Thursday, 22 September 2016

Another visit to Ben A'an

22 September 2016

Participants: Neil and Ben
Where: Ben A'an, Trossachs, a Tump

As it often does, the atmosphere had cleared after overnight rain so another walk was in order. When I climbed Ben A'an last year, the main path was closed for repair and the forest was being cut down. Both of these have really enhanced the walk, the path is a delight and there are views across the loch most of the way up (and down). The Forestry now charge £3 per day to park and claim that all the fees are channelled into path restoration work. You could get off with only paying £1 but that only gives you an hour; I for one certainly can't do Ben A'an in that time!! It's too nice a hill to hurry; there are some great views on a good day. The route is straightforward, just follow the path from the car park to the top and then reverse it. Here are todays photos.
 








 

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Minch Moor

17 September 2016

Participants: Neil and Ben
Where: Minch Moor, 567m/1,859', sub-2k Marilyn, Map 73, NT 359330

I headed to the Borders meaning to climb Cademuir Hill near Peebles but as I approached I saw that the forestry were busy chopping down trees on the summit ridge so carried on to Traquair for another ascent of the Minch Moor. It is a good walk with wide summit views and some interesting "extra" features. It was a warm day but the humidity of recent weeks had gone making it much more comfortable for walking. The views appear almost immediately, this is the view from near the start with my objective on the horizon.....


and this is looking back at Traquair and the Tweed valley.....
 
 
The Minch Moor is an old drove road  which at one time was the main route across southern Scotland. It has been in use for over 800 years, and is now part of the Southern Upland Way. It is the route by which Montrose and his cavaliers fled from Philiphaugh after the battle there.....


The track soon passed the site of the old Minchmoor bothy which the MBA decided to give up because of vandalism and problems with litter. Sadly, matters didn't improve after the SUW rangers took over responsibility for maintaining it and the building was subsequently demolished. It is not the only bothy that could be reached easily from a public road that has suffered that fate. There is now a horse memorial close to the place where the bothy stood; I hope that it receives more respect.

I was now clear of the forest and looking over Pipers Knowe where there is a "growing sculpture" created in 2005 by Charles Poulsen known as Point Of Resolution. It comprises large, irregular ovals cut into the heather. Couldn't see the point in it myself but it provided an excuse to stop walking for a few minutes. A little further on I came to the Cheese Well, a wayside spring whose name relates to the ancient custom of leaving presents of cheese for the fairies to ensure a safe and successful journey for the drovers who used this route from Traquair to Yarrow. Coins have replaced cheese today......


The path from the main drove route to the summit is signposted. All of this area is part of the Borders mountain biking system and there were a lot of bikers about.....


Fortunately, the biking trails are separate from the walkers route, although they converge at the summit.

Some views from the summit looking east.....



The trig with the hills around Windlestraw Law in the background (north side of the River Tweed)......


A view over Walkerburn.....


The familiar shape of the Eildon Hills in the distance.....


I returned by the same route. The visibility was really sharp by now and there was an excellent view ahead to the hills around Dun Rig.....


So the forestry work at Cademuir turned out to be lucky and gave me an excellent day on the wide open spaces of the Minch Moor.

 

Monday, 29 August 2016

Lendrick Hill

29 August 2016
 
Participants: Neil and Ben
Where: Lendrick Hill, a sub-2k Marilyn in the Ochils.
 
Up to now, I've always treated this hill as one to do in the winter months. So today I thought that I'd see what it looked like in the summer. Answer, a magnificent viewpoint. Mind you, the weather was something special, it would be a bit dreich if it was raining! I'll let the photos speak for themselves; they were all taken at the summit cairn.
 
Lendrick Hill over Castlehill Reservoir from Glen Devon Woodlands (see below).....


Looking towards Innerdownie.....
 
 
Zoom of Ben Vorlich and Stuc a'Chroin.....


Ben looking at the wind turbines on Steels's Knowe.....


North to another Innerdouny (the one covered in trees).....


Loch Leven and the Lomond hills.....
 
 
Ben enjoying himself.....


It was only a short walk so after the hill I drove round to Glen Devon and had a wander in the Woodland Trust area. What a difference they have made to this area since they took it over in 2,000. What were bleak hillsides are now alive with new growth and as the Trust land is fenced, they will stay that way, free from the ravages of sheep and deer. The woodland includes a number of hills including Seamab Hill, Innerdownie and Ben Shee and from the information leaflet that I collected, there look to be a good number of paths to explore with marked routes up to 14km in length. Lots of dog walks coming up in this area I think.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Meikle Bin

4 August, 2016

Where: Meikle Bin

A morning trip with Ben to Meikle Bin in the Campsie Fells, my nearest sub-2k Marilyn.



Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Blackwood Hill

1 August 2016

Participants: Just me
Where: Blackwood Hill, 447m/1467', Sub-2k Marilyn, OS Map 79, NY 531962

It was a long drive almost to Newcastleton in order to climb this hill. I was actually in two minds about whether to bother with it at all, as the map showed extensive forestry on its south-east side. I was glad that I did go, however, as it turned out to be a fine walk in very pleasant country. I had read about a route that involved almost all walking on the forestry roads but didn't fancy that. So I parked less than a mile from Steelroad-end at roughly 532938 where the forest had been cut down. The route that I had in mind went through some rough pasture and then alongside the forest edge to emerge on the ridge a couple of hundred yards east of the trig which is not the top. Looking back from part way up there was a good view of another sub-2k, Larriston Fells.....
 
 
and further round to the south-east, Peel Fell, just over the border into England......
 
 
There were a lot of electric fences about but fortunately there were also gates where I needed them. A further bonus was that the cows which obviously use these fields were grazing well down the other side of the hill.
 
This is the ridge that I now followed, again following a fence just outside the trees.....
 
 
Getting closer......
 
 
There were fine views to the west and the north from all the way along the ridge. Roan Fell was directly across the valley and I could easily make out the imposing bulk of Hermitage Castle, now a ruin but at one time an imposing border stronghold (towards the middle right in the picture).....
 
 
And here is a zoom of the castle.....
 
 
To the north of that were Caldcleuch Head and Greatmoor Hill, the former climbed many years ago from its north side and the latter still to do.....
 
 
There was a rough 4WD track along the ridge and I was soon at the highest point, marked by a tiny cairn right at the edge of the trees.....
 
 
I did think about descending one of the fire breaks but decided that I wanted more of the views so returned by my outward route. Just as well that I did, there was forestry felling taking place and a huge truck load of timber drove along the main forest road just as I arrived back at the car. However, the route that I took was 100% outwith forestry land and that is the way that I would recommend.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Meall nan Eagan

12 July 2016

Participants: Just me.
Where: Meall nan Eagan, 658m/2,159', Graham, Map 42, NN 597875
 
The forecast didn't look promising for the foreseeable future so as today was half decent, I decided to get out and climb this Graham which was my only unclimbed Marilyn in the area. I left the house reasonably early so managed a hassle free drive to Dalwhinnie. I parked at the entrance to an old quarry immediately opposite the track that is marked as an old drove route to Feagour which was also my route to the hill.....
 
 
There are a lot of new tracks in this area; this is a particularly unsightly one heading up the Fara.....
 
 
There was a diversion route past the keepers house and then it was back on to the track which now wound its way through a beautiful wee glen. My hill appeared in front of me for the first time.....
 
 
 
The track crossed the river a couple of times but as there were no bridges and it looked to be deep enough to get wet feet, I stayed on the north bank, where there were traces of a path. The track ended in a flat area that was a bit wet underfoot but not too bad going.....
 
 
I headed for the east ridge, a mix of heather, grass and rock outcrops but which provided not too bad going.....
 
 
From about half way up there was a good view east to the conspicuous Creag Dubh at Newtonmore and along Speyside.....
 
 
The sun had made a fleeting appearance as I approached the hill but by the time I reached the cairn I could see rain approaching from the west. The highest point was a few stones laid against an old fence post; this picture has the Fara in the background.....
 
 
Another view east to Strathspey.....
 
 
and the big Munros to the west, here, the Beinn Eibhinn group and Geal Charn south of Loch Laggan.....
 
 
There was also a good view into the deep gashes of the Dirc Mhor and Dirc Bheag to the north of the Fara but as the weather now didn't look very promising I didn't bother going down to have a look but simply headed back to the track. I got caught in a heavy shower as I walked back along the track. All in all however, it wasn't a bad day to make a visit to a bit of country that felt quite remote.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Little Conval

4 July 2016

Participants: Just me
Where: Little Conval, 552m/1,811', Sub-2k Marilyn, Map 28, NJ 294393
 
I had omitted climbing Little Conval when I climbed its twin, Meikle Conval, a few years ago and ever since had been wondering how I could fit it in without having to make a 200 mile plus round trip for it alone. Now was my opportunity.....
 
 
I drove round to Dufftown and parked in the Golf Club car park. There was no-one around to ask permission from and the course was almost deserted so I guessed that no-one would bother- I was right. The hill track started a hundred yards west of the car park, went through a field and meandered gently up to the col between the two Convals before continuing up the one that I was aiming for. This is a view of the slightly bigger Meikle Conval from the track.....
 
 
A little early sunshine soon gave way to cloud and there were a few showers about. However, all the tops were clear so it wasn't a bad day to be out. These are views of Meikle Conval and Ben Rinnes from high up the track.....
 
 
 
Although it seemed to be a fairly popular local walk, there wasn't much in the way of a cairn. This is it looking south to the Buck.....
 
 
and west to Ben Rinnes where a shower was passing over.....
 
 
There were lots of distilleries to the north.....
 
 
It was back the same way with the whole walk plus stops taking just 2 hours 15 minutes. Then it was down to Tomintoul for a plate of soup before the drive over the Lecht to Braemar and eventually home. It was raining from Stirling home, so I had had the best of the day.