Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Sunday - 2 July. A struggle

With a recent blood test showing little progress on the haemoglobin front I expected to feel less than my usual self on the fells. But I didn't expect to struggle on an ascent of - wait for it - Walla Crag. Yes, Walla Crag. It was of little comfort to pass a few walkers who were clearly unfit. No comfort at all.

I felt better at the summit - I was stationary there - so we continued along the path and down to Ashness Bridge where a few midges appeared to have followed us south. The re-ascent was easy enough and with the weather improving we headed for Blaeberry Fell. 

I thought the final steep-ish slopes would be a trial but they weren't, perhaps because of a ten minute halt to talk with a couple from Kendal descending from the very windy summit.

The shelter provided none, so we set off downwards stopping at the sheepfold to enjoy the much needed warmth of sun. A stream of walkers passed by so intent on looking at the path that they didn't notice us only feet away.

Since last Sunday, we've been on eight familiar summits so perhaps more of that later.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Travels once more

Unfortunately the weather is exactly the opposite of that shown in the above picture. Never mind, it's bound to improve and at least there are no midges.

Thanks to D & A for house watching.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Was this coffee shop preparing me for a shock?

The cost of the cake was conveniently hidden.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Wednesday 31 May - Fiarach 652m Graham

Unfortunately the posts are few and far between at the moment having no signal for most of the time.

The car park at Dalrigh was almost full and we just managed to get a slot for the motorvan. Nearly everyone there would be heading for the Munros we guessed, primarily Ben Lui, Beinn Dubhchraig and Ben Oss. We, however, would be on our own and so it was except for two folk on our Gleann Auchreoch track who'd mistaken it for the WHW. A quick confab and they were retracing their steps. 

After passing stands of Scots pines the forest edge was reached and we took to the hill. We stopped often to take in the fabulous scenery recalling the many days spent here, in another life, it seemed. In due course Lochan Fiarach revealed itself along with many other smaller pools not shown on the map and after some squelchy walking following a fence - wire everywhere Conrad, barbed and otherwise - the small summit cairn, sitting on the dolerite wall, was reached. We dropped down to have a look and couldn't resist an easy scramble back to the top.

A long lunch in the sun viewing the views, back along the broad ridge then down into the hot glen.

Note: I'm grabbing any signal I can get so these posts are brief. 

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Friday 26 May. Creag Gharbh - 637m. Quick post - 4th attempt!

I'm not a fan of waymarked trails but having used various sections of the Rob Roy Way to access some Grahams this year and last, I have to admit to enjoying the trail almost as much as the hill itself.

Our original plan was to climb this Graham from Killin but the camp site owner, a local, suggested we start go via the Allt Breaclach. Alas, we couldn't get the 'van parked so drove on to Ardeonaig where the hotel kindly let us use their car park.

The weather was muggy and it was a steady pull up the narrow road to the Abernethy Outdoor Centre. Once we gained height though, a May breeze made for pleasant walking over open country gently rising until the pipeline was reached. This carries water to Loch Lednock Reservoir and soon disappears underground.

Reaching the site of the old mast we stopped for a bite to eat and watched what we assumed to be 'Rob Roy Wayers' after which a yomp through the heather and slightly boggy ground brought us to the trig point.

We had a leisurely return by the same route and to finish the day off, enjoyed apple juice with ice outside the four star Ardeonaig Hotel.

Lochan Breaclach and Lynne at the Ardeonaig Hotel.

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, 26 May 2017

Creag Gharbh - Graham

There's no signal at the site so sending this from summit!

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Monday 8 May - Ciste Bhuidhe a' Claidheimh 759m (Graham). Maps 51, 52 NN 729 351

This fine little hill lies above the hamlet of Ardtalnaig on the south shore of Loch Tay. Often referred to as the Shee of Ardtalnaig this was Lynne's choice for today's outing and an excellent one it proved to be.

It was also Lynne's suggestion that we take the single track road from Amulree through Glen Quaich to Kenmore rather than the usual route by Loch Earn, Glen Ogle and Killin. It was an interesting drive with hairpin bends as the road climbed to 520m after Garrow and again on the descent to the loch. Not a route for the motorcaravan though!

The start of the walk up the road to Claggan
It was the most beautiful morning at Ardtalnaig, a quiet and peaceful place with superb views across the Loch.

Near Claggan we spoke with a chap who was busy erecting posts in the stony ground. Hard work in the heat. The factor (we think) greeted us with a smile and conversation even though we'd just ignored a sign pointing to the route avoiding the farm yard, but in our defence the direction indicated was ambiguous.

Claggan farm
Once through several sheep pen gates - the price of going through the farm yard - the wide bulldozed road traversed south across the hillside above Gleann a' Chloidh eventually giving way to a pleasant grassy track which took us almost onto the ridge.

Up on the ridge a thin path through the bone dry hags brought us to the Bual a' Claidheimh, a cleft caused by a rock slip.

Hags and the top in the distance

Bual a' Claidheimh - the rock is mica-schist

Approaching the top

At the small summit cairn we pondered our route back. A descent to Gleann a' Chilleine was eventually rejected in favour of staying high with fabulous views to the Ben Lawers group, the Tarmachans and beyond.

The sun was strong but the wind cold so we had to don windroofs and seek shelter among the hags for lunch before continuing downwards.

We easily succumbed to another stop above Claggan and took in the scene.

From our last stop above Claggan
At Ardtalnaig we wished we'd brought the tent but we hadn't so we explored a bit then headed for home via Killin. Another special day in the hills was over.

A rare sight these days

The small graveyard and the lower slopes of the Shee

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Meall nam Fuaran 805m (Corbett Top) - Map 52 NN 826 362. Thursday 4 May 2017

Wednesday 3 May was my first day on the hills since coming out of hospital a couple weeks or so ago and we enjoyed a well known circuit in the Ochils. All things considered I felt pretty fit so on Thursday we took the familiar road to Amulree, our objective Meall nam Fuaran, a Corbett Top although we were unaware of this at the time.

Parking is pretty limited along the single track road by Loch Freuchie but the Yeti fitted nicley on the grass verge a short distance beyond the start of the walk at Croftmill where 'Beater's Bothy' signals that you are entering grouse country.

Looking back to Loch Freuchie
With oyster catchers and curlew to distract us we found ourselves off route. Never mind, a few minutes through deep heather and we'd be back on the track. Maybe not.

Quite a surprise!
The track ended at these islands of peat and we followed the rim of the eastern corrie over grass and heather for a short distance before turning west through hags for the summit cairn. Here I picked up a comment on a previous post from Gayle ( but it was too windy and cold to attempt a reply.

Our original plan was to pick up the track which descends to Glen Shervie, but a direct route by a burn provided a more pleasant (and shorter) way down and not far above the Glenshervie Burn we found an ideal spot for late lunch with good views up the glen. The track in Glen Shervie climbs NW to the 817m summit of Carn Bad an Fhraoich and continues over two Corbett Tops (Meall nan Eanchainn, 858m and Sron a' Chaoineidh, 870m) the Corbett being Creagan na Beinne at 880m). The last of these we did many years ago before 'Corbett Tops' existed as a list so a plan is forming! [Note: we now know that Meall nam Fuaran has another Corbett Top - the North Top at 797m]. The plan has just gained several kilometres.

Lynne on the pleasant descent
Reluctantly we left our sunny hollow and after a kilometre's walk down the glen we joined the path to Glen Lochan - part of the Rob Roy Way as it happens.

The path in Glen Lochan

Looking back to the hills beyond Auchnafree

Once in the narrow pass formed by the steep slopes of Meall nam Fuaran and Beinn na Gainimh the wind strength increased significantly, the funneling effect quite dramatic and sudden. The glen is well named with two small, dried-out lochans being passed before we reached the larger Lochan Uaine.

Lochan Uaine

All too soon we reached the flats and Lochan a' Mhuilinn. A hare still in winter coat darted here and there; another lay dead.

Lochan a' Mhuilinn

We enjoyed a final stop in the lee of the fishing hut for the last of the tea before returning to Croftmill and the car. What a day. A day I could not have imagined just a few weeks before.

Click to enlarge (also photos)

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Barbed Wire

This reminded us of Sir Hugh's recent fall, caused by wire left lying around by landowners.

Note: I'm using Blog Manager on my iPhone to get familiar with it and to monitor the results.

Friday, 21 April 2017


As some may know I have recently spent six days in The Acute Surgical Receiving Unit at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee being discharged on Wednesday evening.

I have said elsewhere (mainly commenting on Sir Hugh's blog - that from the moment I arrived at the Unit until I left, the care and kindness received from everyone - and I do mean everyone - was exceptional. The NHS at its absolute best.

Many thanks to Conrad (Sir Hugh - see above for blog address), MartinB ( and AlanS ( for their good wishes. While in hospital I was following Sir Hugh as best I could on his long walk from Berwick to Somerset, drooling over his description of his meals at various places while I was 'nil by mouth' for three days, when disaster struck him and he broke his arm. Good luck with the op Conrad and may you quickly be back in action.

For me, thoughts are now turning to the soothing balm of the hills:

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Wednesday 18 January - Corb Law and Corb Glen to above Coul

Corb. 1428 'Crob'. Derivation for this form 'compare Gaelic 'Crob', later 'Crobh', a hand, a claw, possibly referring here to some perceived shape in the terrain. For instance the contours on the north side of Corb Law on OS maps trace the shape of a hand with outstretched thumb and clenched fingers (Angus Watson, The Ochils, Placenames, History, Tradition).

He's correct of course, but we had no knowledge of this when setting out for Corb Glen and Law. Watson does point out that the hand shape is not easy to see on the ground and the reference may be a 'tantalising coincidence'. We need to go back.

Can you see the hand?

A locked gate, the top festooned with barbed wire, gave the distinct impression that walkers were not welcome. We squeezed through a gap with me taking extra care not to catch my brand new ME Lhotse jacket and headed into the cold, raw, wind. A short distance up the track and yet another barbed gate appeared but at least this one opened. We had been in the Glen many years ago dropping off John's Hill but had never approached from the delightful B934 to Dunning although we've used it to access other hills in the area.

Barbed gate number two and Corb Law

The steepish slopes of Corb Law and John's Hill (left) form Corb Glen

Around this point we left the track for Corb Hill, an easy ascent over the usual tussocky Ochils ground but again barbed wire covered the top of an old wooden fence which we had to cross. It was cold and the strong wind battered us as we followed the fence northwards. We're not fans of walks where at some arbitrary point we turn round and retrace our steps, but today that's exactly what happened. Black Hill of Kippen, a vague objective initially, seemed hardly worth a visit so once the view north opened up, we hurried back to Corb Law and downwards for some lunch.

Our day out having been thus shortened, Lynne suggested we wander through the Glen to the point above Coulshill Farm where the RoW from Glendevon to Auchterarder descends to meet our route.

The new sign was damaged. Note the 'avoiding Coulshill Farm'.

I suspect this was damaged on purpose. Perhaps more evidence of hostility to walkers. Note the ghastly Greenknowes Windfarm

We went no further and enjoyed a leisurely stroll back to the car. Somewhere along the way, I lost my sit mat.

Not a good day for photos but click to enlarge if you wish.

A circuit would have given a slightly longer day

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Saturday 14 January - Ochils in the snow

Just as we were pulling on our boots at the car, a couple on skis glided past towing their children on a sledge. Sensible folk. Every year I consider replacing our ancient X-country gear but never get much further than thinking about it on the basis that such a purchase will guarantee a snowless winter. 

If only this sort of day was the norm in winter
Skis wouldn't have been a great help here which is why I suspect the people using them stayed on the piste-like road and had fun on the reservoir dam wall with their sledge.

There's not much to say about this area that I haven't said before so I'll leave you with a few more photographs - including, by way of contrast,  a couple from Monday 16 January.Click to enlarge any photo.

You need to grab days like this when you can because in the space of forty eight hours-

We'd come along the tops in the distance to make an enjoyable circuit

Monday, 16 January 2017

Friday 5 January - At last a day on a hill

It was a good feeling to be setting out for the hill again after two and a half months of enforced inactivity. My shoulder/back muscle felt OK and since it was a cold day and I was wearing virtually all my clothing, the sack was light. We parked at Castlehill Reservoir, a popular starting point for low level excursions as well as for the tops. For many years though, our parking spot for Innerdownie Hill was near the Glendevon Youth Hostel from where a pleasant approach through the small hamlet of Burnfoot gave an easy start to the ascent. Alas in 2007 the YHA announced the closure of the hostel, along with several others, and the small carpark has been absorbed into the steep driveway up to a new house which stands on the former YH site.

The cold encouraged fast progress up the water board road past Glen Quey Moss, peaceful and undisturbed after the successful fight to stop CEMEX's application to quarry there. Everywhere underfoot was solid but not icy there having been little or no precipitation for a number of days, but care was needed all the same.

Glenquey - luckily were going to walk into sunshine

The route now ambles along the base of Innerdownie to the start of our preferrred line of ascent although a direct approach can be made from where the photograph is taken.

So far I hadn't felt any pain in my shoulder but unfortunately on the steepish first bit of the ascent I must have set a pesonal best for slowness, so clearly I've some work to do on the fitness front. The gently rising ridge took us easily to the fine and familiar cairn and oh my goodness, it was so good to be back again and looking north from on high.

Approaching the top - interesting skies


After some lunch we sauntered down the grassy path, meeting two cyclists pedalling away furiously to make, it seemed to me, slower progress than they would have made on foot. Shorty after passing us they dismounted to push. I expect the enjoyed a good run back though.

Home, hot chocolate, a shower and a relaxing evening. What more can you ask?

The red line shows the start from the former YH, the blue our route.