Friday, 24 March 2017

A visit to Fife and Dollar- Craigluscar Hill and Law Hill

24 March 2017
 
Participants: Neil and Ben
Where: Craigluscar Hill, 228m/748' (Tump) ), OS 58, NT 059 909 and Law Hill (Dollar), 202m/663', Tump, OS 58, NS 976 992
 
There was a lot of high level cloud about which made it a poor day for photography. However, after an overnight frost, it felt very spring like so it was a day to be out and about. I lived in Dunfermline for a short while when I was a kid and I remembered Craigluscar as somewhere I used to cycle to. Whether I had ever climbed Craigluscar Hill I couldn't remember but I guess that I probably had. I don't know why I decided to have another look- probably because it was now on a hill list- but anyway I did. Although small in height, it has a bit of crag about it.....
 
 
It was also the site of a hill fort, although if there hadn't been a history board I would never have guessed.....
 
 
I remembered the hill as being a bit of a green mound but now it has a community woodland on it's south facing slopes. It was pleasant woodland especially as the buds were starting to appear on some of the trees. I also saw my first skylark of the year and a brightly coloured Bullfinch. I went to the west top to get a view along the crags.....
 
 
There was a nice network of grassy paths running along the ridge; this is looking in a westerly direction......
 
The highest point isn't marked but it looked as though it is on the middle top somewhere. Good views of Saline Hill and Knock Hill to the north.....
 
 
and across Craigluscar Loch (a nature reserve) to the river Forth and the Pentlands.....
 
 
The day was still young so I decided to travel home via the Hillfoots. There was another community woodland marked on the map just east of Dollar reached by the narrow back road so I headed there. It's highest point was also a Tump- Law Hill- and I thought that there might be a good view of some of the higher Ochil hills from there. It's top was quite distinctive, a small strand of old pines.....
 
 
This woodland was nothing like as pleasant as the other one. While there were some deciduous trees most of it was planted spruce. The paths were also very muddy, this looks as though it is a popular dog walking area. And talking of dogs.....
 
 
The path crossed a small stream, then a style over a fence, and the top was in sight, reached about 10 minutes after leaving the car.....
 
 
The highest point was somewhere in the clump of trees.....
 
 
there was a reasonable view of King's Seat Hill above Dollar.....
 
 
and Knock Hill and Saline Hill appeared again, this time to the south.....
 
 
I'm quite enjoying these small hills, but getting impatient for a settled spell of weather lasting a few days at least so that I can get up north.
 

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Craigmore, another little hill with a big view

9 March 2017
 
Participants: Neil and Ben
Where: Craigmore, 387m/1270', Tump, Map 57, NN 510020
 
I had often looked up at Craigmore from Aberfoyle and thought that it must be a hill with a good view.....
 
 
Today was the day that I found out. I parked in a lay-by on the Duke's Pass and walked back along the road for about 100 yards to a path which looked as though it would go up the hill. It did, a bit wet in places but perfectly pleasant walking. The sun was out, the temperature was touching double figures and spring definitely felt in the air. Spot Ben in this picture taken on the ascent.....
 
 
I was almost at the top before I got the view that I was looking for- along Loch Ard to the still snow covered Ben Lomond.....
 
 
 
There wasn't much of a cairn, just three stones, but then Craigmore is really just the eastern top of a long ridge that stretches all the way to Ben Venue. However with a drop of 40m to the next top along it qualifies as a Tump. Talking of Ben Venue, here it is behind Ben with Cruach Ardrain and Stobinian the snow covered hills beyond.....
 

The Duke's Pass and Ben Ledi.....


and east to the Craig of Monievreckie and Beinn Dearg.....


Beyond Craigmore, the path disappeared and the going looked exceptionally rough. So I didn't bother; I doubt if the views would have been much better until well along the ridge.

Another good day but I now need to find some new bigger hills; the next 3 months are usually the best hill walking months of the year.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Dun More- Lord Melville's Monument and the Deil's Cauldron

1 March 2017
 
Participants: Neil and Ben
Where: Dun More (Lord Melville's Monument), 257m/843', Tump, Map 51, 52, NN 766234
 
On the days with less daylight, I'm visiting some Tumps, but only those with a bit of interest. On previous visits to Glen Lednock, I'd spotted a tall monument on a hill just north of Comrie and wondered what it was. So today I went to find out. There was a small parking area immediately below the monument and from there it was a steep but short climb through the forest on a reasonable path. The monument is certainly a fine structure. It is to the memory of  Henry Dundas, Viscount Melville, the same chap who looks down on the citizens of Edinburgh from the middle of St Andrew Square. It always amazes me how various rogues and less pleasant types manage to get noticeable monuments erected to themselves (the Duke of Sutherland comes to mind as a prime example). Melville apparently was not too keen on abolishing slavery.......
 


 
The inscription reads:

Erected AD 1812
To the Memory of Henry Dundas
Viscount Melville, Baron Dunira
by
His personal friends in the county of Perth
in grateful recollection of his public services
and of his private virtues
Died 29th May 1811 Aged 69

The view over Comrie is fine.....
 
 
that up Strathearn not quite so, being a bit obscured by trees......
 
 
The highest point of the hill looks as though it is just inside the fence that surrounds the monument; there was a small hole in the wall supporting the fence but as it would have involved wriggling through and as my head was well above the highest point, I didn't bother.
 
After my monument visit, I left the hill by a wide track heading north-west and headed up to a spur on the next hill along, which was free of trees and therefore a much better viewpoint. This hill and the next two along the ridge are also classed as Tumps but as I am not desperately bagging Tumps I didn't bother going on. There was a good view back to the monument with the Marilyn Torlum beyond (and the Lomond Hills in Fife on the left hand horizon).....
 
 
Ben Chonzie was prominent from this part of the walk.....
 
 


 
To the west was Mor Bheinn with a still snow covered Ben Vorlich beyond......
 
 
I took Ben back to the car and then headed down some steep wooden steps to have a look at the Deil's Cauldron, a series of waterfalls in a narrow and steep sided gorge. Quite impressive.....
 
 
 
I then shifted the car nearer to Comrie and walked back along the river path, this time with Ben, to have a look at a smaller waterfall, the Wee Cauldron.....
 
 
So, all in all, a very pleasant day out.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Black Hill, Bridge of Allan

20 February 2017
 
Participants: Neil and Ben
Where: Black Hill, Bridge of Allan, 226m/741', Tump, Map 57, NS 809980
 
Grey and cloudy, day after day this year in the Glasgow area. No sign of a prolonged spell of bright weather on the horizon. And this morning it rained. However, about noon, it started to clear, the Campsie Fells appeared and amazingly the sun came out.
 
There was still time to take advantage. The nearest and easiest Marilyn was Dumyat at the west end of the Ochils, a hill that I had climbed many times before but not for a few years now. So off we headed. Arriving at the high car park on the Sheriffmuir road, I realised that I would not be climbing Dumyat. A big flock of sheep grazed the hillside so Ben would have to go on his lead. And Ben on a lead at the start of a walk is a nightmare. Fortunately I remembered that the hill on the opposite side of the road above the car park was a Tump and one that I had not climbed before. Although it was heavily wooded, it would at least give us some exercise. In fact, it was a very pleasant walk through the trees.....
 
 
and it didn't take long before I could see the summit area.....
 
 
The trees had been cleared from the top of the hill leaving the usual mess of brash. The hill-bagging site helpfully provided the information that the highest point was "ground by a tree stump". Hmmmm!!!
 
 
At least there was a view. This is looking towards Ben Ledi, Stuc a'Chroin and Ben Vorlich......
 
 
And to Ben Chonzie.....
 
 
Stuc a'Chroin again.....
 
 
It was like a spring day, a temperature of 12 degrees and only a few snow patches visible on the distant hills. We headed back to the track and had a wander along some of the other laid out trails on the hill slopes before making our way back to the car, Dumyat ahead......
 
 
A short walk but extremely pleasant. But I need to be careful.....I seem to be starting to collect Tumps!

Friday, 10 February 2017

Whinney Hill, an unexpected Tump

10 February 2017

Participants: Neil and Ben
Where: Whinney Hill, 164m/538', Tump, Map 56, NS 399842

I had seen reports of occasional brilliant weather conditions in parts of the country, in particular north-west Scotland, but not wanting to travel long distances at this time of year, I was confined to canal walks with Ben under mostly grey skies. There is only so much of the same walk that I can take however so, although it was grey and snowing when I left the house this morning, I trusted the forecast that said it would be great visibility further west and headed in the direction of Loch Lomond. I stopped at Duncryne, which is a favourite wee hill at Gartocharn, but it started snowing again as I reached the top.
 
What to do now? There was no sign of any better weather, so no point in travelling much further. It looked like either the shopping centre at Loch Lomond Shores or a walk up Bromley Muir above Alexandria. I plumped for the latter, but couldn't find the road that would take me to the start (although I had been there last year). So I decided on a walk in Balloch Country Park instead. There were some signs that it might be brightening up when I started off.
  
I reached the northern limit of the country park and vaguely thought that the hill above was a Tump. So out with the phone to confirm- it was and looking at the reports on the hill bagging site there was a path a lot of the way. Decision made, and some blue sky was starting to appear. From the loch-side, I followed a rough path up the side of the Burn of Balloch and crossed a road that led to Boturich estate. I was now in some very pleasant woodland on the upper slopes of Whinney Hill, looked after by the Woodland Trust, a charity that is well worth supporting. And they had constructed an excellent path to aid progress.....
 
 
Like most small, wooded hills, the highest point was not obvious. It is somewhere here, at the other side of an old wall from the path.....


The only problem with wooded hills like this is that the views are a bit scarce but there were glimpses of the snow covered Luss hills to the north.....
  


The better weather had arrived at last, this is looking at Bromley Muir from the path.....


So I didn't do any of the things that I had thought that I would do with my day but instead bagged a Tump that I didn't really know existed. Result!
 

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Annual walk to Craig of Monievreckie

4 January 2017

Participants: Neil and Ben
Where: Craig of Monievreckie, a sub-2k Marilyn above Aberfoyle
 
What a glorious day it's been. Stupendous visibility yet warm enough to sit around at the summit. Would have been different on the higher hills no doubt but at this time of year, a sub-2k fits the bill perfectly. Wasn't sure what hill I was going to do when I left home so just pointed the car in the direction of Aberfoyle and found myself in the forestry car park just east of the village. There were a few other cars there but I saw no-one else on the hill. On ascent, I took the path that has developed round the north side of the west top but on return I climbed it as well. The photos tell the story of the day.
 
Ben Lomond and Ben Venue appear above the ridge to the north......
 
 
Ben Lomond and Ben Venue from the col between the two tops.....
 
 
Approaching the summit.....


Ben at the summit looking north, water is Loch Katrine.....


East to Beinn Dearg, another- and very rough- sub-2k.....
 
 
Main summit from the west top.....


Lake of Menteith from the west top.....


Ben Lomond from the west top, Loch Ard just visible.....
 
 
So an exceptional day to start the year. If all outings this year get half as good weather I'll be well pleased!