Sunday 26 May 2019

Another Corbett, Another Trig

We decided it was time for another hill, so on a beautiful Sunday we headed for the hills, specifically Corryhabbie Hill.

We arrived at the makeshift parking area to find to other vehicles parked so badly that we could not fit our car in easily. Idiots, sigh. Anyway, we found a way and off we went. The route takes you first along the road towards Elivreid Farm, then through a gate and across farmland towards Knockanbeg before gradually, gently making our way up hill via Shean Dhu and across the slightly rougher ground of Hill of Achmore.
After the short climb we climbed the more gentle Spur of Little Lapprach before the slightly sharper climb of Muckle Lapprach. Here we visited the spot height of 730m, another hillbagger leaving just before we arrived turned to wave his pole as he descended towards the River Livet. We headed for the trig at 781m before making our way to the shelter on Corryhabbie Hill.
Here we took a short break and had lunch, leaving just after the solo walker that was lunching when we arrived. He headed straight down off the hill, whereas we stuck to Morton's way, walking via Fords of Corhabbie to regain the path below Shean Dhu and return to the car.
Loved it! What a lovely day.

 Actually, we stepped over the wire to one side, the gates were a tad...rusty!

 Nice day for a hat!

Roughly 8.21 miles and 1754 feet total ascent

Anniversary Adventure

Last Tuesday (23rd April) saw us celebrating our Silver Wedding Anniversary, so to celebrate we hired a van and went away over the Easter weekend (which could have been a mistake!)
The van hire was from a firm in Grangemouth, so we collected it on Friday afternoon, left our car with family in Fife and drove off. I had imagined we’d head north, but in fact headed for Glen Coe, where I have never been. Rannoch Moor is an amazing place, I must spend more time here sometime. We stopped in Glen Coe to eat dinner, then planned to drive for a few hours before parking up for the night, however, this did not go to plan. After setting off again, we had warning lights lighting up the dashboard which caused us some concern. We had a few tense moments and false starts before finally heading into Fort William, but the campsite was shut for arrivals. We headed back out to a lay by to park up and found the worst one ever, but we had to stop, so we did. So much time wasted. We did not have a good night.
The next morning, we had to wait to phone the office for advice before we could phone the AA if required. More time wasted! Especially as we were up at around 6am after a distinct lack of sleep. We relocated into Fort William and eventually made the phone call. We had to wait still longer for a call back, luckily from a technician, although I am not totally convinced his advice was sound…”It’ll be fine.”
As it happens, there were no further warning lights. Utterly bizarre.
The Saturday saw us finally heading north, to Fort Augustus, then along the Dores road to Inverness, a quick stop at Tesco for supplies, then off to Tain, Bonar Bridge, Invershin and across country to Ledmore, a road I’ve never travelled before and it was lovely. Then we headed SW to Knockan Crag for the night. I’d spotted this parking area that had public toilets, but when we arrived I was glad of the porta potty in the van, the toilets had been abused by passing adventurers, which was a shame. There were two other vans who shared the car park overnight, but we spaced ourselves out in a very civil manner and enjoyed the peace. Best night sleep I’ve had for months.

In the morning, we intended to climb a hill, Cul Mor, I had a brief route description and the route but had not looked at it closely, which was a shame. If I had, I might have realised what would happen. However, the walk in was easy and lovely, the weather, which had been damp, cleared into a beautiful day. There is a boulder field, which was easy enough to cross, but the short scramble just messed with my head and I had to give up and turn around. The walk out was nice to see the views from a different angle, but I was very cross with myself. I will go back.
We drove south just a few miles to stay over at the campsite at Ardmair, a place we’ve stayed before. It was nice to shower, top up the water, wash up the dishes in a bigger sink and relax.
We continued on in our journey, stopping at Ullapool for re-supply, then I drove a little (trying out the automatic van) before we reached Gairloch in time for lunch. We continued on via Strathcarron, Plockton, Dornie, Invergarry, Spean Bridge, Dalqhinnie, Trinafour and Tummel Bridge. The plan had always been to climb Shiehallion on Tuesday, and I had thought we would stop at the Braes of Foss car park on Monday night, but of course, it’s a pay and display car park, so after stopping to use the (clean) toilets, we returned to a car park we’d spotted previously. When we arrived it, we had the place to ourselves, a lovely elevated spot with views over a lochan and Schiehallion. Another fantastic night sleep followed.

Tuesday, the day of our Anniversary, and a fitting day to climb a great little hill. It was a nice warm day, but with a bit of a breeze, so we set off equipped for it to be cool and windy on the top. The walk in is aided by a great path, it takes you uphill easily and quickly until you reach a large cairn and the path becomes vague as you cross a mile long boulder field to reach the top.This time I was successful, which put a smile on my face, even with some fairly large rocks to negotiate at the top.
We met a lot of folk on the hill, a bit like Piccadilly Circus, many different levels of preparedness (ie. we had everything we needed, few others had anything at all.) Once back at the van, we enjoyed lunch before heading off via Aberfeldy back to the A9 and back to Fife to a convenient campsite, we had to get back to collect the car early in the morning to return the van by 11am. It wasn’t the best campsite, the gents toilet and shower block was locked, the ladies’ were basic, to say the least, and the weather having turned cold and driech was not helping, but we had a lovely bar meal and a relatively quiet night.

We had a wonderful few days away adventuring in the van, loved it!!
20th April Knockan Crag 1.2 miles 525 feet 46 mins
21st April Cul Mor 6.96 miles 2154 feet 4 hrs 57 mins
23rd April Schiehallion 6.35 miles 2545 feet 4 hrs 28 mins