Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Mailer Hill (Perth)

19 September 2017
 
Participants: Neil and Ben
Where: Mailer Hill, 182m/597', Hump, OS 53, NO 101 210
 
Mailer Hill can be seen from most directions as you approach or are in Perth; it is the hill with telecommunications masts on the west side of the motorway.....
 
 
There is a high car park on its east side so the amount of climbing required is minimal. The views from the car park were pretty good.....



The motorway has been driven through the hill so after a short walk through the wood, the path drops down to a pedestrian bridge over the road before rising again through more woodland and joining a track which comes up from the west......


There were cows in the field that contains the summit so I tied Ben to the fence before making my way into the field and up to the trig, which was being used as a scratching pole.....
 
 

 

It was a great viewpoint. Perth with the Grampians distant.....


west towards Stirling with the Ochils on the left and the familiar shapes of Ben Vorlich and Stuc a'Chroin distant right.....


and across Fife to the Ochils.....
 
 
If you have an hour or so to spare in Perth on a clear day then this is a really worthwhile walk.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Stuc Odhar (Glen Finglas)

17 September 2017

Participants: Just me
Where: Stuc Odhar (Glen Finglas), 638m/2,093', Hump, OS 57, NN551 088

In terms of actual height, Stuc Odhar would be classified as a Graham if it met the prominence criteria. It doesn't so is classified as a Hump. It is, however, a fine hill, rising from the shores of Loch Venachar which means that you have to climb most of its 638m if you want to bag it. The southern slopes are owned by the Woodland Trust who have created a network of paths one of which takes you well up the hill. I parked at the Little Druim car park, crossed the road and was on a well engineered path that contoured gently round and up the hill. Very soon Ben Venue appeared to the west.....
 

 
And a bit further up and I could see the Arrochar Alps in the distance.....
 
 
The path got a bit narrower and a bit wetter as I got higher and eventually reached the boundary of the Woodland Trust land at a high deer fence. They had however kindly provided a stile. The summit of Stuc Odhar was now in view.....
 
 
The going was a mix of heather and grass and was not too bad as I angled up onto the ridge. Almost there.....
 
 
The final slope was steep but I was able to angle round to the north to find a reasonable way up (and down). Ben Ledi is immediately to the north; I could see folk at its summit.....
 
 
But Stuc Odhar I had to myself, although I did meet a couple of parties on the Woodland Trust path who were doing the whole trail rather than taking in the hill. The weather was a bit dull although visibility was superb. Here are some photos taken from the highest point, which is about 15m west of the cairn. Ben Vane.....
 
 
The Crianlarich hills in the distance, Ben More and Stobinian with a little bit of cloud cover.....
 
 
And looking over Glen Finglas reservoir to the distant Arrochar hills.....
 
 
This is a hill that probably deserves more attention than it is likely to get, not being classified a Munro, Corbett, Graham or indeed a sub-2k Marilyn. The Trust have established a number of paths across their estate so there are plenty opportunities to investigate this area only an hour away from Glasgow if you don't want to climb the hill. Time taken was 4 hours 10 minutes.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Startup Hill

9 September 2017

Participants: Just me
Where: Startup Hill, 439m/1440', Hump, OS 72, NS 977 296
 
Down to the Border hills today- Startup Hill lies to the north of the main Culter hills and is approached from the village of Lamington. This is a view of it from A73 to the north......
 
 
I parked in the small car park at the church; it was a walk of only a couple of hundred yards along the main road from there to the start of the side road that went into the hills. I walked along that road as far as the farm at Baitlaws and then took to the east slopes of Startup Hill. There was still a bit of cloud about- this is looking to Tinto- but it was clearing.
 
 
The ground was very wet and when I came to a patch of bracken I was glad to find a sheep trod through it....or maybe it was a Humpers trod? Whatever, it didn't take too long before I was approaching the top, with Dungavel Hill to its right.....
 
 
The hill overlooks the Clyde valley and I could see all of the way to the Pentland Hills to the east.....
 
 
The clouds were pretty thick to the south, to the Culter hills, and it looks as though the massive Clyde wind farm is marching steadily north.....
 
 
No cairn or trig on this one but the highest point was obvious. With the cloud now cleared from Tinto.....
 
 
I started down, enjoying the view of Lamington Hill as I descended.....
 
 

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Creag an Fhudair (Kenmore Hill)

2 September 2017

Participants: Just me; Ben had an operation this week to remove a couple of fatty lumps and the wounds need to be kept clean, so no off-lead running about.
Where: Creag an Fhudair (Kenmore Hill), 515m, 1,690', Tump, OS 52, NN 780 436
 
Back to the "real" hills". I drove to Kenmore and took the hill road that goes over to Amulree. After about a couple of miles, a track goes off to a small car park (signposted by the estate) and from there a path goes to pretty near the summit providing a fine walk through a mix of old and new Scots Pines. High up, the path reaches a viewpoint marked by a very large cairn.....
 
 
 and shortly after, starts to descend to form a loop back to the car park. The summit is not far above across fairly short heather. There were a number of knolls each with a cairn but the highest point for some reason only attracts a couple of stones.....


As expected, the hill is a very fine viewpoint. This is looking east to Meall Tairneachain and Farragon Hill with Beinn a'Ghlo in the background.....
 
 
Along Loch Tay to Ben Lawers and its neighbours.....


Across the moors to Creagan na Beinne.....


and north over Kenmore village to Schiehallion.....
 
 
There are a number of wind farms to the south and unfortunately they appear to be creeping closer. There appeared to be a new track running across the moor from Loch Tay and a couple of wind turbines on the next hill to the south. Whitelee is the place for turbines, not here! This is also grouse shooting territory and I heard a number of shots as I sat at the cairn. Rather than continue on the loop, which seemed to disappear into the forest, I went down the same way to keep as much of the view as possible. The colours are getting to their best at this time of year; this is another photo looking to Farragon Hill.....
 
 
I drove back over the hill road through Glen Quaich. It was popular, just as well there are a few passing places and it now has a reasonable surface. I remember when it seemed to receive no upkeep at all but then it is many years since I had been here. The area looks worthy of further exploration. I've put it on my "to do" list before the turbines take over and of course outwith the grouse rearing and shooting season.
 
 

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Hills among windmills

21 August 2017
 
Participants: Neil and Ben
Where: Blackwood Hill, 309m/1014', Tump, OS 64, NS 544 484 and Ballageich Hill, 333m/1,093', Tump, OS 64, NS 532 502
 
Todays dog walk was among the windmills at Whitelee windfarm. Not sure if it is still the largest in the UK but if not, its successor must be huge. I don't mind turbines, if they are in the right place. Whitelee, which is desolate moorland to the south west of Glasgow, is in my view ideal. Scottish Power have done a great job here, creating a leisure area in amongst the turbines for walkers, dog walkers, runners, cyclists, horse riders. There are a number of signposted routes, the longest of which is 22 miles, which gives an indication of the scale of the place. Their publicity blurb says that the windfarm covers an area greater in size than Glasgow. And there is a visitor centre with an excellent cafĂ©.
 
There was of course an ulterior motive in us going to Whitelee- the area contains a number of Tumps. Blackwood Hill was on the to do list, only a couple of miles from the visitor centre. This is a view of it from the road to the north; the hill is the long ridge towards the centre right of the photo.....
 
 
The moorland about here certainly is rough.....
 
 
But the turbines in this setting are fine, at least to my eyes and ignoring thoughts of the subsidies paid to the companies for actually generating electricity (and for not generating electricity).....
 
 
We walked past the end of Lochgoin reservoir....
 
 
and up a path to the top of Blackwood Hill, on which Scottish Power have built a topograph and have placed seats for visitors to sit and enjoy the view.....
 
 
I had intended to carry on to do Dunwan, another Tump, but the local farmer had unhelpfully decided to park a herd of sheep on the approach slopes and as I didn't fancy being dragged up and down the hill by an excitable spaniel I decided to leave this one for another day. So it was back to the visitor centre for a cup of coffee and on with plan B.
 
This involved a short drive along the road to a layby at the foot of Ballageich Hill, which is outwith the windfarm. This was much more like a real hill, tussocks and upland bog. There were traces of a path.....
 
 
but generally it was find your own way to the small pile of stones that apparently marked the highest point.....
 
 
The views weren't bad for a hill of this height, north to Glasgow with the Campsie Fells beyond (you can make out the distinctive shape of Dumgoyne).....
 
 
and west to the Ayrshire coast with the Arran peaks just visible in the distance.....
 
 
A short day, but it was all that I was looking for as the clouds were steadily building up.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Ben Shee (Ochils)

13 August 2017

Participants: Neil and Ben
Where: Ben Shee, 516m/1,693', Tump, OS 58, NN 952 039

I was back in the Ochils quicker than expected! There was a good weather forecast for the morning but with rain then moving in from the afternoon. So a walk in the east seemed best. This time I parked further up Glendevon in the Woodland Trust Glen Sherup car park. A marked Trail which goes all the way to the summit of Ben Shee starts from there. The first mile or so is through Forestry Commission conifers after which a path drops down to the head of Glensherup reservoir. There were a lot of boats out and there was a fine view along the water to the upper glen with Tarmangie Hill in the far distance.....
 
 
We crossed the reservoir dam, passed the fishermen's' hut and went through a gate on to Woodland Trust land. Just as well there was a path- the ferns were head high.....
 
 
The Trust has planted thousands of trees and they are certainly a big improvement on the conifer plantations. However, they look as though they are going to become almost as impenetrable in places. Ben Shee came into sight above us.....
 
 
The path went well past the end of the reservoir before it took a right turn and headed up hill. There was a fine view back spoiled somewhat by the Steele's Knowe wind turbines.....
 
 
The path went up the west side of Ben Shee.....
 
 
and eventually levelled out providing a view into the next glen. Not sure what it's called- maybe it's the upper reaches of Glendevon as it contains the two Glendevon reservoirs.......
 
 

There was no chance of getting lost.....
 
 
and we were soon at the summit. There was nothing to mark the spot but it was a fine perch, with Fife's Lomond Hills in the background.....
 
 
I reckon that this is one of the best viewpoints in the Ochils. You are looking straight up Gleneagles with Ben Chonzie and its surrounding hills in the distance..... 
 
 
The two Glendevon reservoirs.....
 
 
And I think best of all a view of the wide expanse of this range of hills with Ben Cleuch in the distance. Just a pity about the wind turbines. You could wander for miles up here without seeing anyone else; I certainly had it to myself while I would imagine that the higher hills around Ben Cleuch would have had a steady stream of visitors......
 
 
Ben certainly liked it!.....
 
 
We could have carried on over the hill and made a round but I thought that there might be sheep on the non-Woodland Trust land so decided just to go back the same way. A good way to spend a Sunday morning and I spotted plenty more hills that I hadn't yet visited.