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Bonfires on the Heath

Bonfires on the Heath

Postby weaselmaster » Sun Nov 05, 2023 9:40 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Corserine, Shalloch on Minnoch

Donalds included on this walk: Carlin's Cairn, Corserine, Kirriereoch Hill, Meikle Millyea, Milldown, Shalloch on Minnoch, Tarfessock

Date walked: 05/11/2023

Distance: 38 km

Ascent: 2153m

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A weekend truncated - or ratter late in starting as we were at a gig on Friday, which meant we couldn't get away til Saturday morning. Worth it though :lol:


As we had less time than usual, my eyes had turned to the south for options, less driving. I had two Corbetts lurking in Donald land, and Allison has pretty much the whole of the Donalds to do for a second round anyway. I reckoned we could head to Stinchar Bridge and do Shalloch on Minnoch on Saturday then try and combine Corrine with the Donalds north of it on Sunday. No idea where we would camp, but we'd find something...

Dragged ourselves out of bed at 6.30 on Saturday, a quick bowl of porridge then off we went. Took less time than I was expecting to get to the parking area just south of the bridge itself. Both previous times we've done Shalloch from a horrible starting point further south and it's a miserable ascent. I once did Caerloch Dhu, the Donald Top from this starting point and was almost swept to my doom by the burn in spate. Incredible, looking at the measly flow of water in it today. This is a much better ascent route for the Shalloch than my previous ones as you start at about 400m elevation and have a gradual, if soggy, wander up to the summit. Pity it was claggy today...

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

The trig column isn't the summit, which is over to the south-east, but we were going that way anyway, continuing our walk as far as Kirriereoch Hill, which would take in Tarfessock and the DT south of that summit too. There was a path to start with as we headed south, but we must have lost it and found ourselves heading off the west shoulder of Tarfessock which required a bit of course correction and gave us a chance to stop for lunch out of the wind. There seemed some possibility of things clearing up as the sun was attempting to burst through the clouds in places.

Allison not at the top of shalloch
ImageF57DAE49-3221-4E94-8DFC-4B340012808D_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image6BC78BCB-1FBD-4118-9145-2F3907B98CD0_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

On we went over the scabby hillside between Tarfessock and the very steep looking nose of Kirriereoch. It turned out there was a path of sorts that missed out most of the boulders up the almost 200m climb to the summit. Bemusingly Kirriereoch is higher than the Corbett, Shalloch. Indeed, it's an ex-Corbett with a drop of 150.2m. Maybe I knew that previously and forgot it...

Approaching Kirriereoch
ImageF834F53F-291E-4BDF-974C-1A30FBFC2FD4_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Our route was back over the way we'd come, but thankfully this time the clag had mostly lifted and we had some views to keep us interested. We watched a cluster of Snow buntings zip about through the grass and then fly off. Tiny, beautiful birds. It was nearly 5pm when we got back to the car - I'd been looking for possible pitch sites on the descent, without luck.

Looking back to Kirriereoch now the clag has lifted
Image900D26FB-3ACF-46CE-8966-F0386B3040B9_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Back to Tarfessock and Shalloch
Image8C1E013F-FC94-44CD-A7ED-771E1AC0BAF7_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Clear now, of course!
ImageAD564B06-3470-4067-8691-8A29A17893C7_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

We decided to head back up to the parking area at Stinchar Bridge to see if there was anything there, though I'm really wary of using any forest car-park areas, especially on a Saturday night, in case of miscreants and doggers. We did managed to find a sheltered spot in the trees and noticed with disgust that some pond life had previously lit a fire within the trees that had scorched the trunks of two trees about 8 feet apart. Must have been some blaze. With my customary good will towards all, I was thinking that culling was a suitable retribution for such individuals.

We actually had a quiet night, with only one other car turning up around 8pm and people walking around with head torches for a bit, which spooked me out, but I think they were only looking for a camp spot themselves. The only sounds were the intermittent fireworks from nearby townships.

Up at 7 to consider our options. The route I'd come up with for climbing Corserine from the north, along with Corran of Portmark etc was 23k and probably too long for today, as we had about 45 minutes drive to get there. We could just do Corserine from the usual approach at Forrest Gate - whilst that was a bit longer to drive round to it would be mostly on track and path.

corserine4.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

It's a while since we'd been up here, but the "no camping" and "no overnight parking" signs are still in place at the car park, supplemented by various other ones, presumably from the Covid era. I opted to do the route in a clockwise direction so we headed off along the track for Meickle Millyea. I had noted, with some dismay, that instead of yesterday's starting elevation of 400m, today we were only at 150m when we started out. The path has been way marked since we were last here, but it is still a long way up the shoulder of Millyea. Another hill that has a trig column not at the summit, which is about 300m off to the SW; easy to miss if the clag is down. Today, however, it was clear and from the summit we could look down to the Solway Firth and the peaks of teh Lake District beyond.

Image1C6BB965-5BBB-4BAB-8DA8-C006AD1E80BA_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Meikle Millyea
Image9A744C46-7186-4D2C-AA0D-320F3D5998F2_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageCC262879-82FE-427C-B600-EA7BCC6C2D64_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Cloud rolling in from the west
ImageB2236ACD-CD39-475B-95DE-1173445DA153_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

From here we had a fairly high-level walk north over Milldown and Millfire before arriving at Corserine. We paused at the cairn on Milldown for lunch, meeting another walker going the opposite way. Millfire was a busier summit, with a party of four arriving at the same time as us. Clouds had been swiftly coming across from the west and engulfed us in clag at points, even a spittle of rain. But by the time we were heading up the broad grassy slopes to Corserine it was once more clear. Good views of the Merrick and yesterday's hills from the summit.

View towards Corserine
Image9B6E55EB-0668-4972-8872-9189757383EB_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image25A378B8-D477-404E-83FB-B95C64AAB53E_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Allison labouring up Corserine
Image7DA4CAC2-E673-4414-A19F-51EC26759F2C_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image41CF7160-C394-4AEF-B9FC-365D2317C53E_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Yesterday's hills
Image0FBD045D-A613-4296-AB2D-A0D6B265EDCA_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

We had one more hill to do, the adjacent Donald of Carlin's Cairn which is just over a km from the top of Corserine, but requires a drop of 110m and a climb of 100; then the same reversed to gain the descent route off Corserine. Good for the fitness :lol: It's certainly quite a pile of stones at the summit. The climb back up to Corserine was alright and we found the descent route markedly better than remembered from several years ago. More signposting on the track out and a new bridge over the river at one point.

The breast-shaped Carlin's Cairn
Image3C9B8466-78B0-4373-B5E9-62704709FB96_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageFFCD8748-7222-4650-B168-811175886528_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Across to The Merrick
Image563B23B0-30B6-4505-BC91-A2BA4E65BFF3_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageE0A18993-F079-47E0-9EAA-6F52CE3F15A1_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr
Posts: 2463
Munros:277   Corbetts:220
Fionas:218   Donalds:75+31
Sub 2000:395   Hewitts:33
Wainwrights:15   Islands:33
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

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