Friday, 2 February 2018

A temple on a hill: Kenmuir Hill plus Law Hill

1 February 2018

Participants: Neil and Ben
Where: Kenmuir Hill, 77m/253', P35, Tump, OS 63, NS 387 606 and Law Hill, 85m/279', P33, Tump, OS 63, NS 385 666
 
I had often wondered, when driving along the A737 to the coast, what the octagonal shaped tower was on the top of the hill just before Lochwinnoch. I found out that the hill, Kenmuir Hill, was a Tump so there was an extra incentive to go and have a look.
 
It was a beautiful sunny day so I decided to take the long route and walk along the old railway track, now a walking and cycling route, from Castle Semple visitor centre. The loch here is very pleasant, this is a photo of it from near the visitor centre with the tower away in the distance.....
 
 
Ben on the track....
 
 
This area used to be Clan Semple land.  Castle Semple house has now gone but the ruins of the Collegiate Church can still be visited, just off the track. We walked about 2 miles before the tower came into view......
 
 
Unfortunately, a herd of sheep also came into view, grazing peacefully around the tower and I decided that rather than be dragged around the hill by an excited spaniel, I would put plan B into action, an approach from the Howwood side. It was a shorter walk from there and Ben could stay in the car. So we retraced our steps to the visitor centre, had a look around, wandered along the shore for a bit and then set off for Howwood, where there was a parking area beside the bridge over the river. I cut up across a couple of very wet fields to the east top of Kenmuir Hill which was also the highest point of the hill. There was a fine view from here towards Glasgow with the snow covered Campsie Fells beyond.....
 
 
The tower was only a short step from here.....
 
 
Apparently the tower, built around 1760, served no useful purpose. It was built as a landscape feature for people to see- a folly. It is referred to as Semple temple although there is no indication that it ever had anything to do with religion. Still, an interesting shape and building although most of the inside features and the roof are now gone.....
 


As I expected, there was a fine view down Castle Semple loch.....
 
 
Rather than face the late afternoon traffic congestion on the Kingston bridge, I headed for the Erskine bridge, going via Kilbarchan and Bridge of Weir. The Council must have run out of money, the potholes hereabouts were the worst that I have seen. There was of course an ulterior motive in going this way; there was another Tump, Law Hill, just outside Bridge of Weir which I could bag on the way. It turned out to be a short walk through pleasant woodland, with a reasonable view towards the city from the adjacent field.....
 


Another pleasant and interesting day trip.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Viewing an industrial landscape: North Queensferry hills

26 January 2018

Participants: Neil and Ben
 
Where: Ferry Hills, 71m/233'/P54m, Tump, OS 65, NT 129 812; Letham Hill, 95m/312'/P60, Tump, OS 65, NT 147 836; Pilkham Hills, 194m/636'/P32m, OS 65, NT 184 890.
 
This Tump bagging is certainly taking me to some new areas. I wanted to see the new Queensferry crossing, there were a few Tumps in the area, it was a nice day.....
 
Ferry Hills stands above North Queensferry. I parked on Ferryhill Road where it widened, walked back up the hill a bit to a gate and a track that took me to the top.....


The highest natural point seems to be a few yards west of the water board compound/reservoir. There was a good view of Rosyth Dockyard to the west and of course the motorway carrying traffic to and from the bridges. Still, there was a good view of the Ochil Hills beyond and in the distance I could just see some of the hills of the Highlands, still snow covered......


There was a massive quarry in the other direction, but beyond that a nice view of the river and Dalgety Bay, with a plume of steam rising into the sky in the distance- Moss Morran chemical plant, more of which later......
 
 
I could see the towers of the Queensferry crossing and the old road bridge.....
 
 
but to get a proper view I had to go down to North Queensferry itself. The new bridge is a magnificent feat of engineering.......
 
 
We had a walk around North Queensferry which is a nice wee village but I'm not sure that I would want to have 3 major bridges overhead! Guess that the locals are used to it though, the rail bridge has been there since 1890.
 
I headed next for Letham Hill, a wooded area on the outskirts of Dalgety Bay. It was a very pleasant walk with a path running along the spine of the hill. There were two or three spots alongside the path that could have made a claim to be the highest point.....



Next I headed towards Cowdenbeath for Pilkham Hills. There are a few Tumps in this area and this one looked as though it might be the best; several others are gradually being worn away by quarrying activity. I parked at the entrance to the wooded area at Culloloe, crossed the road, went over a stile and on to the hill. A finger post said that the track here was part of the old A9 road. Traffic was a lot lighter in those days. It was a nice walk up through the woods so it was a bit of a shock when I reached the top, I was looking straight down to the Moss Morran chemical plant.....


There were also a number of wind turbines including one a couple of hundred yards from the summit. This is looking towards Cowdenbeath with the Ochils in the background.....


Industry is necessary but imagine what a fine view this hill would provide were it not there! It was OK towards the river although even in this view you can see a turbine.....
 
 
I reckoned that that had been a good variety of hills so rather than do any more I decided on an antidote to industrial landscapes, a walk in Pittencrieff Park in Dunfermline. This is one of the best parks in Scotland, gifted to the town by Andrew Carnegie.....
 
 
Great for dog walking as well, and with a fine view of Dunfermline Abbey.....

It was almost spring like.

Friday, 19 January 2018

It's not golf- Byres Hill

18 January 2018
 
Participants: Just me
Where: Byres Hill, 55m/180', Tump, OS 64, NS 501648
 
A number of Tumps are also golf courses, including Byres Hill on the boundary between Glasgow and Paisley. The heavy snowfall that we have had in the past week provided an opportunity to bag it without having to dodge golf balls and golfers. Although the flags were still in the greens, the whole place was waterlogged with large snow patches; can't see any golf being played there for a while. The forecast wasn't very good with heavy showers forecast and sure enough, as I parked in a nearby street, I could see that heavy rain/snow was approaching. Still, only a short walk so I went for it.

On a good day, this would be a fine viewpoint. This was not a good day but it was still worthwhile. A fox scuttled past while I was taking photos at the trig.

The trig point.....


With Glasgow beyond.....


Glasgow again.....


Paisley.....


The precipitation that was approaching was clearly neither light nor short lived so I high tailed it back downhill as fast as I could. I just about made it to the car.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Braes of Fowlis

11 January 2018
 
Participants: Neil and Ben
Where: Braes of Fowlis, 247m/811', Tump P30, OS 52, NN 923249
 
It was thick fog in the central belt this morning but the forecast for elsewhere was good so I headed to Crieff for this Tump. The interest was not only in the hill itself but also in the Bronze Age monuments near to the summit- one standing stone, one similar sized fallen stone and the remains of a couple of stone circles. There were also the remains of two wartime buildings! This part of Strathearn is particularly good for burial mounds and standing stones; there are more at a farm slightly lower down the hill.
 
It turned out to be one of these hills where there is very little climbing involved as a road runs across the moor joining the Crieff/Perth road to the Crieff/Aberfeldy road. There was a small car park at the start of the walk, just inside a gate, and a track takes you to the top and beyond. This is grouse shooting country although a local I met said that the birds were in very short supply nowadays.
 
This is the approach to the monument.....
 
 
The standing stone (about 1.8m high) and a circle looking east.....
 
 
and looking north with some of the Ben Chonzie hills in the background.....
 
 
Despite its lack of height, this is a fine viewpoint. Ben Vorlich was prominent among the higher snow covered hills in the west......
 
 
If I'd had more time I would have carried on and climbed another couple of Tumps that are to the north. However, it had been a late start so I just went back stopping on the way to the main road at St Beans church in Fowlis Wester to have a look at a couple of 8th or 9th century Pictish slab-crosses.....
 
 
A trip just right for a short January day.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

A new year- Neilston Pad

7 January 2018
 
Participants: Just me
Where: Neilston Pad, 261m/856', Tump p49, OS 64, NS 477 551
 
A new year and after a long spell of grey and very wet weather, it was a cracking winter's day for my first walk. It was -6C when I started out and I even had to remove some ice from the inside windows of the car. I decided on something close to home, there were lots of Tumps to choose from Renfrewshire way so I ended up driving to Neilston to tackle one of the most prominent, Neilston Pad. I parked partly on a wide pavement close to the entrance to the track to Craig of Neilston farm, which was the route to the hill.
 
I followed the track past the farm which seemed to be deserted, took a left turn then a right to get on  to a broad path which slanted up the east side of the Pad. There were good views of Snypes Dam from here (why are all the wee lochs called "Dams" around here?).....



The path reached a fence from where it was only a short walk over tussocky ground to the top. Everything was frozen today but it looked as though this would be usually quite a muddy walk. The highest point was marked by a small pile of stones not far from a larger cairn which was the better viewpoint.....


Although it was clear blue sky and sunny, there was a bit of a haze which diminished the distant views. Nevertheless, I could see the snow covered Arran peaks to the south west over Commore Dam.....


but the view to Harelaw Dam was affected by the strong low sun......


There is a good network of tracks and paths on this hill so after returning to the fence, I headed on south west. This is looking back to the summit area.....


A combination of paths led me down to Craighall Dam. Neilston Pad rose steeply above it.....

 


A walk through a bit of Sitka forest took me along the loch shore and eventually back on to the track that I had started out on. There were a few more folk about now; the paths around the lochs seem to be a popular local walk. The weather helped but even without that I would have been impressed with this hill, which I would never have thought about had I not discovered Tumps. And there a lot more Tumps in this area; just right for short winter days!

Friday, 22 December 2017

Miscellaneous Tumps 3: Carbeth Hill; Binn Hill; Murie Hill; Tower Hill (Gourock)

14 November 2017. Neil and Ben. Carbeth Hill, 187m/614', OS 64, NS 530 789.
 
I had no great expectations of this hill but it got us out of the house for a couple of hours. Dull weather with a flat light didn't help either. We approached from the north, track to first hut, turn right on to another track, then through a gate on to a rough path that took us to the ridge. Highest point was a choice; I reckoned that in amongst the birch trees got it. Good view of Dumgoyne from lower down but otherwise not a lot to excite.
 





23 November 2017. Binn Hill, 172m/564', OS 53, NO 158 227
 
I was on my way to Dundee. I had climbed Kinnoul Hill just outside Perth last autumn and this was its neighbour, also with a tower on top. This is it from Kinfauns to the east.....
 
 
There is a handy road and a parking area to the north from where it is only a short walk up through some pleasant woodland.....
 
 
though the summit area was a bit of a mess.....
 
 
The tower, a folly, is not as spectacular as the one on Kinnoul Hill and is bolted and barred......
 
 
It had been frosty the previous night and the weather was great as were the colours, which will probably not last much longer; this is looking over the Tay to Fife.....
 
 
and a view to Kinnoul Hill.....
 
 
23 November 2017. Just me. Murie Hill, 52m/171', OS 53, NO 236 223

After Binn Hill, I diverted via Errol to do this one. It is difficult to believe that there is a hill in the low lying Carse of Gowrie but some masochist bagger had found this one. It just looked like a field to me. I parked up a track at the cemetery which gave me a walk of a few hundred yards. The highest point seems to be somewhere along the line of these fine old beech trees.....


29 November 2017. Neil and Ben. Tower Hill (Gourock) 97m/318', OS 63, NS 240 773

A glorious winter day- frosty overnight, snow on the higher hills, deep colours, drove me out. I needed a good viewpoint and Tower Hill in Gourock fitted the bill nicely. This it from Battery Park in Gourock.....
 
 
Of course it had a tower on top.....
 
 
Fantastic views over the Clyde estuary; to Dunoon, the Holy Loch and Strone point.....
 
 
to the mouth of Loch Long and Kilcreggan.....
 
 
to Helensburgh and the upper estuary.....
 
 
After walking on the hill, we went for another walk in Battery Park. The views were equally good. Strone Point (centre) and some of the Cowal hills.....
 
 
The Luss hills with a snow covered Ben Lomond in the background left.....


And that's it for 2017. I climbed 1 new Graham, 3 new sub-2k Marilyns, 14 new Humps and 55 new Tumps, as well as 12 hills that I had climbed previously. Now looking forward to 2018! Thanks to everyone who has looked at this blog; hope that you have enjoyed it and have had a great year yourselves.