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The Tinto Sprint-o from Wiston

The Tinto Sprint-o from Wiston

Postby bobble_hat_kenny » Sun Apr 29, 2012 12:42 pm

Route description: Tinto from Wiston Lodge

Grahams included on this walk: Tinto

Donalds included on this walk: Tinto

Date walked: 29/04/2012

Time taken: 1.83 hours

Distance: 6 km

Ascent: 500m

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I’d just come back on an overnight flight from a short business trip, and on descent into Glasgow it looked a lovely sunny morning, with picturesque frost over the Campsies and lots of wee fluffy white clouds ... I had to drive down to a family birthday party in Ayrshire in the afternoon, but I had a four-hour window available in the meantime and the opportunity to get some good Scottish mank under my boots was just irresistible :D .
So after a fond re-union with the Supreme Executive Authority and the kids, off I went. I’d never done Tinto, and the southern approach from Wiston looked quicker and more interesting (plus has a starting point closer to the M74). But would I manage the trip within 4 hours from Glasgow, given that I’m not the fittest :? ?
Wiston is a bonny wee village – there are a variety of parking opportunities including some limited kerbside parking as well as car parks at the church and the village hall; however, the closest option is up at Wiston Lodge where there is now a large overflow car park handily placed for the Tinto walk.
Tinto from Wiston Lodge road end.jpg
Unfortunately I only found that out after I’d parked at a kerbside lower down. I should have read the walk summary report on the website :oops: .
The initial approach to Tinto from Wiston Lodge is extremely scenic, along a tree-lined avenue:
Tinto up tree-lined avenue at Wiston Lodge.jpg

The full height of Tinto hill is apparent from here; higher up the main summit is completely obscured behind its craggy Southern outlier, Pap Craig.
At the top of the avenue, the path crosses a rather rickety stile (with dangerous-looking barbed wire close by :shock: ) to peter out up the side of a muddy field.
Up the side of a field....jpg
The way ahead remains very obvious, however, and fortunately things quickly improve, with a nice wee rising path re-appearing at the top corner of the field and heading up the right-hand (east) shoulder of Pap Craig. It is fairly steep but quite well maintained at this point.
Below Pap Craig.jpg

Views were now opening up to the south. Reaching the east side of Pap Craig, where there is a brief levelling, Dungavel Hill (a 510-metre Marilyn) was looking surprisingly impressive immediately south of Wiston: almost like a “Buachaille Etive Beag” to Tinto’s “Buachaille Etive Mhor” ...?
Dungavel Hill.jpg

Um, maybe I got a bit carried away there ...
After reaching Pap Craig, the path gets fed up and deteriorates to no more than a vague “serving suggestion” amid a field of rather pretty wee red stones that would not look out of place in someone’s front garden:
Nice red stone on Tinto south side.jpg

The going remains surprisingly good, however, with no real difficulties – I just picked what looked like the straightest route directly uphill, and that seemed to work. After 100 metres or so, a line of two parallel fences appeared to the east. I headed in the general direction of the fences, and was delighted to find another good wee path directly between the two fencelines:
New path between parallel fencelines.jpg

Heading just another 30 metres or so up this path, the colossal summit cairn came into view for the first time:
First view of the summit cairn.jpg

Apparently this dates back to Bronze Age times... But hang on a minute, haven’t you ever wondered how people know a thing like that? Doesn’t one big hilltop heap of stones look very like another? How does one go about dating a summit cairn? Maybe it gets a mention in Neolithic hillwalking blogs or something...
It is truly colossal, anyway.
Summit cairn with ruined tower thingey.jpg
There is allegedly an ongoing tradition of locals continuing to carry stones up to try to make it that bit higher, perhaps out of jealousy towards the slightly higher rival Graham (41 metres higher, to be precise) Culter Fell, on the opposite bank of the Clyde. Ah well, at least Tinto can console itself with its much bigger Cairn :lol: . Also, given how big Tinto’s cairn already is, the proud locals will probably have made it a Corbett in another couple of hundred years or so :wtf: .
It was a nice clear day, and the summit views were good. To the north, I reckon I could make out Ben Lomond and the Crianlarich Munros.
View north.jpg

To the west, there was a very distant glimpse of sea I think, and fairly definitely the Arran hills in the far distance:
View west.jpg

To the south, Culter Fell and its Donald pals looked rather threatening in murkier weather:
Culter Fell et cetera doing some nice brooding.jpg

Time was tight though, so having enjoyed the undeniably impressive summit panorama (remarkable bang for one’s buck given that Tinto is only 707m), it was time to head down again. Not even any sandwiches today.
I just went straight back down the way I came up. The good intra-fence path and then the lower path picked up at Pap Craig tended to encourage something of an ungainly jog, which made things fairly quick on the way down. A bit more care is needed over the red pebbles in the middle section, but there is no real risk of slipping as long as you take it fairly slowly.
View back to Pap Craig with path fading away.jpg

Tinto’s arch rival Culter Fell was still brooding malevolently over the Upper Clyde Valley on the way down.
Once over Pap Craig, I got some really lovely views over the Clyde (as a West Coaster, the name of which thrills me and fills me with pride, et cetera). It is definitely prettier here than in Glasgow, though.
View of the Clyde on descent.jpg

I seemed to be back at the car in no time. I managed it in 1 hour 50 minutes from car to summit and back to car, and I’m really not that fit. I’d definitely recommend the Wiston route as the quickest and arguably the most scenic way to bag Tinto for anyone who has limited time.
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Re: The Tinto Sprint-o from Wiston

Postby kevsbald » Mon Apr 30, 2012 6:13 pm

Nice one Kenny. Never done it from that route.
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Re: The Tinto Sprint-o from Wiston

Postby meangarry » Mon Apr 30, 2012 9:13 pm

Glad I read this as the last tinto report I read was not very inspiring. I'll be sure to take a stone when I get there. :D
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Re: The Tinto Sprint-o from Wiston

Postby adamswalk » Sun Aug 14, 2016 6:24 pm

Great report! Thanks for sharing.

Making a flying visit to Glasgow next week and will def try this short dash off the M74 on the way up.

Hope the S.E.A. was in good humour on your return.
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