig.....
 
 
Ben at the trig.....
 
 
It was an atmospheric spot, I doubt if it gets many visitors, and the views of the surrounding hills, although distant, were terrific. The Fisherfield hills were the most prominent.....
 
 
 
but they were only a few among many. I was also able to identify Suilven, Stac Pollaidh, Slioch, Flowerdale, Torridon, the Cuillin, Dun Caan, Trotternish and Clisham in Harris. Not bad for a remote Marilyn.
 
One advantage of staying in the area was that I was on the hill early. So I was back at the car before noon and after visiting the lighthouse at Rhubha Reidh, decided that I had time for another hill in the afternoon.


Druim an Rubha Bhain, 129m/423', P74, TuMP, NG 749802. This one was across the road from Meall Glac na Daraich which I had climbed yesterday. Being closer to the sea, it was an even better viewpoint. Ben at the summit.....
 
 
Looking down on North Erradale with Skye background.....
 
 
Longa Island and Skye.....
 
 
The hills of Flowerdale and Torridon.....
 
 
The weather on my final full day at Melvaig was a bit overcast. I decided on a drive north to Aultbea taking in the HuMP of Meall a'Cliuth at Poolewe on the way. It stood at the head of Loch Maree so I reckoned would be a good viewpoint.
 
Meall a'Cliuth, 229m/751', P 104m, HuMP, NG 850 800. I parked at the start of a track to a mast on the hill and followed it all the way. The trig was only a matter of yards past the mast.....
 
 
 
As expected, not a bad view towards Loch Maree with the Corbett, Beinn Airigh Charr prominent.....
 
 
 
The next day was home. With the whole day ahead of me, I stopped at Strathpeffer and climbed Knock Farrel.
 
Knock Farrel, 218m/715', P36, TuMP, NH 505 585. This was an excellent walk, from the car park next to the old Youth Hostel up on to and along the ridge joining Knock Farrel and the Marilyn Cnoc Mor, which I had done on a previous occasion. The highest point was the site of another iron age fort and there were good views of Strathpeffer and of Ben Wyvis to the north. Definitely recommended if you're looking for a break on a drive north.
 
 
  
 
 

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Windy Hill and Craig Minnan, Muirshiel Country Park

12 May 2018

Participants: Just me
Where: Windy Hill, 315m/1,037', P52, TuMP, OS 63, NS 318 637 and Craig Minnan, 303m/994', P32, TuMP, NS 322 640
 
A short walk on a nice and sunny Saturday morning. The roads were quiet so it didn't take long to get to the Muirshiel Country Park Visitor Centre on the moor above Lochwinnoch. There are a number of marked trails from here one of which goes to the top of Windy Hill, a walk of no more than 30 minutes.....
 
 
Even if that was the end destination it would be worthwhile as it is a fine viewpoint. The cairn looking south-west to Misty Law with the Marilyn, Hill of Stake in the middle distance.....
 
 
The Park consists of high moorland, the Visitor Centre sits at a height of 250m. It is generally very wet underfoot and rough- the walk to and from Hill of Stake is one of the roughest that I have encountered. This is the view across the moorland in the general direction of the Clyde coast, hidden from view of course. There is a disused barytes mine up here.....
 
 
It was a bit hazy so the distant views could have been better, this is looking south to the distant Galloway hills.....
 
 
Windy Hill was not my final destination today, however. That was another TuMP to the north- Craig Minnan. Another volcanic plug but a different sort of hill altogether.....
 


It was a bit wet underfoot down on the moorland but I was soon over that and climbing the steep grassy slopes of this fine little hill. From here I was looking to the towns of Kilmacolm and Bridge of Weir and the Clyde.....
 
 
Looking back to Windy Hill.....
 
 
Then it was back the same way.....
 
 
with a stop at the Visitor Centre for a coffee before the short drive home.