Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Black Hill (Forth)

20 March 2020

Participants: Neil and Ben (although Ben stayed in the car!)
Where: Black Hill (Forth), 283m/928', P 30m, Tump, OS 65, NS 965 514

My last hill for quite a while as the covid-19 virus pandemic has now led to lock-down restrictions. Probably apt that this was one of the bleakest "hills" imaginable. I parked by an old gate, and crossed some rough ground with a barely perceptible increase in height to a "choose your own tussock" which might or might not be the high point. Then we went for a short walk along the Blackhill 2 wind farm track- much nicer.





Saturday, 21 March 2020

Barr Wood Hill (Stirling)

19 March 2020

Participants: Just me
Where: Barr Wood Hill, 154m/505', P 34m, Tump, OS 57, NS 790 868

In line with Government advice, all my hill walking will be within a short distance of home for the foreseeable future. Exercise is important, there is only myself and Ben in the car, and social distancing is easy on the Tumps. I am already finding myself doing hills that I never imagined that I would ever do!

Barr Wood Hill is just south of Stirling and is normally home to a major scout camp. However, no scouts will be there for a while now so I was able to wander about without hindrance. I parked at the end of a minor road to the south and walked up the track to the scout car park.....



There were a number of paths heading across and up the hill and it was simply a case of following these until I spotted the high point, or more accurately a couple of them. I visited both just to be sure. There had been tree thinning going on so there were some views, including a good one to the north to the still snow covered Stuc a'Chroin and Ben Vorlich.....





A very pleasant wander.

Monday, 16 March 2020

Newburgh Wood (Comrie)

15 March 2020

Participants: Neil and Ben
Where: Newburgh Wood, 214m/702', P 57m, Tump, OS 57, NN 799 204

The weather cleared up about 1.00 so Ben and I jumped in the car and headed towards Comrie to have a dander up the Tump, Newburgh Wood. There was space for a few cars at the end of the track opposite the house at Glentarf. This is another hill where the trees are being felled and the track has been extended almost to the highest point. It has also of course opened up the views. A pleasant short stroll.

The approach.....


The view to Crieff from the track.....


Ben at the summit.....


Looking south to Ben Clach.....


Looking north to Ben Chonzie.....


Looking west to Ben Halton.....


Saturday, 14 March 2020

Cairnoch Hill (Carron Valley)

13 March 2020

Participants: Just me
Where: Cairnoch Hill, 413m/1,355', P 123m, Hump, OS 57, NS 698 857

With Corona-19 sweeping the country and amid everything shutting down, I decided to get away from it all for a few hours and get another hill walk in. I had looked across the Carron Valley reservoir at Cairnoch Hill on many occasions but it had a bit of a reputation as a forestry struggle so hadn't bothered tackling it. However, extensive felling had taken place recently and I had read a report on FB that said that the introduction of new forest roads had meant that there was now an easy route from the north.

I started at the track to the ruins of Sir John de Grahams castle. Sir John, a loyal supporter and friend of Sir William Wallace is though to have lived here. He died at the battle of Falkirk in 1298. Wallace escaped the battlefield and may have come to the castle following his defeat. The building is thought to have been a substantial timber framed hall defended by a moat; it is certainly impressive. I doubt if it is much visited.....



The forestry track curved along the north side of the hill at a gentle angle before heading upwards and running along the south side. The detailed instructions are first left shortly after leaving the castle, right at the next junction passing a quarry high up, onward for a bit to turn left up a new track which ends at a small quarry, leave the track here and climb directly up the rough hillside  and the trig is a few hundred metres further on. The summit area was clear of trees apart from a few recent plantings. There were excellent views of the Carron valley and the reservoir from the upper part of the track.....





Approaching the trig.....


The view north with a snow covered Ben Ledi in the distance.....


The view to Meikle Bin.....


Thursday, 5 March 2020

Tumps around Carnwath

4 March 2020

Participants: Neil and Ben (Ben Cocklaw Hill only)
Where: Cocklaw Hill, 310m/1017', P36m, Tump, OS 72, NT 042 428, Bellscraigs Hill, 307m/1007', P49m. Tump, OS 72, NT 026 422, and Kilncadzow Law, 320m/1050', P58m, OS 72, NS 889 487

Three easy Tumps around Carnwath in Lanarkshire today. Cocklaw Hill is a Christmas tree farm but that meant that there were lots of tracks from the road to the summit area, albeit a bit on the muddy side today. I parked at double gates on the minor road to the south and found a space under the fence to get Ben through .....


The high point was outwith the trees and seemed to be just outside what was marked as a fort on the map; there was little evidence of a former settlement. Here is Ben at the high point with the Marilyn, Black Mount, in the distance.....


It was a surprisingly good viewpoint looking south to Culter Fell and to Tinto.....



It had only been a short climb so before moving on, I took Ben for a short road walk. There was a touch of warmth in the sun and it was very pleasant. Then it was on to Bellscraigs Hill, which was even easier. The road went close to the high point which was situated in pasture.....


It was however a fine open viewpoint, this is looking towards Tinto from the high point.....


The final Tump of the day was Kilncadzow Law.....


I parked at the end of the farm track, walked up it a bit before crossing a very wet field, climbing a wall and walking a few yards across another field to the trig.....



A pleasant, easy day out.


Tuesday, 3 March 2020

New England, Dalmeny

3 March 2020

Participants: Just me
Where: New England, 68m/223', P 31m, Tump, OS 65, NT 164 783

 The weather had improved but there were forecast showers in the west but sunshine in the east so I headed back to Queensferry to complete the Dalmeny estate Tumps. A view of the bridge in the (fairly) early morning sunshine.....


I followed the shore track, branching off towards Mons Hill but following another track along its north side before descending to the col between Mons Hill and New England. A view down the Forth towards Cramond Island and Edinburgh from the track.....


The woodland on New England was fairly open but it was a bit messy compared to the other two hills. The high point was obvious though- beside an old wall which provided a nice seat in the early spring sunshine.....


I descended to the side of a large pond and rejoined the track which I followed east to join the shore track about a mile and a bit further on from where I had left it. Another view of Cramond Island and Edinburgh.....


The walk was almost 6 miles in length and by the time that I got back to the car I was feeling every yard of it. Age, and my past illnesses, are fast catching up on me. I certainly couldn't do the bigger hills now and shall have to concentrate on the Tumps. Still, a lot of them, although low, are in impressive situations. I shall keep going as long as I can; I haven't given up on reaching the Tump Hall of Fame yet!

Friday, 28 February 2020

Mansion Hill (Dalmeny)

27 February 2020

Participants: Just me
Where: Mansion Hill (Dalmeny), 82m/269', P34m, Tump, OS 65, NT 162 775

February has been a rotten month this year if you wanted to climb hills- wind, cloud and rain most days. Today was nice though, albeit with a bit of a cold northerly wind but that resulted in a clear atmosphere and lovely views. I headed back to Queensferry to do another of the three Tumps on the Dalmeny estate. I left the car in the car park at the rail bridge, even on a February day there were a lot of tourists about and I had to search for a space. I then headed up the pavement alongside the B924 as far as the Chapel Gate entrance to the estate. Mansion Hill.....


I followed the estate road for a bit before cutting over to a gate at the corner of the field that is the north side of the hill. There was another gate at the top of the field that let me into the wooded area that contains the highest point. The woodland is fairly open so no problem although there was no view.....


Back at the edge of the wood I got a good view down the Firth of Forth past Granton to the distant Isle of May and North Berwick Law.....


and across the river to Fife.....


I did think about carrying on to add my remaining required Tump on the estate- New England- but decided to leave it for another day. If this weather pattern continues I will need some more short day trips.

Back at the car, there was a great view of the road bridges with the snow covered Ochil hills beyond....


Saturday, 8 February 2020

Five Sisters Bing (West Calder)

6 February 2020

Participants: Just me
Where: Five Sisters Bing, 231m/758', P 73m, Tump, OS 65, NT 00750 64052

I've climbed the Five Sisters ridge in Kintail a couple of times; you couldn't get much different with the Five Sisters bing in West Lothian. Here it is.....


I parked on the road to the north beside the entrance to what seemed to be a woodland walk; the entrance to the bing was a couple of hundred yards to the north. There was evidence of cows in the field although no sign of them today. The sides of the bing(s) were very steep but fortunately there were more gentle slopes to the east side. The highest, and the Tump top, was no. 2, counting from the north. There were signs of a path lower down but it was make your own way through broom and hawthorn higher up. The high point was particularly difficult to reach.....


From slightly lower down, I got a view of the three southern bings.....


and a view of bing number one.....


Although there wasn't a path up the highest bing, there was up the northern one. It was also clear of vegetation so of course I went up. Not a bad view looking to the Pentland hills.....


Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Mons Hill (Dalmeny)

4 February 2019

Participants: Just me
Where: Mons Hill, 119m/390', P64m, Tump, OS 65, NT 154 785

It was a late start to my hill walking in 2020 courtesy of a fall at the end of December resulting in a cracked rib. Although I had been walking on the flat, and this was an easy Tump, I was horribly unfit! Still, it was a beautiful day and a pleasant hill. 

I parked in the car park beside the Forth rail bridge in South Queensferry. Despite the hundreds of times that I have seen it, the bridge never fails to amaze. It is becoming much more touristy here and there is talk of a visitor centre. Some photos of the bridge from the car park and from the early stages of the walk.....





It has been another snow less winter, at least so far, and spring was definitely in the air. The snowdrops were out......


For the first mile, my route followed the shore track which is also part of the John Muir Way. Mons Hill came into view.....


I then headed up another track between fields to arrive at a tarmac road which I crossed. The way to the high point then followed a rough track; there was a notice at it's start suggesting that folk stay on the tarmac track due to wildlife management issues. However, this seems to refer to pheasants for shooting rather than any "wildlife" as there were a few feeding stations (but only one pheasant observed today). It was not a GOML type notice and I was perfectly within my rights to go on so of course I did. There were views to the bridges from the path.....


but the high point was in a clump of rhododendron bushes.....


I returned by the same route.