Wednesday 5 September 2018

Instead of whizzing passed…

We managed not to have a late night at the party and were in bed before midnight, so decided that it was quite possible to pop up a hill on the way home rather than whizzing straight home, making the most of the opportunity. I had grabbed a handful of maps before we left home so we spread them out for a look and quickly settle on Geal-charn (Drumochter) as we could park the car at the side of the road and walk straight uphill, with little disruption to our journey.
We had a substantial breakfast (again, as far as we could) before quickly packing our belongings and vacating the room. We had a quick pit stop for fuel and food at Perth and in no time at all we were at the car parking area just before Balsporran Cottages. We ate half a sandwich each and some fruit before donning our walking boots, lifting our day packs and heading off up the path.
It was rather unfortunate to find ourselves briefly on the wrong track, if only because we were in full view of a young couple when we back-tracked and took the right one, but there were no further incidents. We plodded up hill, only briefly stopping to take photographs of the view behind us and later on, just before reaching the summit, we had to stop briefly to put on an extra layer and swap a peak cap for a warm one, then almost a sprint to the shelter at the summit. Photographs were taken then, as the cloud had again descended around us, the map and compass were deployed to take us off the hill. Had A’ Mharconaich not had its head in thee clouds, we might have considered a second hill, but instead we walked off the spur to intersect the path and had back to the car.
Oo look, Meall Chuaich!
Looking down towards the car park
Looking south, along the A9
Heading up
That would be the summit over there

I do believe A’ Mharconaich is in there, somewhere
Loch Ericht

We had a wonderful walk, I absolutely loved it. Being able to walk up fairly substantial hills with relative eases is a revelation to me.
Roughly a total of 9.67km and 526 m ascent.

A Perfect Opportunity

In October 2015, TTS and I nipped up West Lomond, which was a jolly nice walk, but we were restricted to just doing the one hill by time constraints. Last weekend we had the perfect opportunity to go back and nip up East Lomond when we were invited to a surprise 40th birthday party for my dear friend Emma, so we did!

After a good breakfast (well, as good as it gets at Holiday Inn Express) we set off for the hills, leaving the car in the parking area between the two hills. West Lomond had its head in the clouds, but East was still clear. We had a minor faff before setting off to follow the good path uphill. Not surprisingly it was easy going and very enjoyable, the views are really rather good. The last section is a tad steep, but was a breeze for us now with our new found fitness and we were soon joining a few other folk at the toposcope. No sooner were we up there than we were engulfed in cloud and the views disappeared. We still needed to reach the trig, which unusually is not at the highest point, we needed to leave the summit and find it, in the murk. We took the path heading roughly SE off the hill and just as we stopped to get the map and compass out to try to locate the trig I got a brief glimpse of it ahead of us, just off the path, so we headed straight for it. It had a small memorial at the base.


We then just regained the path and headed straight down to the other car park. We tarried a while, taking photographs and reading the information boards, then we headed off again on the path around the base of the hill before re-joining the original path and heading back to the car park. Not surprisingly perhaps, the cloud lifted before we got back to the car. A nice little stroll!

Roughly a total of 5.68km and 164 m ascent.

Wednesday 29 August 2018

Popping up a Munro, just for fun!

Monday 27th August
Well, now that I am super fit, I really want to make the most of it, and occasionally I just want to see exactly how fit I am, so as it was a Bank Holiday weekend (not in Scotland, but David got one anyway) we decided to pop up a Munro. It was in fact one that I tried to bag nearly six years ago, but after reaching the bothy last time I’d decided I couldn’t be bothered to walk up into the clouds and I still had a cold hanging around. This time, the weather was perfect and I was 100% fit, so off we went!
Head out of the clouds today
Looking back
Head of Loch Chuaich

Taking photographs on my mobile!
We left the car in layby 94 and headed along the track beside the aqueduct that took us towards the bothy. It is of course a locked bothy, very smart looking and with a locked toilet (common sense really, to lock a toilet) but after a quick break, we headed up hill. Apart from stopping to photograph a sign directing us to the “Walkers Path” (no apostrophe…) and the only hare that we saw, I walked straight up that hill. That’s 7.46 km 643 m ascent in 2 hrs and 3 mins. We took photographs then sheltered behind the huge cairn to have lunch. We were joined shortly after by a couple from Fife. After David had collected some litter, we made our back off the hill, passing to further couples and a young man with his French Bulldog.
We made ourselves useful before reaching the car, helping a shepherd and his noisy dog return an escapee sheep to its flock.
I cannot tell you how pleased I was to just walk straight up that hill. I have never been able to do that before, this running thing is working!
Approximately 14.8 km and 643 m total ascent. I loved it! A fantastic day out.

Return to The Argyll Stone…not

Sunday 27th May
The day after my 50th birthday, I fancied a bit of a stroll and the plan was to return to the Argyll Stone on Rothiemurchus. We decided to take a different, longer walk in so that we had a shorter walk to the car after leaving the ridge, so parked the car at Whitewells and walked in from there.

Not going that way!


It was very busy, but the weather was exceptionally warm and dry, so we had plenty of water with us. We made our way to Loch an Eilein, then took the path along the eastern edge of the loch, continuing on beside Loch Gamhna until we reached Allt Coire Follais. Here, we should have picked up the track we didn’t take last time, but had ignored in preference to the one marked on the map. That one hadn’t existed. It soon become clear this one didn’t either. We tried to follow it up hill where it should have been and according to Viewranger, were doing a very good job, but it was hard work through the dusty, overgrown heather, with hidden holes and fallen trees. After a short while, I decided it really wasn’t worth the effort, we would come back another day in cooler conditions and attack the Argyll Stone from the ridge instead.
We went back down to the path and decided to just continue around the lochs, stopping for lunch part way and then at the visitor centre for an ice-cream before returning to the car. Not the walk we’d hoped for, but a lovely day out, nevertheless.
Approximately 14.7 km total distance and 283 m total ascent

Friday 8 June 2018

The Great Outdoors Challenge 2018

Well, I made it. A crossing with highs and lows, as one might expect when walking across Scotland, but so glad I perservered and pushed through the lows, I definitely finished on a high! The write up is here

Thursday 31 May 2018

The Hill Before

A couple of weekends before the beginning of the Challenge, I wanted to test my fitness a bit and my new rucksack (Osprey Ariel 55 AG), on the spur of the moment, we went off to climb a hill we’ve been looking at from a distance for quite some time. It’s a very prominent, rounded lump, along the west of Loch Ness south of Drumnadrochit, Meall Fuar-mhonaidh. Off we set, having purchased our Meal Deals from Tesco, to drive to Balbeg and then abandon the car neatly just before the pottery.


The lump we were heading for


After leaving the car park, we followed a road for a short while to its end, then a path lead us to a pretty silver birch wood.


The path through the trees eventually gave way to open hillside and the path continued gently upwards.


There were showers around about us, but none came our way all day.



Still heading up.



A stile to cross the deer fence, good practice…



And the views just kept coming


Along the Great Glen towards Inverness and the Moray coast




…glad we weren’t caught in that downpour…






The obligatory…


My first primroses of the year

P4282065A bench, or a stile to nowhere?

I make no apologies for the amount of photographs, it was a glorious day and we had a fabulous day out. My pack was beautifully comfortable, although it was only half what I might expect to carry on the Challenge.

Roughly 9.34 km total distance 523m total ascent and 2.4km/h