walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Ochils: East to West

Ochils: East to West


Postby iangpark » Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:58 am

Grahams included on this walk: Ben Cleuch

Donalds included on this walk: Ben Cleuch, Blairdenon Hill, Innerdownie, King's Seat Hill, Tarmangie Hill

Date walked: 19/04/2018

Time taken: 9.12 hours

Distance: 30 km

Ascent: 1478m

2 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

I'd had my hopes up for a bright sunny day but the forecast let me down the day before I had planned the trip - patchy cloud seemed fine but it was much less patchy than expected! Nevertheless, it was my first time in the Ochils so I can't complain. Train, train, bus, hillwalk, bus, train, train is becoming a bit of habit these days but it should be over soon.


our_route.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



Got off at Yetts o' Muckhart and began the pleasant roadside embankment walk into Burnfoot. Much more nature on the way there than expected - a woodpecker, three deer and some interesting flora to name some. Eventually joined the farm road after 30 minutes.

First view of Innerdownie:
1 - first view innerdownie.jpg


Passed through the farmyard and on to the steep public right of way. Came across a very distinct butterfly but it wouldn't stop moving so couldn't get a photo. ID says likely a Gatekeeper, Small Copper or Skipper but flight patterns suggest otherwise - truly stumped. First of 10 people I spotted that day saw me going around in circles looking at it thinking I was a bit mental.

Ridge of Innerdownie:
2 - on the ridge.jpg


By this point the sun had gone behind the clouds but there were indeed sunny patches to the N and S. Was surprised at the bumpiness of some of the hills to the east from here. It was also around here that my heels began to hurt; evidently the beginnings of a blister after barely setting off! I'm trying to come up with a solution at present as blistered heels are essentially a marring staple of most of my hillwalks now. Passed a group of three and then a man with his dogs, proclaiming it was 'a braw day furrit' but I was still to be convinced.

Innerdownie sign:
3 - innerdownie sign.jpg


Wasn't long to reach the top - the prominence that can be seen from the road is just below the true top:
4 - summit innerdownie.jpg


Barely 30 seconds at the cairn as it was pretty chilly - paths all the way so no need to check maps that often. I sat down at the dry stane dyke trying to think of an appropriate heel solution - decided to use my sandwich kitchen foil as a patch. Didn't make it better but stopped it from feeling that much worse (although a very odd sensation!)

Whitewisp Hill up ahead:
5 - whitewisp.jpg


Was a quite easy climb over a big stile to the top where I met a couple of men who also remarked on the unexpected weather conditions.

Whitewisp cairn:
6 - ww summit.jpg


Left to Right - Andrew Gannel, Ben Cleuch and Tarmangie:
7 - l to r andrew gannel blen cleuch tarmangie.jpg


Trundle over to Tarmangie was an easy one as mainly downhill with a short but steep climb for the narrow summit ridge. Had assumed it was a Donald Top as it was so easy!

True and false Tarmangie summits:
8 - tarmangie true and false summits.jpg


I was truly impressed by King's Seat Hill - absolutely herculean in mass and prominent from all sides. The spurs and landslips reminded me of Green Lowther in D&G.

King's Seat Hill outline:
9 - kings seat.jpg


I found someone's phone at the banks of the Burn of Sorrow so pocketed it. Seems to be charging at the house but the screen is a bit water-damaged - hopefully the owner can be traced. I was surprised at the remote feeling of this little area. The climb up wasn't as bad on the heels as I'd envisioned but it was blowing a gale at the top - was finally time to put on the jacket.

Had another cup of tea in the shelter cairn and spent 10 minutes searching for the true summit feature but to no real definitive success - such is the nature of Donalds!

Andrew Gannel Hill looked a bit daunting but was more shapely than the map makes it look:
10 - andrew gannel.jpg


Down to the boggy col, the gradient was shallower but the ascent was longer than King's Seat. Passed a fell runner and his dog on the way down. The summit was difficult to stand up in but the outcrop was a great little bonus!

Outcrop of Andrew Gannel looking over to The Law - actual summit a bit further N but still very obvious:
11 - ag summit.jpg


It got much boggier here and I came across my first snow patch of the day. Found a well-defined sheep path that took me on a shortcut to The Law - probably only just harder than Tarmangie, the easiest of the day. I once again met a man at the summit as I was having lunch.

The Law summit:
12 - the law summit.jpg


I caught back up to him as we were half way up Ben Cleuch. He was doing a reccy for a walk he was leading tomorrow and was also going to Ben Ever after Ben Cleuch, so he joined me in the ascent and taught me some history of the area and Castle Campbell. The clag had been down since Andrew Gannel but the visibility had gone to 30m or so as we went higher - fortunately the Ochils are layered with paths in every direction so getting lost was just about impossible.

Ben Cleuch summit:
13 - ben cleuch summit.jpg


We had some lunch at the highest point of the day - I got to try real Kendal Mint Cake for the first time (had always wanted to see what it's like) and it was delicious (although a bit toothpastey!) Following the fenceposts, we took a slightly longer route than necessary but were eventually on the steep slopes down to the Ben Ever col. The man had said that most of the walkers likely wont be up for Ben Ever afterwards so took the bypass path on the left. I joined him on it for a bit before saying my goodbyes and clambering up the steep E face - only 2/3 mins to the top.

Looking back up Ben Cleuch from Ben Ever slopes:
14 - bc from ben ever slopes.jpg


It was now a case of going off-path for ages as I made my way over to the massive outlier of Blairdenon Hill. Fortunately the clag was finally getting burnt off by the sun, as predicted, so navigation was no issue.

The Nebit poking through between Ben Ever and Craighorn ridges:
15 - the nebit poking through.jpg


Distant Blairdenon:
16 - distant balirdenon.jpg


Progress wasn't very quick due to the peat hags but that was far from the worst of it. If sheep could laugh they'd have been on the ground rolling about! The views did open up quite nicely here too.

Conspicuous Bengengie ridge:
17 - bengengie ridge.jpg


The moorland was simply uneventful until I reached the proper bog. Only on 3 or 4 occasions would it have been deeper than a pair of boots but it was impressive nonetheless.

Were mid-80s seminal grunge band 'Green River' influenced by the Ochils?:
18 - green river.jpg


After three of these 'rivers', it was a case of navigating the peaty bumps until the squelchy farmland resumed. What was a bit soul-crushing was that the outline of Blairdenon was at least 10 mins before the actual top. Eventually I pulled myself up and climbed over the fence to the cairn.

Ben Cleuch and Ben Ever from Blairdenon summit:
19 - bc and be from blairdenon.jpg


Couldn't pass up a short visit to the A. L. J. Cuthbertson Tiger Moth memorial:
20 - cuthbertson tiger moth memorial.jpg


After looking at the cross for a while I curved my way down to the Menstrie Moss area. I descended (as usual) a bit too soon and ended up on some pretty steep ground following the West Cameron Burn sometimes at its bank and sometimes 50m above. It started getting quite precarious when a huge riparian-cliff area showed up so I kept well back. What a burn though!

Plunge pool not quite deep enough for a dive:
21 - plunge pool not quite deep enough.jpg


After some awkward manoeuvres I made it to the end of the farmer's track and back on a gravel path for the first time since Innerdownie. It was then a case of shuffling my tired legs back down to Alva along the significant inclines and declines. I couldn't be bothered to go around the full loop so cut through the deep glen. Didn't end up in my favour as my foot fell through a hole and both my hands propped me up on baby nettles! Stingy but didn't last too long...

Track back with the sun out:
22 - farmer track back.jpg


I took a few short breaks until I met up with the track at The Nebit and serpentined my way down the zig-zagged track through to Alva, where the bus stop awaited. By chance, I managed to time the rest of the transport back to Glasgow perfectly, an oddity in my book!

Alva views - finally some sun!:
23 - alva views.jpg
Last edited by iangpark on Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
iangpark
Wanderer
 
Posts: 108
Munros:1   Corbetts:8
Grahams:12   Donalds:42
Sub 2000:30   
Wainwrights:1   
Joined: Dec 29, 2015
Location: Inver/Gla/D&G

Re: Ochils: East to West

Postby KatTai » Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:30 am

Seems you met everyone and their dog up there :lol: Can't believe I saw no one!
User avatar
KatTai
 
Posts: 517
Munros:32   Corbetts:10
Grahams:2   Donalds:2
Sub 2000:18   
Joined: Feb 12, 2015

Re: Ochils: East to West

Postby malky_c » Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:54 am

Probably the first and last time Green River will get a mention in a trip report :lol: .

I like the look of a full Ochils traverse, although it's a bit boggier than I expected. I had planned something a couple of years ago, but it ended up being condensed down to mostly just the Graham.

I probably only have a couple more Donald trips to go before I move back north and interest in them drops again, so your totals will probably go speeding past mine shortly!
User avatar
malky_c
 
Posts: 5537
Munros:282   Corbetts:222
Grahams:219   Donalds:67
Sub 2000:200   Hewitts:254
Wainwrights:102   
Joined: Nov 22, 2009
Location: Inverness/Sunderland

Re: Ochils: East to West

Postby iangpark » Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:51 pm

KatTai wrote:Seems you met everyone and their dog up there :lol: Can't believe I saw no one!


0.5 dogs to every person! Nobody after The Law though once it went a bit claggy! I did manage to hear the Skylarks too :D

malky_c wrote:Probably the first and last time Green River will get a mention in a trip report :lol: .

I like the look of a full Ochils traverse, although it's a bit boggier than I expected. I had planned something a couple of years ago, but it ended up being condensed down to mostly just the Graham.

I probably only have a couple more Donald trips to go before I move back north and interest in them drops again, so your totals will probably go speeding past mine shortly!


Wouldn't be surprised :lol: During the summer it would be fine I'd imagine, although would be hoaching. Did begin to consider what on Earth I was doing on the way over to Blairdenon. Prancing about on raw heels today. I've got 10 Donald trips left now, 3/4 of which are bothies/wildcamps. Now's your last chance! :-P
User avatar
iangpark
Wanderer
 
Posts: 108
Munros:1   Corbetts:8
Grahams:12   Donalds:42
Sub 2000:30   
Wainwrights:1   
Joined: Dec 29, 2015
Location: Inver/Gla/D&G

Re: Ochils: East to West

Postby stirlingdavo » Sat Apr 21, 2018 12:28 am

Could your butterfly have been an Emperor moth perhaps? They are large moths and very fast flyers. The males fly in daylight zig-zagging quickly over heather looking for females.

There aren't many butterfly species 'on the wing' this early in the season. Assuming it wasn't one of the whites the only likely species at this time of year are Comma, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock.
User avatar
stirlingdavo
Walker
 
Posts: 33
Munros:90   Corbetts:60
Grahams:47   Donalds:14
Sub 2000:27   
Joined: Jul 11, 2012


Re: Ochils: East to West

Postby iangpark » Sat Apr 21, 2018 9:47 am

stirlingdavo wrote:Could your butterfly have been an Emperor moth perhaps? They are large moths and very fast flyers. The males fly in daylight zig-zagging quickly over heather looking for females.

There aren't many butterfly species 'on the wing' this early in the season. Assuming it wasn't one of the whites the only likely species at this time of year are Comma, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock.


Far too small for an Emperor moth I'd guess Davo. Looked and moved almost undoubtedly like a butterfly but was indeed zig-zagging over the heather. Didn't initially strike me as any of the 'big 4' :? Only real ID I've got is very deep orange on both wings with a brown (possibly speckled) trim around the edges.
User avatar
iangpark
Wanderer
 
Posts: 108
Munros:1   Corbetts:8
Grahams:12   Donalds:42
Sub 2000:30   
Wainwrights:1   
Joined: Dec 29, 2015
Location: Inver/Gla/D&G

Re: Ochils: East to West

Postby ColinBrough » Sat Apr 21, 2018 11:07 pm

Nice report of good long hike. Was doing the Glen Sherup circuit that day, and suspect I was a little behind you as you d.d Innerdownie - I also saw the group of three and the older bloke and his dogs - nice chat with him over lunch. I missed the clag - it descended onto Tarmangie after I was heading down towards Ben Shee, and by the time I was down at the reservoirs again the sun was out!
ColinBrough
Walker
 
Posts: 15
Munros:8   Corbetts:2
Grahams:2   Donalds:2
Sub 2000:8   
Joined: Oct 6, 2016

Re: Ochils: East to West

Postby iangpark » Sun Apr 22, 2018 1:50 am

ColinBrough wrote:Nice report of good long hike. Was doing the Glen Sherup circuit that day, and suspect I was a little behind you as you d.d Innerdownie - I also saw the group of three and the older bloke and his dogs - nice chat with him over lunch. I missed the clag - it descended onto Tarmangie after I was heading down towards Ben Shee, and by the time I was down at the reservoirs again the sun was out!


Cheers Colin - seems everyone and their dog (quite literally) was out! Must admit I didn't know about the Glen Sherup circuit beforehand. Lovely geology around that area so can appreciate the interest. Lucky you! In all honesty, the MET Office predictions were mainly correct; I think my impatience had something to do with my expectations.
User avatar
iangpark
Wanderer
 
Posts: 108
Munros:1   Corbetts:8
Grahams:12   Donalds:42
Sub 2000:30   
Wainwrights:1   
Joined: Dec 29, 2015
Location: Inver/Gla/D&G

2 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Alan B, gorillagorilla, icemandan, monkeybeaver, Servi_UK, the bearded wanderer and 32 guests