Thursday, 3 October 2019

Two Fife Tumps: Wether Hill and Springhall Hill plus part of the Loch Leven Heritage Trail

1 and 2 October 2019
 
Participants: Neil and Ben
Where: Wether Hill, 335m/1,099', P 61m, Tump, OS 58, NT 043 957 and Springhall Hill, 281m/923', P 30m, Tump, OS 58, NO 113 087 plus part of the Loch Leven Heritage Trail
 
I had passed Wether Hill north of Saline on a number of occasions and had read on the Hill bagging site that although its slopes were clothed in conifers, its summit was clear. Situated to the south of the entrance to Glen Devon it looked as though it would be a good viewpoint and so it proved. I parked at a track entrance at a wide bend in the road- just as well that I parked carefully and did not obstruct the gate as the farmer was exiting as I returned to the car! I followed the track uphill turning left on to another less used track at the first junction. After a while, I spotted a narrow firebreak heading upwards with an old fence at its side. I followed that easily out of the trees and on to some very long wet grass. It was only a short distance to the obvious high point.
 
Looking east I could see West Lomond above Loch Leven.....


Looking west it was a view up the Forth valley.....
 
 
The summit with the Ochil Hills in the background.....


The Ochil outliers further east.....


and a view south over the Forth with the old Kincardine power station prominent.....


The following day was again clear and sunny. I certainly hadn't intended going back to Fife but that's what I did. I had heard that the Loch Leven Heritage Trail was now open and I thought that it might provide some good views of the loch and surrounding hills. I couldn't resist diverting a few miles to the north of Milnathort in the direction of Path of Condie to take in one of a number of Tumps up that way. There wasn't much to Springhall Hill apart from a view of West Lomond.....



Then it was down to Kinross and the car park for the Trail. Ben at the lochside with Benarty Hill background.....


The hills to the south- Benarty Hill.....


Bishop Hill.....


West Lomond from the track.....


Unfortunately, the views of the loch were restricted for much of this section but at one point I spotted what looked like a bird watchers hut and decided to investigate. I'm certainly glad that I did as it overlooked a bay in which there were a large number of whooper swans. Winter must be on its way! They were a noisy group and I watched them for quite some time. The scene was made even better as the hut was in an ideal location for views of West Lomond and Bishop Hill across the loch.....



I reckon that I did about a 4 mille return trip but the complete circuit of the loch, about 13 miles, would be a great experience.
 
 

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Black Hill (Ochils)

23 September 2019
 
Participants: Just me
Where: Black Hill (Ochils), 357m/1,117', P 37m, Tump, OS 58, NN 967 045
 
A grey, drizzly, morning gave way to a bright and clear afternoon. A short walk was in order. Black Hill is a bit of an obscure Ochils hill, a conifer covered lump at the entrance to Glen Sherup and approached from the car park half way up Glendevon. I quickly joined the main forestry track that wound its way round the hill; I had read on the hill bagging website that there was a clear way up through the trees from the col between Black Hill and Innerdownie Hill. And indeed there was, one that was also used as a mountain biking track. So no need to duck and weave between branches. Only a few photos; firstly one of Ben Thrush across Glendevon from the main track.....
 
 
There were brief glimpses of Glen Sherup reservoir from the track.....
 
 
but I had to carry on up the main track about 20 yards further than I needed to in order to get a good view.....
 
 
but no view at all from the summit.....
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Milquhanzie Hill (Crieff)

17 September 2019
 
Participants: Just me
Where: Milquhanzie Hill, 352m/1,153', P124m, Hump, OS 52/58, NN 894 249
 
Back to a nice part of the world- the hills north and east of Crieff. Milquhanzie Hill is easily recognisable by the masts at its summit; it is on the opposite side of the A822 fro the Knock of Crieff, seen here from its lower slopes.....
 
 
I parked in a rough lay by north of Gilmerton opposite an old gate and went up the west ridge, an easy grassy slope populated by many sheep, hence no Ben today. Approaching the summit......
 
 
Looking at the map it seems that there is some doubt as to whether Milquhanzie Hill or Stroness Hill to the east which I climbed earlier this year is the Hump but Milquanzie has it on the hill bagging site. Whatever its designation, it is a fine viewpoint particularly looking west; Stuc a'Chroin and Ben Vorlich are middle left in this photo with Stobinian and Ben More to their right in the far distance..... 
 
 
The Ben Chonzie group.....
 
 
Looking to the Sma Glen.....
 
 
As usual at this time of year, the sun was in the wrong place for a good picture looking south, this time to the Ochil Hills.....
 

Mosscastle Hill (Glespin)

16 September 2019
 
Participants: Just me
Where: Mosscastle Hill, 414m/1,358', P 86m, Tump, OS 71, NS 842 235
 
This one is south of Glespin reached by a road that crosses the hills to Crawfordjohn. Coming from the north, it looks as though the hill is completely tree covered but in fact the south slopes, including the summit, are clear.....
 
 
There was good parking at the start and the slopes, although a bit wet in places, provided easy walking alongside an old wall. It turned out to be a good viewpoint. To the east was Tinto.....
 
 
The pointed hill to the north-west I think is Dungavel Hill.....
 
 
 
 
and south are the Lowther Hills with the radar dome easily seen today.....
 
 

Monday, 16 September 2019

Kirn Law (Glentress) and Grange Hill (Lamancha)

13 September 2019
 
Participants: Neil and Ben
Where: Kirn Law, 412m/1,352', P 57m, Tump, OS 73, NT 294 409 and Grange Hill, 383m/1,257', P 30m, Tump, OS 73, NT 201 513
 
I was interested to see the developments at Glentress forest at Peebles since I was last there some 15 or so years ago. Quite a change, it is now an mountain bikers paradise with shops, a café and lots of trails plus a Go Ape centre. However, as it was a Friday outwith the school holidays, it was fairly quiet and I stuck to the main roads until the final bit of the walk. It was a pleasant walk through the forest although there wasn't a lot to see. The final section to the summit was up an unmarked MTB path but it was short and there was plenty of space to get out of the way if a cyclist appeared, which a couple did. The summit area was vaguely familiar; I may have passed here in the dim and distant past on a walk to Dunslair Heights. Only a few photos.....




Rather than drive home by the route I had come, I decided to head in the direction of Edinburgh, take the A701 and pick up a small hill above Lamancha. I parked beside the houses from where a track ascended the hill; there were lots of sheep about so Ben was on his lead. The highest point was a few metres west of the trig and as I had expected, there was a fine view of the Pentland Hills with Arthurs Seat in the far distance. The photos.....







Saturday, 14 September 2019

Drunkie Hill (Trossachs)

10 September 2019
 
Participants: Neil and Ben
Where: Drunkie Hill, 187m/614', P 33m, Tump, OS 57, NN 538 046
 
Like most small hills in the Trossachs, Drunkie Hill is tree covered with some pretty awful vegetation to navigate to reach the top- if you can find that! Fortunately, a path runs along the side of the hill leaving only 50m or so of ascent through the jungle. The hill itself is reached by a Forest Drive from the Dukes Pass and there is a picnic area at the foot of the hill. There were some views through the trees but the real intention of the day was a visit to Aberfoyle and the Trossachs itself. Loch Drunkie from the Forest Drive.....
 
 
A glimpse of the loch from above the car park.....
 
 
Ben at the summit.....
 
 

Monday, 9 September 2019

Caisteal Dubh (Castle Dow)

7 September 2019
 
Participants: Neil and Ben
Where: Caisteal Dubh (Castle Dow), 340m/1,115', P 31m, Tump, OS 52, NN 929513
 
I was glad to see the back of August with it's heat, humidity and rain although September started very wet also. However, today was a brilliant early autumn day, just right for a trip to highland Perthshire. Castle Dow is a hill that looks from the map that it is in the midst of dense forestry. It's not, the walk up is through nice deciduous trees and the top is completely clear and a magnificent viewpoint. There is a small FC car park at the start of the track at Balnaguard.and the walk to the summit is about 2 miles in length. I was still experiencing pain in my back and thigh so I took it at a gentle pace. Ben on the track looking back......
 
 
The walk is waymarked so it is easy to find the rough path between the track and the summit, which is crowned by a large number of cairns. Some apparently date from the 19th century and no one seems to know why they are there. Most of the stones will have come from the remains of the Pictish fort and hut circles that adorned the summit area yonks ago- only traces remain. It was such a clear day that I stopped for a while; here are some photos.
 
Approaching the cairns with Ben Vrackie in the background.....
 

Ben at the main cairn and highest point.....

 
The cairns with Faragon Hill in the background.....
 
 
The view to Schiehallion and Faragon Hill.....
 
 
Looking over the Tay valley to Ben Vrackie.....
 
 
Looking south along the valley......
 
 
An excellent start to autumn!
 
 

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Pondery Hill and Castle Semple Collegiate Church

20 August 2019
 
Participants: Neil and Ben
Where: Pondery Hill, 119m/390', P 33m, Tump, OS 63, NS 328 488
 
The weather was better but the back/hip wasn't so just to keep the bagging ticking over, it was another of the low Tumps for me. Pondery Hill is east of Darvel in Ayrshire, a low wooded hill but clear of trees on top. A narrow road runs past the hill and there was a very convenient space to park at a gate opposite the entrance the start point. Through a kissing gate, I found an overgrown track that wound round and upwards and the trig soon came into view.....
 
 
 
The Arran hills were visible to the west.....
 
 
and the Ayrshire coast to the south west.....
 
 
After the short hill walk, I drove on to the Castle Semple visitor centre at Lochwinnoch where there is an excellent paved walkway along an old railway line. We went as far as the ruined Collegiate Church and had a look at that. It was founded in 1504 by John, Lord Sempill, in the grounds of his castle. An information board told me that the church was served by a senior priest, six chaplains, two alter boys and a church officer. Their main function was to pray for the souls of their founder and his family. Lord Sempill was killed at the Battle of Flodden in 1513 but the church continued in use by his family. It fell out of use after the Reformation although it continued as a burial enclosure. It has been looked after by Historic Scotland since 1949.....