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. This is looking to the Graham, Beinn na Gucaig.....
 
 
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.
 
















 

Friday, 21 October 2016

A Visit to Shropshire: Caer Caradoc Hill

14 October 2016

Participants: Just me
Where: Caer Caradoc Hill, 459m/1506', Sub-2k Marilyn, Map 137, SO 477953
 
This was my final days walking. The objective was Caer Caradoc Hill above Church Stretton, on the opposite side of the valley from Long Mynd. This picture was taken the day after, when I was stuck in the MBA AGM in perfect weather conditions. Sods law!.....
 
 
Like a number of the hills that I had climbed during the week, it is volcanic in origin and was formed by rock thrust upwards by movement deep down in the Stretton fault, which apparently runs from Staffordshire to south Wales.
 
It was quite dull when I parked in the main car park in Church Stretton but the forecast was an improving one. My route crossed the railway, then the A49, turned first left along a lane which became a track which was a permissive path, through a field, then some woods and then another permissive path up the south ridge. This is looking back at Church Stretton from the field area.....
 
 
The hill top area was another Iron Age fort which local legend suggests was also the site of a battle between Caractacus and the Roman legions during the latters conquest of Britain. Whatever, it is not as impressive as Burrow, although it is in an equally commanding position. This is the remains of a ditch.....
 
 
and there were various rock outcrops towards the top.....
 
 
The exact summit was unmarked and could have been at any one of a number of rocky areas. I wandered round them all just to make sure.
 
The weather was really dull at this point which was a shame as I had really been looking forward to this hill. This is looking to Church Stretton.....
 
 
and this is north along the ridge of hills in this particular range.....
 
 
The weather had started to improve but by this time lots of people were arriving so I decided to set off down and take some photos looking back up so that I would have a photographic record of the ascent. Here they are in descending order.....
 
 
 


So that was my trip. Nine new Marilyns, all interesting, as were the towns and villages that I passed through.

A Visit to Shropshire (and Wales): Y Golfa

13 October 2016

Participants: Just me
Where: Y Golfa, 341m/1119', Sub-2k Marilyn, Map 125, SJ 182071
 
I decided to have the morning looking round Shrewsbury- a busy and interesting City. The weather wasn't too bad, there were showers around but basically it was another useable day. So I decided that I had better get my boots back on and spend the afternoon on a hill. Something short and easy; Y Golfa a couple of miles west of Welshpool fitted the bill. This one was definitely mixing both language and sports- its western slopes were occupied by a golf course! And what a course. Well kept, looked testing, and fantastic views. Apparently Welsh course of the year a couple of years ago.
 
There was a narrow layby on the main road which I didn't fancy so I drove up a minor road to the golf club house and asked permission to park there. It was readily granted, there was apparently only one person playing the course. A track took me most of the way and where it ended I followed the edge of the fairway to the heathery area which contained the trig. About an hour there and back. Here are the photos.....
 




 



It was certainly different!