Saturday, 10 September 2016

Playing Catch Up

During Mick and Gayle’s visit the other week, Gayle had ticked off a couple of Marilyns that actually feature on mine and Laura’s Trigpointing list that we have been putting off for a while, so, they had to be done, tout suite.

We were both a little short of free time, but an opportunity arose on Thursday morning and arrangements were made to meet at a suitable place to abandon a car and a van at the Hill of the Wangie. It was perfect walking weather to start, slightly cloudy, cool but not cold. We had some great views on the way up.


The tracks always head uphill


Ben Rinnes, through the trees


Ben Rinnes to the left, the Cromdale Hills right of centre


And without the trees in the way

Having abandoned the vehicles, we set off round the gate and uphill at rather a pace. We soon settled down to a much better speed and made our way steadily up, up and yet further up. We were able to take a mix of forestry tracks and mountain bike routes, then we took a suitable looking firebreak with one or two blow-downs to negotiate before we had to take the plunge and weave our way through the trees in the general direction of the trig (using GPS at this point). It was not difficult to locate and we soon had this one ticked off.



Following mountain bike tracks uphill


In the middle of nowhere, an abandoned wheel barrow!




Weaving through the trees


The elusive trig

We decided to continue on along the firebreak we were now in until we met the forestry track further along than where we’d left it and made our way down from there.

We managed to stretch this one out to 2.57 miles and 478 ft roughly and it was really good fun to boot!

Having returned to the vehicles, we decided to move them to the next parking spot before having lunch, so off we went to Burgiehill, parked up and then I joined Laura in the van for a sandwich and a spot of Fly Flapping.


Another view of Ben Rinnes and the Cromdale Hills


Fighting through the bushes


The trig is hidden in the trees and bushes on the left, with the large pylon behind…

We eventually set off to follow forestry tracks virtually all the way to the trig, with me recognising the tracks and realising, I’ve been here before, although several years ago and before I’d started ticking them off. Having found and found the trig, hidden in bushes next to a pylon, we initially decided on a more direct route out to meet the original track. After a short time, stumbling over heather, tussocks and the odd vicious fallen tree, we decided to cut down the next fire break instead, as we are lazy trigpointers and this was becoming less fun. And it started to rain.

There was no hanging about when we got back to the vehicles as I had washing on the line that needed to be rescued, so I shot off PDQ.

We stretched this one to 2.3 miles and 224 ft. We had quite a giggle, has to be said! Great fun Laura, thanks for the company and the laugh, on to the next!

Thursday, 8 September 2016

A Trigpoint and an Accidental Marilyn

With the imminent arrival of visitors Mick and Gayle, I had to get the maps out (…opened Viewranger on my mobile…) and decide where I was going to take them. I quickly decided Carn na Loine was a good idea, as I had failed to walk it a couple of weeks previously after having sat and looked at it for a few minutes.

So, that was the plan and after a bit of morning faff, off we went to abandon the car near Auchnagallin and set off to take the track  to Auchnahannet. The weather was good, a beautiful sky with a few clouds and fabulous views, all part of the planning, of course. The track took us steadily, but gently, uphill till the point at which we had to leave it to strike out over open ground. It was a little heathery, a little tussocky and a little wet, but nowhere near as wet as I might normally expect for the area. I toiled somewhat up this little pimple of a hill, more than I had hoped for even if I had lost a little fitness since May. I regularly stopped to admire the view. A lot.






Looking back along the track towards the Cairngorms

After some time, the ground flattened out and the trig came in to view. Photographs were taken, distant mountains were identified, then the chill began to set in and Gayle and I strode off confidently in the correct direction. It wasn’t hard.


Towards the Black Isle, Ben Wyvis just right of centre


The Knock of Braemoray, just left of centre


Ben Rinnes


The Cairngorms


The going, however, was a bit testing. There was plenty more heather and tussocks with lots of deep, damp holes hidden amongst it all. There was some impressive arm waving accompanied by the obligatory “Woo hoo!!” It took quite some time to meet the track by Sgor Gaoithe that we were looking for and by the time we got there, it was declared to be time for lunch and a suitable picnic rock was found.

After lunch we went on a little adventure to find Huntly’s Cave, of which there are two in the area. This one was up a mini glen to the side of our track and a pleasant few minutes was spent scrambling around the rocks before we found what was just big enough to be called a cave. We soon went on our way as we were now but a short distance from the car.


View from the lunch rock


Heading along the mini glen


Determined to find the cave




Following Mick back to the path


Our hill, Carn na Loine, on the left, Tom Mor onthe right with the mast

It was a fabulous day! And a lovely walk with great company, made all the better when, once Gayle knew the hill I’d taken them to was actually on her list of Marilyns to be ticked. Bonus!

Thank you, and please come again!!

Approximately 5.83 miles and 1,092 ft

Sunday, 17 July 2016

A Corbett, Carn Ealasaid and a Corbett Top, Beinn a’ Chruinnich

I had to drop Ciara off at Keiloch, near Invercauld Bridge, for her Gold practice expedition, so I thought I’d make use of the journey and tick off a couple of hills. Laura fancied meeting me there and keeping me company, so we met at The Lecht and after a bit of chat, decided we should put our boots on and climb the hills. It was quite breezy with a cool edge, so our clothes were suitably adjusted to allow for that before we set off, along the track uphill.

We were following the ski tows for the first hill, which had us pausing to enjoy the views regularly. We also had to cross the nesting ground of some common gulls (I think, I didn’t spend time looking closely…) they weren’t happy with our presence, but just took to the air and made a lot of noise, there was no swooping or pooping. We made it safely to the summit and wasting no time, picked our route to head for the Corbett.








Common gulls


Poor photograph of a Cloudberry



We chose to head along the ridge to the coll, before making a final ascent to the summit of our second hill. We had rather fine views all the way around, picking out Morven, Ben Wyvis and Ben Rinnes to the N, NW and NE of us, Ben Avon to the W and Lochnagar and Mount Keen roughly to the S of us. After a short discussion, we returned the same way as the the shorter route would have involved losing too much height and then having to climb sharply again to regain it. It also would have involved wet feet, I think, whereas our chosen route meant we could easily cross a small area of hags which, in the event, we actually quite enjoyed. Well, I did, I think Laura did!


Lovely track, but of no use to use to us, except for a few yards




Hill spotting


Laura, behind the enormous cairn, koff




Laura, hag-hopping, with Corgarff Castle in the background (look carefully…)


…more hag-hopping


Nearly there!

After returning to the van to eat our lunch, we decided to pop into the cafe for coffee. It was, unremarkable. But the company was excellent, again!

Roughly 4.31 miles and 1,057 feet total ascent.

Thanks Laura!!

Trigpointing in the Woods

About three weeks ago, David was away with the car, but Laura drove across and picked my up to go for a walk. We decided to park at Logie Steading and take just a little stroll to tick another local trigpoint at the edge of Drumine Forest.

It was a pleasant enough day, a bit humid and still with the promise of rain, but we didn’t want to don our waterproofs too soon. Off we set, up to the big house and then uphill to meet the road, cross it and continue through the farm yard to the Dava Way. At this point we explored the option of making this a circuit, but soon discovered our way was blocked by cattle and neither of us felt like either finding a way through or around them, so after looking at the military buildings close by, we returned to the Dava Way and continued north for a while. We became aware of a small group ahead of us, which we eventually caught up with, well, at least, one of them that had been left behind. Turned out they were a DofE group (so team work was not their strong point!) doing their Silver qualifier from Gordonstoun. Actually, not that impressed with them.


Nice woodland






Catching up


Boundary marker


Touching the trig


Laura following suit


…it was well surrounded…

Anyway, we left the straggler to it and continued on our way, turning off the Way and into the woodland. It was a nice stroll through the woodland, the navigation was not taxing and it was remarkable easy to spot the trig. The problem was reaching it! A suitable branch was found, the trig was touched and then we were on our way again. We briefly contemplated making a circuit through the woodland, but found the onward path to be somewhat damp, so instead returned via our outward route quite happily, made our way to the coffee shop and had soup for lunch. A successful outing!




Laura wanted to go this way



Thanks Laura. Roughly 6.84 miles and 743 feet.