Monday, 30 April 2018

Inchcailloch Island (Loch Lomond). Tom na Nigheanan and Tom na Nigheanan North top

30 April 2018

Participants: Just me
Where: Inchcailloch Island, Loch Lomond. Tom na Nigheanan, 85m/279', P77m, TuMP, OS 56, NS 411903 and Tom na Nigheanan North top, 67m/220', P34, TuMP, NS 414 905.
 
I had been waiting for a while for a suitable weather day to pay a return visit to Inchailloch Island. It's a popular destination even at this time of year so I set off early to avoid any crowds. The ferry leaves from Balmaha and it's only a 5 minute journey- a return fare of £5 is excellent value. The view from Balmaha is of Tom na Nigheanan North top.....



The island sits on the Highland Boundary Fault, the dividing line between the Highlands and the Lowlands. Around 450 million years ago, what is now Scotland was spread across five islands on the edge of the ancient continent of Laurentia. England was on a separate continent, Avalonia. Over the next 40 million years, the two continents moved towards each other pushing these landmasses together; the Highland Boundary Fault is where the two continents met.
 
At the time of my previous visit I had not heard of TuMPS so didn't visit the North top as the island path by-passes it. It is perhaps the least interesting bit of the island as it is rough and there is no view from the highest point.....
 
 
That certainly can't be said of the main top, it is a wonderful viewpoint for Loch Lomond and the surrounding hills and is the only part of the high ground that is free of trees. The woodland here is comprised of lots of ancient trees, a lot of them Oaks, which, when they die, are left to rot in order to provide a habitat for insects. So, off the paths it is hard going, especially in summer. This does however provide a habitat for deer, I glimpsed some Roe.
 
This is the high point looking to the Luss hills.....

 
The Luss hills, the Arrochar hills and Ben Lomond with the island of Inchfad in the foreground.....


How's this for a panorama.......


A closer up view of the Luss hills with Beinn Dubh centre.....


Ben Lomond of course.....
 
And another one of the Arrochar hills and Ben Lomond.....


Conic Hill above Balmaha. It also forms part of the Highland Fault line.....
 
 
I carried on along the path to Port Bawn at the southern end of the island. There is a beach here and a small area for camping. And a view down the southern end of the loch.....
 
 
The path now turns back up the island, this time following the north shore and providing a different perspective of the hills. Another panorama........
 
 
Ben Lomond.....


Luss hills.....


Both....
 
 
Further on, the path passes the remains of a dwelling, a farm. Farming here ended around the end of the 18th century when the island was given over to tree planting.
 
 
It is thought that around 1,300 years ago, St. Kentigerna settled on the island and established a nunnery. Inchcailloch means island of the old or cowled woman, so maybe named after her? Five hundred years after her death, a church was established which continued in use until 1770. The local people continued to use the cemetery for many years after the church fell into disrepair; the last burial was in 1947. I didn't have time today to study the gravestones- I had to get home to Ben- so that will be a reason for a further visit.....


So for today it was back to the pier and the return boat trip to Balmaha.....
  

Friday, 27 April 2018

Ben Thrush, Gartshore Bing

21 April 2018

Participants: Neil and Ben
Where: Ben Thrush, 456m/1,496', P47m, TuMP, OS 58, NN 987058

A return to the Ochil Hills for Ben Thrush which is on the east side of Glendevon and most easily approached by the Green Knowes wind farm road. It is a fine viewpoint overlooking the glen and made a pleasant short walk.





27 April 2018

Participants: Just me
Where: Gartshore Bing (Kirkintilloch), 101m/331', P35m, TuMP, OS 64, NS 686731

I'm not sure that I approve of disused coal bings being included in the British Hills database, maybe in 30 or so years time when they are just another piece of high ground in the landscape. However, I see this one in the distance from my house every day so I just had to climb it......


I have to admit that it is a fine viewpoint. Looking over Kirkintilloch to the Campsie Fells.....


The summit and Kilsyth.....


South over Lanarkshire.....

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Scottish Borders HuMPS, TuMPS and Towers

19 April 2018
 
Participants: Neil and Ben
Where: Bemersyde Hill, 229m/751', P57m, TuMP, OS map 74, NT 597 343, Lady Hill, 207m/679', P65m, TuMP, NT 635 345 and Peniel Heugh, 237m/778', P109m, HuMP, NT 654 263, with Scott's View, Smailholm Tower and the Waterloo Monument
 
At last, spring had arrived, and summer too judging by the temperature. It looked from the forecast as if there would be some cloud over a lot of Scotland (so what's new) with the best of the sunshine in the east of the country. So I headed to the eastern Borders.
 
First stop was Scott's View at Bemersyde, a view that features in a million calendars. And why not, on a day like today it is magnificent, looking west to the Eildon Hills. The broom was out too adding a good splash of colour to the foreground.....


Bemersyde Hill is immediately above the viewpoint, accessed by a gate opposite the car park. Same view but not so good as from the lower viewpoint.....


The top is a flat grassy field and the highest point seems to be a point about 50m south of the radio mast. The best of the view in other directions was north to Black Hill above Earlston.....


Then it was a few miles east to Smailholm Tower and Lady Hill to its west. The Tower is well worth seeing, a simple rectangular building sat on top of volcanic rock....
  


It was built in the mid-15th century when the Pringles were lairds of Smailholm estate and features strongly in the stories of the Border reivers. In the mid-17th century, the estate was sold to the Scotts. the most famous of whom was of course the poet Sir Walter Scott. The upper floors of the Tower now house an exhibition of costume figures and tapestries by Border artists illustrating the link between Scott, Smailholm and his Border ballads. The figures by themselves are worth the entrance fee; here are photos of a couple.....
 
 

I had brought Ben to the Tower as it was too hot a day to leave him in the car but of course he had to stay tied up outside while I wandered about. The sound of whining meant that I had less time than I would have wanted to see all of the detail of the exhibits; he was obviously anxious to get up the hill! Lady Hill is a ridge immediately to the west of the Tower; this is it through a Tower window with the Eildon Hills also in the frame.....


During the Cold War, the Royal Observer Corp erected an observation post on the summit, next to the trig. It was intended to be used to track high-speed jet aircraft.....


The Eildon Hills were with us all day.....


The trig and the Tower.....


South now, almost to Jedburgh, for a look at the Waterloo Monument at the top of Peniel Heugh. I had never been before, although I had seen it from a distance.....
 
 
It is 150 feet high and built between 1817 and 1824 to, of course, commemorate the Battle of Waterloo. Unfortunately it is not open to the public but the summit of the hill is an outstanding viewpoint. We approached it from a minor road to the west, through a wood initially and then across a field, all signed. The approach.....


This photo of the Monument with the trig to its left hand side gives a good impression of its height.....
 
 
 There is a seat just before reaching the Monument.....


and another view of the Eildon Hills.....


 
 
A grand bit of country.
 
 

Corkindale Law

5 April 2018
 
Participants: Just me
Where: Corkindale Law, 259m/850', P125, HuMP, OS 64, NN 440 568
 
Corkindale Law is south-west of Neilston. There had been another fall of snow, surely the last of the winter (?), which had made the already wet and muddy ground even worse. It made the limited parking spots close to the hill even more difficult so I parked at a spot just off the main road at Shillford and walked up the side road that passed the eastern end of the hill. I crossed a couple of fields to get on to the moor. On the way back I was followed by a flock of sheep and lambs who evidently thought that I had food for them- just as well there was a gate on to the road through which I nipped sharply. Another fine Renfrewshire view point. This is looking north to the highland hills.....
 
 
 
and south over Ayrshire to Arran.....
 

When will spring arrive this year?

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

TuMPS::Gubber Hill (Alloa); Craigend Hill (Erskine), Teac a'Mhinisteir (Loch Lomond), Philipstoun Bings North and South (Linlithgow), David Stirling Hill (Doune), Jamse's Hill, Mearns Law (Newton Mearns)

25 February 2018

Participants: Just me
Where: Gubber Hill, 71m/233', P30, OS 58, NS 878944

I did this one by train, it was only a short walk from Alloa railway station. The hill was better than I expected, a nice bit of woodland with views to the Ochil Hills.....




9 March 2018

Participants: Neil and Ben
Where: Craigend Hill (Erskine), 56m/184', P30, OS 64, NS 459 705

The Beast from the East, one of the worst snow storms in recent years, had put a temporary end to hillwalking. There were still large drifts about but the blanket cover had gone. Bigger hills were out of the question for me but this one, not far from home, at least got me started bagging again. It was another hill of rough scrub with masts at the top but at least there were laid paths. Quite good views, especially over the Erskine Bridge to the Kilpatrick Hills, but I would not like to venture up here at night.




13 March 2018

Participants: Neil and Ben
Where: Teac a'Mhinisteir (Loch Lomond), 93m/960', P72, OS 56, NS 373 960

This is a wooded hill just off the West Highland Way best approached from Sallochy.....


The highest point is only a few metres above the Way and close to some old posts; must have been some sort of building here at one time.....


The view was restricted and will be even more in summer. Ben Lomond was still snow covered and looks as though it might be for some time yet.....


It was a pleasant, mild day, and we went for a wander after bagging the hill. There was a good view down the loch.....


19 March 2018.

Participants: Just me
Where: Philipstoun Bing North, 115m/370', P40, OS 65, NT 058 769 and Philipstoun Bing South, 113m/370', P31, OS 65, NT 056 767

A number of former Bings were added to the Tump list fairly recently. Not sure that I approve but I suppose that in time when the vegetation fully grows they might be indistinguishable from other small hills. Anyway, while waiting for the latest snow to clear from the proper hills, I decided to have a look at those two.

I was pleasantly surprised by the North Bing. The view to the Ochils with the almost totally snow capped Perthshire hills to their left.....


The highest point with the Pentland hills beyond.....


The South Bing was more like a quarry.....


There were a number of candidates for the highest point but I reckoned that it was in these trees.....


The Ochils were visible again.....


This one was much more crumbly and there were some interesting "natural" sculptures.....


Interesting and different but bring on the real hills!
 
26 March 2018
 
Participants: Just me
Where: David Stirling Hill, 114'/374 P46, OS 57, NN 755 003
 
I had passed the statue on the Dunblane to Doune road a number of times without stopping and that would probably have continued if the parking area for the monument hadn't also been the parking area for a TuMP. Thus I was introduced to Colonel Sir David Stirling, an absolutely fascinating figure- check him out on Google. By birth he was an aristocratic Scottish landowner, he was a keen mountaineer who had planned to attempt Everest before WWII intervened but his greatest claim to fame was that he founded the Special Air Service. He personally led many excursions into enemy territory, he was captured and escaped and eventually ended up in Colditz. His post-war exploits were also notable! A memorial to him was erected in 2002 and his statue looks out to the hills of Perthshire. Somehow, I think that David Stirling Hill must be a recent name for this hill, pity it is almost flat and the highest point is in the middle of a field! But a great story.....
 



1 April 2018

Participants: Neil and Ben
Where: James's Hill, 283m/928', P62, OS 64, NS 486 527 and Mearns Law, 239m/784', P35, NS 507 534

I hadn't realised before I started climbing TuMPS just what good walking there was to be had on the high ground of Renfrewshire. Today was another example, a walk amongst the lochans just to the west of the A77. James's Hill is now part of the Middleton wind farm so there was a good track almost all the way to the summit (the high ground to the right of the left hand turbine).....


The turbines here are not the biggest but they certainly dwarfed the trig and Ben.....


Nice view over the lochs to the Clyde and the highland hills......


and to the Whitelee wind farm turbines to the south.....


Ben had to be kept on the lead; as I left the car a small deer ran in front of me, a fox ran across the hillside further up and when we got to the brow of the hill, there was a flock of sheep. Then it was back down the road for about a mile for Mearns Law, a flat topped hill with a good view of Greater Glasgow......