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Once Upon a Playground Rainich

our_route.gpx An interesting note to start with: exactly a year had passed since the first (and only) time I'd driven up the A832. (Or, to be precise, it was the equivalent Saturday, so 364 days.) Not the reason why I picked this group of hills, though, only a coincidence I found funny once I took ...
by aaquater
Sun May 22, 2022 3:06 pm
Forum: Walk reports - Scotland
Topic: Once Upon a Playground Rainich
Replies: 0
Views: 90

Re: Keep Marching On

When I was younger, Naismith was a real sluggard and never seemed to keep up. Later on we marched together in companiable silence, but now he zips ahead and soon vanishes beyond the horizon. Very inconsistent. Given that Naismith sometimes feels quite lazy when going uphill, keeps a reasonable pace...
by aaquater
Thu May 12, 2022 9:23 pm
Forum: Walk reports - Scotland
Topic: Keep Marching On
Replies: 2
Views: 980

Keep Marching On

our_route.gpx The morning began with me dispensing a large quantity of alcohol. Particularly, methanol, in the screen wash the car had used up. Then I hopped in and drove to Luichart Power Station. It was time to march on the route described by malky_c. I started the walk thinking I was just going ...
by aaquater
Tue May 10, 2022 9:38 pm
Forum: Walk reports - Scotland
Topic: Keep Marching On
Replies: 2
Views: 980


1) Beinn Tharsuinn
17.4 km
686 m ascent

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It's obvious that Easter Ross is where Easter should be spent, right? The weather forecast seemed to agree, at least, and as I had a lot of trouble figuring out where the boundaries of the area lay, I went for a hill that was most definitely within it as the area name was inscribed over it on the map. This walk also had a very generously sized parking area, which was another plus. So I set off on the track, the hill in my view from the start.
It'll take a lot of time for Beinn Tharsuinn to be eaten away from existence... The track continued around the quarry before depositing me into the heathery hillside, as the official walk description said. The ascent was... well, a mesh of heather and bog at the start, so I couldn't place my feet at random, but it got better later on. The col between Torr Leathann and Beinn Tharsuinn, though, was a peaty mess forcing me to search for a crossing place I could trust. And that was only the beginning.
What a lovely view. The Graham itself was fine, but the N ridge was one peat hag on top of another, so the ascent is an understatement, as numerous 2 m up - 2 m down jumps were experienced, as crossing a peaty area demands. Meanwhile, looks to the far-northern Bens (Armine, Klibreck, Loyal, Hope) were opening up, some of them still with a snow cover while it had melted off of others.
Regardless, it was a relief to reach the wind farm track - and then the path down Meall a' Bhreacain. A path which continued almost all the way down and was pleasantly stable; the official walk description made me dread this bit, but it was really okay - even when not compared to the Beinn Tharsuinn - Sithean a' Choin Bhain ridge. After a more dubious, but short and still manageable part right next to Strathrory River (which, though, looked sure to be an overgrown jungle in late summer), I hit the track again and returned to the car - which I'd leave again after a few minutes' drive.

2) Cnoc Ceislein
10.6 km
474 m ascent

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The Fyrish Monument path is supplied by a good path that made for fast walking - and, as promised, it offered very nice views S to the firths there. After the monument, though, I continued on the path downwards and turned left onto a track. On the next junction, I then headed right and back up - after I returned a few metres; the track junction noted on the map to be right by Allt Cam actually is a little bit E of it. Emerging out of the forest, I saw my next target on the left, while Beinn Tharsuinn was noticeable further back. Meaning I must've seen Cnoc Fyrish and Cnoc Ceislein from there, I just couldn't pinpoint which ones they were.
The track led me close, but the last bit still had to be heathery and pathless. I thought I knew which one was the main summit, but as I was ascending, I spied something like a trig on the top on my left, so I veered that way a little. As I kept rising up, though, it became obvious that the top I was looking at was lower than the one I was on - and that what I saw was actually a tree. Not the first time a hill treeggered me like that. I made it to the actual trig, though, and could enjoy the views. Ben Wyvis was prominent, especially with its still substantial snow cover.
Hopping down to the track by a slightly different route, I then tried to take a direct route back to the car park along the tracks displayed on the map. It needs to be said, though, that the 'shortcut track' down Cnoc na Gaoithe is a path at best, and I still think I eventually lost it. But I was counting on the fact the track I would join would be obvious - and it was, though calling it a 'track' was still a bit generous. Eventually, though, it did turn into a proper path that then crossed the path I took up earlier, so I turned left and headed for the car. And home (with a quick stop for dinner in Inverness), where I would then really feel the impact of the walk for a few days. Yeah, 6 hours is a really borderline time, I was rushing through it quite a lot after sleeping in, but this 'keeping up with the time' still resulted in two blue ticks. :D
by aaquater
Sat Apr 23, 2022 9:55 pm
Forum: Walk reports - Scotland
Topic: EASTER Ross
Replies: 0
Views: 20

Re: Substituting for Frank Glenelg's Absence

Oops, but hey, looks like a great day out anyway, and its a great bit of the world. I wouldn't worry about it too much! I bet you were within 150m of the highest point at some point. If it bothers you, you've a great excuse to go and see those excellent views again. It's a matter of principle more ...
by aaquater
Tue Mar 29, 2022 10:30 pm
Forum: Walk reports - Scotland
Topic: Substituting for Frank Glenelg's Absence
Replies: 2
Views: 223

Substituting for Frank Glenelg's Absence

The title's a bit more complex in this one. Subs in sports = player substitutions. Subs on here = sub2000 hills. Where I come from, Feri is a nickname Franks can go by, and the Glenelg-Kylerhea Feri only works April to October, so I hoped to find the associated car park empty and make use of it. (On...
by aaquater
Sun Mar 27, 2022 9:41 pm
Forum: Walk reports - Scotland
Topic: Substituting for Frank Glenelg's Absence
Replies: 2
Views: 223

Post-Maliki Obstacle Courses

1) Kerloch
9.9 km
433 m ascent

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It was right after Storm Malik, but we tried to go for a walk anyway. The first issue came on the way there, as a tree fallen over the road had me looking for a diversion; fortunately, that was clear. From the car park, though, we just followed the official route for Kerloch on clear tracks. Having read other walk reports, I was also glad to note that the cow herd was beyond a fence and unable to venture onto the track.
After the junction, where the track to the summit entered the forest for real (instead of just hugging it), we had to avoid a few fallen trees, but since the track was so clear, we never felt lost. After emerging from the forest and into the heather, the track remained, and even the path leading from the track to the actual summit was absolutely clear. As were the views to the multiple wind farms around us. But it was still quite windy on the summit, so we were quick to return back, taking the same route.

2) Strathfinella Hill
8.1 km
352 m ascent

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For the second walk, I parked by Drumtochty Castle and we headed up the numerous tracks through the woods of Strathfinella Hill. Or... the numerous tracks shown on the map, I should say. When we were actually there, numerous times I didn't know whether what I was looking at was the track shown on the map or something unmapped. Many of them didn't really look like tracks, and I wasn't keen on venturing up one only to find it finish randomly deep in the forest. We took a bit of a detour, then, only heading up tracks I was certain about. The other thing was when the 'clear' track got absolutely blocked by fallen trees, so we had to find our way through the intact part of the dense forest and rejoin the track later. Thankfully, it was as clear as ever, so we could recognise it again.
Fortunately again, I'd read previous walk reports about Strathfinella Hill and knew that just taking the correct firebreak from the track wasn't enough, and that the trig was off to the side and in the forestry. Now... from every trig pillar, at least two others should be visible, right? If there were any in the 10-metre radius that would've allowed that, I must've missed them. Anyway, on the way back, we took another firebreak, entered the empty field ahead, descended the grassy slope, and returned to the car on the road. It somehow didn't really feel like climbing a hill given the zero visibility, but I could still put a tick on the bagging map when I got home.
by aaquater
Sun Feb 20, 2022 7:12 pm
Forum: Walk reports - Scotland
Topic: Post-Maliki Obstacle Courses
Replies: 0
Views: 41

The Shoreline Moo(e)d

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I wanted to go somewhere, but it had snowed the previous day, even on the sea level. That had melted, but I still wasn't confident about driving anywhere higher up, especially on tiny roads that often lead to the starting point. So instead, as per recommendation, I looked at possible seaside walks. And really, when I arrived in Ferryden and started the walk, all the hills past Montrose were blanketed in snow, which I wasn't in the mood for - especially in terms of driving, but wading through snow as I'm walking is something I'd prefer to avoid as well.
And speaking of snowy hilltops... I mean... in one direction, I had the Angus hills. In the other direction, I had THIS. Yeah, just clouds over the North Sea, but I couldn't stop seeing a hill with a long ridge going to the right whose lower slopes were largely afforested.
Anyway, I reached the Scurdie Ness lighthouse on good paths, and from then on, it was first through grassland, then cowland. The official route says I should've kept to the right of that fence, but I went left following some other people, through the field with cows. The previous day's snow had just melted, so the ground was saturated with water and gave way easily under the cows' hooves, and then similarly under my shoes. Especially around the gates at the Mains of Usan, it was all just mud, no trace of grass left. Add to this the moment when a cow was standing in the gate I was meant to pass through and staring at me. At first, I ventured down the main road, hoping to spot a different way to the shore. But I looked back to see the cow moving away from the gate, so I went back to continue on the route the normal way.
Past the cow fields, it was still pretty muddy, but with no hooves disturbing the ground, it held together better. Still, I kept looking to my left to the terrain closer to the sea, where I saw many people fishing. At least in some parts, that must've been the preferred way to go, at least in these underfoot conditions.
Then I reached the headland by Usan, where I turned right to reach the track. The last few metres before the gate were really muddy again, but from then on, it got a lot better. Okay, past Usan, I had a choice between ploughed (muddy) dirt and a grassy (overgrown) strip by the fence, but most of the time, there was a path to follow in the grass. The cliffs on my left looked nice and kept me wondering which one the promised inlet was.
And then I saw it and it was really unmistakeable, the Elephant Rock. I took a picture, encircled it, and took this picture, where the lighting, I believe, makes the shape more prominent. From then on, after a couple minutes, I made it to the road and followed it back to the car. One good thing about ending a walk on a long stretch of tarmac? It gave the mud on my walking boots a chance to dry before I reached the car. :D
by aaquater
Sun Feb 20, 2022 3:41 pm
Forum: Walk reports - Scotland
Topic: The Shoreline Moo(e)d
Replies: 0
Views: 48

Praying for Grades

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Not the usual lead to a walk, this one. We had to film a video for one of our classes, I got the idea to make the video more interesting by shooting the intro outdoors, and convinced a classmate I was in the group with to actually go and do it. Not the usual walk title, either, but... well, The Fara means The Ladder. But when I think of climbing a fara, the question that comes to mind is why to bother the priest, as in my language, 'fara' is a presbytery. Regardless though, it was a tickable hill with decent weather on the day we were both free, so we went. And took care to close the gate after passing through.
That sign isn't targeting us walkers, is it? Regardless, the autumn scenery above Loch Ericht was definitely nice enough to slow down for.
We basically followed the official route, finding a firebreak and heading up it. A bit boggy and overgrown, but nothing that couldn't be overcome with the prospect of the A waiting for us at the summit, where we'd be shooting the video. The Fara has two A-s, even - one for each of us!
Up on the summit, we were treated to an inversion of sorts, the clouds below us tearing and hills poking through.
Over time, as we headed down the western ridge, the clouds began to disappear even more; this is looking back towards Dalwhinnie. We'd be returning there, but had no reason to hurry as trains stopping in Dalwhinnie are sparse anyway, and what's a better way to kill a few hours than a pleasant ridgewalk?
And a full panorama down the entire length of Loch Ericht.
The descent was a bit awkward as it had long grass, no paths, and a high fence to cross. But after crossing it and finding another firebreak down to Ben Alder Lodge, it was just about following the track back to Dalwhinnie. And then sitting down, editing the video, submitting it, and hoping the one grading it would share my sense of humour, but that's not really a part of this walk anymore. We ultimately did get the two A-s, though.
by aaquater
Wed Feb 09, 2022 10:11 pm
Forum: Walk reports - Scotland
Topic: Praying for Grades
Replies: 0
Views: 29

Bog a' Ghlo

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Another fine day for walking, still could go pretty high up but probably not too far as the days were getting shorter. The choice fell on Blair Atholl once again, and upon arrival, I saw that it was pretty crowded.
Some folks were just about leaving, though. I mean, it was October.
First taking the long-ish tarmac route to reach the car park, then a nicer track. Beinn a' Ghlo (Carn Liath) was drawing near.
An awful bog was even nearer, though. Now that I looked at this picture again, it makes a lot of sense why some other people report the whole way up Carn Liath as a properly maintained path. It might be that way now, once all those stones in the bags found their place... in an impossible swamp lying just over the horizon. Lacking the ability to jump into the future, I escaped from the bog with one shoe and sock completely drenched.
Up on Carn Liath (where the path was dry) and looking at the next two Munros of Beinn a' Ghlo: Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain and Carn nan Gabhar.
Less than an hour later, on Braigh... y'know, the middle one, and looking back at Carn Liath.
Add another hour and this is the panorama from Carn nan Gabhar.
And I went to visit Airgiod Bheinn as well. This is looking down Glen Girnaig, the direction I should've gone. Instead I returned to Bealach an Fhiodha and got treated to the lovely experience that is walking alongside the eponymous burn.
Finally found a path and calmed down enough to take a picture. That was just awful. Heather and bog and mud all in one.
'How are you this muddy, there's nothing but nice paths 'round here?' the sheep could be asking. And down there in the glen, sure enough, the paths and tracks were top quality. Well, on the bright side, at least that meant I'd started to dry by the time I dragged myself to the train...
by aaquater
Mon Feb 07, 2022 9:32 pm
Forum: Walk reports - Scotland
Topic: Bog a' Ghlo
Replies: 0
Views: 27

It's a Long Way to the Centre

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I mean, Schiehallion just looked so inviting, I convinced myself I had to climb it even from public transport. The closest place I could get to, though, was Tummel Bridge. It was looking like a long marathon on tarmac with actual hillwalking just as a random break in between. The marathon was even marginally longer as I didn't realise I'd passed my stop and had to run and beg the bus driver to let me out.
Though I had Schiehallion in front of me the whole time, it wasn't getting any nearer. At least the forest I was passing through was offering resickments, though! (Get it? Refreshments that'd make one sick?) Finally, I made it to the car park (from which normal people start the walk up Schiehallion) and could switch tarmac for some lovely earth.
The good path lasted almost to the summit. It disappeared into the rubble some way below it, but the way to the top was pretty obvious, there was no way to get lost. And the views (such as this W panorama) were fantastic. I wasn't missing the path too much on the way down either, as the steady stream of people heading up and down the hill sort of formed one on its own.
I wasn't going to just return to Tummel Bridge, though, planning to bag a Corbett or two on the way back. So halfway there, I set off up the track mentioned in the official walk for Meall Tairneachan.
And then my English skills got the better of me. See, the walk description says I should head uphill once I come across a turning area on the track. I found a passing place, and thinking that was it, left the track to tackle the slope. The track would ascend another 100 metres that I had to fight the foliage through, and then I reached the top and saw I was on the wrong one (the 780 m one), so I had to fight some more to reach the true summit. But hey, at least the views back to Schiehallion were awesome!
As were views in the other direction, towards Farragon Hill. (See the TURNING AREA below?) Originally, I thought I'd extend the walk all the way to Farragon Hill before making my way back to Tummel Bridge. But after that lapse in navigation had sapped away some of my energy, and I was running quite low on it to begin with as I'd basically taken most of the tarmac stages at a jog, I had to give that dream up. On the bright side, I reached Tummel Bridge in time to catch the second-to-last bus of the day. And it would still be, at that point, the longest walk I'd ever done in one day. In Scotland, at least - and if I added the distance between my flat and the railway station into the equation, because that had to be walked as well, also overall.
by aaquater
Mon Feb 07, 2022 8:32 pm
Forum: Walk reports - Scotland
Topic: It's a Long Way to the Centre
Replies: 0
Views: 31

Eyeballing Hillwalk Duration: Advanced Level

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The first edition of Chasing The One... as in, THE one bus/train I had to catch or I wouldn't make it back home. Made more difficult by the fact I didn't have access to Naismith back then, so I just combined two official routes, guessed how long the part I was interested in would take, and guessed more how much faster than the suggested time I could be. 8h04 is what I had at my disposal. Let's go! First along the tarmac, but joined by the lovely scenery and weather of Upper Deeside.
Crossing the Dee, I joined a track. After a short trek through the woodland, the views of the hills I was heading for were starting to open up in front of me.
Derry Lodge was set in some absolutely lovely surroundings, just the place to take your family to on a nice day like this.
And I was quickly falling in love with Gleann Laoigh Bheag as well. But there in front of me? Yeah, on the left, that was the slope of Sron Riach I was heading for.
After Sron Riach, I thought I was following a path, but it took me too far left, so I just went straight uphill, joined the major path, and ascended Ben Macdui. Quite windy and plateau-y, so a panorama is needed to get the grasp of what I saw... but man did I see a lot! The ones protruding the most in front are the other over-4000s of the Cairngorms (Braeriach et al), but the views were massive in each direction.
A short trip down a totally weathered, stony grey area later, I made it to Lochan Buidhe, from where I was turning right to head for the second Munro of this trip: Cairn Gorm.
Made it to Cairn Gorm. Now I only had a little over an hour left until my bus would depart, so I was starting to get a bit nervous, but there was no need. Straight down the piste and on good paths, I reached the ski resort car park in some 45 minutes and could kick back and relax in the bus - or rather in the train an hour or so later.
by aaquater
Sun Feb 06, 2022 9:45 pm
Forum: Walk reports - Scotland
Topic: Eyeballing Hillwalk Duration: Advanced Level
Replies: 0
Views: 33

Is This Worth a 'Most Random First Munro' Award?

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Well, but given all I had at my disposal were trains and I wasn't experienced enough not to follow official routes, I knew I'd be starting from Blair Atholl - and this walk looked to be the least demanding of those offered. So I took this track up Glen Tilt.
This gate, at the very least, was in the walk report. Other than that, the path took me through ferns and a herd of sheep, but fortunately, it stayed reasonably distinct throughout.
Except for when I ventured up the Beinn Mheadonach path for a while and had to turn back once I realised I must've taken the wrong turn somewhere.
I joined the track at Gaw's Bridge, took a shortcut through the heather, and spent the rest of the way up Carn a' Chlamain (grey against the horizon) on this track.
On the summit and looking down Glen Tilt and towards Blair Atholl. Quite a long walk, though a nice one, especially in this weather. I still wanted to change things up a little, so after reaching River Tilt again, I crossed it and returned on its other bank.
by aaquater
Sun Feb 06, 2022 6:13 pm
Forum: Walk reports - Scotland
Topic: Is This Worth a 'Most Random First Munro' Award?
Replies: 0
Views: 31

Deceptive Firebreaks Between Christmas Trees

our_route.gpx In a manner of speaking, any tree is a Christmas tree on Christmas, right? :lol: I mainly just wanted to use the nice weather, though, irrespective of the date. Besides, I had no one to spend the holidays with, and where I'm from, the main day is the 24th anyway, so there was no use i...
by aaquater
Fri Dec 31, 2021 4:51 pm
Forum: Walk reports - Scotland
Topic: Deceptive Firebreaks Between Christmas Trees
Replies: 0
Views: 209

Chasing Fyne Conditions

our_route.gpx In terms of the weather, west would be best for once, a fact I was keen to use as I hadn't explored those areas that much. Looking at ski centre webcams, snow seemed to keep above 600 m; fortunately, Argyll offers a wide array of sub-2000s to choose from. The two I picked in the end -...
by aaquater
Tue Dec 14, 2021 10:17 pm
Forum: Walk reports - Scotland
Topic: Chasing Fyne Conditions
Replies: 0
Views: 218

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