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!

Friday, 2 December 2016

Cow Hill

30 November 2016

Participants: Neil and Ben
Where: Cow Hill (Fort William), 298m/978', Tump, Map 41, NN 109 728

I was back in Fort William for an MBA meeting. As it was a first thing in the morning meeting, I travelled up the previous day and there was time for a walk. The weather was a bit overcast but dry. I really didn't have anything in mind but when I got to the town I decided on a walk up the Cow Hill path from the same parking spot as for Druim na h-Earba. It was already well into the afternoon when we set off and I was only looking at a short walk, not going to the summit. However, I hadn't done this one before.....
 
I only had my phone camera with me but the photos are not too bad given the light available.  
 
Glen Nevis coming into view; the upper reaches of the Ben were cloud covered but most other things were clear.....
 
 
The highest point is on a bit of a plateau to the west of the track but the best view is from the masts a short distance further on.....
 
 
Looking down Loch Linnhe.....
 
 
Glen Nevis again with Sgurr a'Mhaim and Stob Ban prominent.....
 
 
We didn't linger, the light was fading. This is going back down with Stob Coire a'Chearcaill ahead.....
 
 
Shortly after the photo was take, Ben charged off after a deer. He lost the race!

Sunday, 27 November 2016

In the footsteps of Macbeth: Dunsinane Hill and Black Hill

25 November 2016
 
Participants: Just me
Where: Dunsinane Hill, 310m/1017', Tump, OS 53, NO 214 317 and Black Hill, 360m/1181', Tump, Map 53, NO 220 319
 
I was on my way to the Dundee Mountain Film Festival. It was a clear, frosty day and I had read that these western Sidlaw hills were a great viewpoint. So I drove round to Collace on their north side and parked at the signpost for Dunsinane Hill.....
 

It was  a steep climb up the path on to the hills. I decided to go to Black Hill first so cut of from the lower slopes of Dunsinane Hill and headed to the col between the two hills. It was a bit rough but on reaching the slopes of Black Hill I utilised several strips of burnt heather in making my way to the top. Funny how all "Black Hills"- at least the ones that I have come across- are covered in deep heather. Beware the Black Hill if you want an easy walk! The views from the cairn were indeed excellent, although everything was fairly distant. This is looking along the Carse of Gowrie towards Dundee.....
 
 
a couple of shots of the distant Perthshire hills.....
 


the Lomond hills in Fife.....
 
 
and along the ridge to King's Seat, the highest hill in this part of the Sidlaws and a sub-2k Marilyn. I had climbed this on a previous visit and as there was a cold wind blowing on the tops, I didn't feel any great compunction to re-visit it today.....
 
 
I therefore cut back down to the col for Dunsinane Hill. This is the location of Macbeth's castle in Shakespeare's play. In fact, the fort on top dates back to the Iron Age and apparently remained in use until medieval times. If you look closely at the photo, you can make out the shape of some of the walls.....
 
 
It was another fine viewpoint- the cairn with the Perthshire hills in the background.....
 
 
Looking back at Black Hill.....
 
 
And round the side of Black Hill to Dundee in the distance.....
 
 
It was only a short walk, less than a couple of hours, but it broke the journey up nicely.

Monday, 7 November 2016

A late autumn walk on Croy Hill

Participants: Just me, Ben is still recuperating
Where: Croy Hill, Tump
 
Some photographs taken on a walk on Croy Hill today. The autumn colours are still magnificent, accentuated by a low sun.
 






 

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Auchineden Hill and the Whangie

5 November 2016

Participants: Just me
Where: Auchineden Hill, 357m/1171', Hump, Map 64, NS 494 804
 
Another good late autumn day, although much colder than it has been lately. There was a light covering of snow on the higher hills way to the north- I think the Ben Lawers group. After an extended and very warm autumn, it looks as though winter is on its way. I hadn't been to Auchineden Hill for a while, it was only a short drive, so that was my choice. I started early, as it was a Saturday and this is a popular hill with a large car park at the start.

The path rises from the car park and then contours along the north side of the hill. It was a bit muddy in places but not too bad given the number of feet that must walk along it. It splits in places but I stuck to the lower path and in due course arrived at the curious rock formation known as the Whangie. This is really weird and, if you don't know that it's there, unexpected. In a land of grassy humps, a rock amphitheatre is the last thing that you would expect. It is a strange geological phenomenon, caused by extreme temperatures which froze slabs of rock to a glacier. As the glacier moved, it caused a split in the hillside leaving rock walls to rise on either side of the gap. Local folklore tells it differently; it was a swish of the Devil's tail that caused the rock to split. Whichever is correct, the result is a gash about 300' long and 50' deep.

It is where previous generations of Glasgow climbers- and maybe some of the present generation also- learnt to climb and it figures strongly in Scottish mountaineering lore. No climbing for me but I wandered about for a bit looking at the remarkable rock formations.....





Through the Whangie and back on grassy slopes, I continued to the trig on Auchineden Hill. This is a good viewpoint. The trig with the Campsies background.....
 

Looking to the Luss hills and Ben Lomond.....
 

The Kilpatrick hills with Burncrooks reservoir and Duncolm.....
 

It was cold and a bit windy even at this modest height so after taking the photos I headed along another path which dropped down to join the path of ascent. There were more good views of the Campsies on the way back to the car.....
 
 
 
 Lots of folk were coming along- the early start had paid dividends.


 
 

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Kinnoull Hill

1 November 2016
 
Participants: Just me. Ben has had a lump removed from his leg and is not allowed to walk just now.
Where: Kinnoul Hill, 222m/728', Tump, Outside Perth.

What a wonderful autumn day, bright sunshine and wonderful colours, although I reckon that the foliage is now getting past it's best. Kinnoull Hill is part of Scotland's first woodland park and is easily identified by the folly near it's summit, seen by everyone passing on the Perth-Dundee road. This is, of course, modelled on these on the banks of the Rhine. The area is criss-crossed by paths and there are a couple of car parks on the north side of the hill which make the ascent very easy. However, I decided to park in the main car park at the south Inch and walk from there.
 
The pictures speak for themselves.