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Taylor Swift meets Marilyn :)

Taylor Swift meets Marilyn :)


Postby BlackPanther » Wed Feb 09, 2022 8:07 pm

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Cnoc an t-Sabhail (West)

Date walked: 23/01/2022

Time taken: 3 hours

Distance: 11.6 km

Ascent: 301m

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We decided to change our car in late 2021 but it took a few months to find a suiting replacement for good old Black Arrow (140 k in seven years of driving on bumpy Scottish roads!). It was hard to say good bye to our faithful trip companion but no car lives forever :( She had been squeezed into tiny parking spaces, left for hours in laybys, on grassy road verges or forest tracks entrances, she carried bikes and camping gear, was constantly dive-bombed by seagulls and covered in Scottish mud, you name it - she suffered through it with us...
blacrow.jpg
Black Arrow's best moments!

For the replacement, we wanted something small-ish but versatile with good fuel economy. Kevin was a bit picky and after trying several models he still couldn't make up his mind, but then... He knew the right one when he saw her for the first time :wink:
2022-01-23 tain sub 2 064.JPG
Hi, my name is Swift. Taylor Swift!

For her first trip to the mountains, we took Taylor to Strath Rory, where we had an eye on a local Sub2000-er. Of course, we had higher ambitions but weather didn't play ball so we were reduced to Cnoc an t-Sabhail.
Two weeks earlier, we visited the twin top of this Sub (they share the same name) and it was a lovely walk in the snow. Today, completely different story:
2022-01-23 tain sub 2 003.JPG
Where's all the snow gone???

We started from the bikers car park near Loch Sheilah and used the existing tracks/firebreaks to do a circular:

Track_CNOC AN T-SABHAIL 11.6KM.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


IMPORTANT NOTE: the area is currently undergoing extensive tree felling so our route might not be possible on working days (we did it on a Sunday).
We followed a wide track along Strathrory River; later on it climbs through the forest past a small quarry. So far, so good:
2022-01-23 tain sub 2 070.JPG

Looking down Strath Rory with Beinn Tarsuinn on the horizon:
2022-01-23 tain sub 2 008.JPG

A strange cairn on the edge of the forest. It didn't mark any path or access to anything (nothing obvious, anyway) so why it was built remains a mystery:
2022-01-23 tain sub 2 071.JPG
The mysterious cairn

The track took a large loop and soon we walked out of the trees and onto the felled area. There was nobody about and no work was carried out so we decided it was OK to proceed, even if walking past hundreds of felled tree trunks wasn't a cheerful experience...
2022-01-23 tain sub 2 073.JPG

View south across the sad remnants of the forest, to Cnoc Corr Guinie, another local Sub:
2022-01-23 tain sub 2 026.JPG

Cromarty Firth and Mount Eagle. We didn't know it that day, but this would be our next target :lol:
2022-01-23 tain sub 2 021.JPG

The tree-eating monster!
2022-01-23 tain sub 2 024.JPG

Cloudy Wyvis:
2022-01-23 tain sub 2 028.JPG

Having left the mayhem behind, we continued on the track for another 0.5km or so, before Kevin located the right firebreak:
2022-01-23 tain sub 2 079.JPG
This way up!

The firebreak in question looked wide to start with, but later it became... a bit tight :lol:
2022-01-23 tain sub 2 081.JPG
Let me pass!

1-25k map has "navigation pole" marked on the firebreak crossroad. Whatever this construction is (was?) used for, I don't know, but it is still there though not visible from the far distance as it's surrounded by much higher trees:
2022-01-23 tain sub 2 083.JPG

But if you think the pole marks the summit, you're wrong. The highest spot is about 300m N from this spot, but I still took a "sort-of-summit-picture", in case we didn't find the exact top:
2022-01-23 tain sub 2 035.JPG
Two Poles?

The crossroads near the navigation pole can be confusing (it all looks the same level) but we had the 10-digit grid ref from Hill Bagging database, so we simply followed the bearing up one of identically looking firebreaks:
2022-01-23 tain sub 2 088.JPG
Just trees...

According to Kevin's GPS, this is the summit of Cnoc an t-Sabhail (West). There is no cairn or any other marker. And no views whatsoever. But our 61st Sub ticked off (29th for Lucy):
2022-01-23 tain sub 2 038.JPG

The easiest return is to retrace steps down the firebreak to the forest track, but our tradition is "some kinda circular" so we continued down the other side of the gap till we emerged out of the forest:
2022-01-23 tain sub 2 089.JPG
The other Cnoc an t-Sabhail

Tarbat Ness and Dornoch Firth:
2022-01-23 tain sub 2 091.JPG

The ridge of Struie Hill:
2022-01-23 tain sub 2 093.JPG

Beinn Tarsuinn pano:
2022-01-23 tain sub 2 096.JPG

The next step was to follow the edge of the woods (along an old deer fence) - according to the map, this should take us down to the upper end of another forest track. Or so we hoped.
2022-01-23 tain sub 2 100.JPG
Oh how typical - Lucy hitches a ride!

The initial descent took us past another felled area; the ground was rather wet and bumpy...
2022-01-23 tain sub 2 053.JPG

...but lower down we spotted a path:
2022-01-23 tain sub 2 111.JPG

...which led us to what we assumed was a freshly widened forest track, a good sign that tree felling was planned for this particular stretch:
2022-01-23 tain sub 2 056.JPG

We took the track back to Loch Sheilah; down by the loch it became obvious that forest cutting is going to take place here soon:
2022-01-23 tain sub 2 058.JPG

Loch Sheilah:
2022-01-23 tain sub 2 060.JPG

Not a hill we will be returning to and not just due to tree felling! I can't remember when I was last on a summit where views were totally obstructed by trees. But at least, we had some good exercise and introduced Taylor to Marylin 8)

Speaking of summits with no views... Here comes Mount Eagle!!! (TR in progress).
Last edited by BlackPanther on Fri Feb 11, 2022 11:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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BlackPanther
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Posts: 3806
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Re: Taylor Swift meets Marilyn :)

Postby The English Alpinist » Wed Feb 09, 2022 10:50 pm

A very enjoyable report, even though I'm not entirely sold on Cnoc an t-Sabhail! (perhaps I've had my fill of forests and forest 'paths' recently). I had to google Taylor Swift, but these random expansions of general knowledge is one of the things I love about the mountains and W.H. I share your sentiment over cars, they are truly our trusty companions, transport, access, even accommodation rolled into one. Mine is coming to the end of its life and is the reason for a least half my anxieties on each mission.
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Re: Taylor Swift meets Marilyn :)

Postby ScottishLeaf » Thu Feb 10, 2022 12:18 pm

Nice report, enjoyed reading that.
I had a brain wave once, climb all the county tops.
Falkirk's highest point is Darrach Hill and it has an almost identical view to yours!
The only interesting thing about it, is you park in Stirling district, begin the walk in North Lanarkshire and summit in Falkirk. Three counties, one wee hill, hundreds of thousands of trees!
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Re: Taylor Swift meets Marilyn :)

Postby BlackPanther » Fri Feb 11, 2022 3:23 pm

The English Alpinist wrote:A very enjoyable report, even though I'm not entirely sold on Cnoc an t-Sabhail! (perhaps I've had my fill of forests and forest 'paths' recently). I had to google Taylor Swift, but these random expansions of general knowledge is one of the things I love about the mountains and W.H. I share your sentiment over cars, they are truly our trusty companions, transport, access, even accommodation rolled into one. Mine is coming to the end of its life and is the reason for a least half my anxieties on each mission.


Thank you :D I never expected to "sell" this route to anybody. Let's be honest, it's a forest slog with no views, done only by locals and those desperate enough to go for it. We qualify for both groups :lol: :lol:
The new car took a few days to get used to but she's definitely saving us money (it's a hybrid version so much better fuel economy). Hopefully she will be a reliable companion for the next few years!

ScottishLeaf wrote:Nice report, enjoyed reading that.
I had a brain wave once, climb all the county tops.
Falkirk's highest point is Darrach Hill and it has an almost identical view to yours!
The only interesting thing about it, is you park in Stirling district, begin the walk in North Lanarkshire and summit in Falkirk. Three counties, one wee hill, hundreds of thousands of trees!


It's not only about views, sometimes the hill is an adventure of a strange kind!
In lockdown days, we made a list of local TUMPs available by foot/bike. One of them is a 150m forest-covered bump called Torr Mor. Getting to the summit required climbing over fallen trees and fighting an army of thirsty ticks. No views of course. We'll never go there again, but the satisfaction of actually visiting this spot is ours and ours alone! :lol: :lol:
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Re: Taylor Swift meets Marilyn :)

Postby Sgurr » Fri Feb 11, 2022 5:57 pm

We had a beautiful Honda Jazz, and its number plate being ST59PYD you can understand why it got called STUPID. Unfortunately it decided to take revenge by diving into Loch Ness. We were going along the road on its northern edges when I was tailgated rather aggresively by a break-down lorry, so indicated and pulled into a layby. The lorry followed and couldn't stop and shunted us downhill towards the loch weaving in and out of trees and landing in deep peat just before a wall. Turned out it was the first time this lad had driven it, and was racing to right a vehicle which had fallen on its side and blocked the road further on. Luckily, a Dutch motorcyclist had managed to get through from the other direction and gave a brilliantly accurate account of what had happened, so their lies went detected.


I am sure cars should be named, but Taylor is a MUCH more sensible name. I hope you have many happy trips in her.
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Re: Taylor Swift meets Marilyn :)

Postby BlackPanther » Tue Feb 15, 2022 3:21 pm

Sgurr wrote:We had a beautiful Honda Jazz, and its number plate being ST59PYD you can understand why it got called STUPID. Unfortunately it decided to take revenge by diving into Loch Ness. We were going along the road on its northern edges when I was tailgated rather aggresively by a break-down lorry, so indicated and pulled into a layby. The lorry followed and couldn't stop and shunted us downhill towards the loch weaving in and out of trees and landing in deep peat just before a wall. Turned out it was the first time this lad had driven it, and was racing to right a vehicle which had fallen on its side and blocked the road further on. Luckily, a Dutch motorcyclist had managed to get through from the other direction and gave a brilliantly accurate account of what had happened, so their lies went detected.

I am sure cars should be named, but Taylor is a MUCH more sensible name. I hope you have many happy trips in her.


That's quite a story! :shock: The A82 along the western side of Loch Ness is one of the worst stretches of road when it comes to speeding (the other side is not much better). I hate it. It always gives me travel sickness :sick: :sick:

Kevin being a pro-driver has many fairy tales to tell... From wrapping his car around a tree on the road between Beauly and Cannich (which incidentally saved his life as it stopped the car from falling into River Glass) to being trampled by a falling tree (again, it was just his van that suffered). He drove through Lockerbie about an hour before the tragedy - had he stopped for a coffee, he'd have witnessed it. Spooky :shock:

Taylor has been great so far! We were out last weekend for more Subs - much better hills, TR pending :D
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Posts: 3806
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Joined: Nov 2, 2010
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

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