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Bad blood and a shroud of ill-feeling on Turin Hill
by Graeme D » Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:44 pm
Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Turin Hill
Date walked: 09/10/2012
Time taken: 1.1 hours
Distance: 4.8 km
Ascent: 195m15 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).
There isn't a lot of information on this site about Turin Hill on which to plan a walk, but a couple of months back I had had to drop a piece of carpet off to a bloke in Dundee as he was going to bind the edges and make it into a runner for our hall. He had said that he had another job on but he would do our job after that, and advised that I come back in about an hour or so. No rush I had told him, and had headed off up the A90 towards Forfar with the intention of doing Turin Hill. I had Ailsa with me but this looked like the ideal wee hill for taking her up in the child carrier. I had found a few reports on another site and the major issue with Turin Hill appeared to be which side to approach it from. The OS map gave little away but when I checked Google Earth, it looked like a farm track lead up through West Mains of Turin Farm from the B9113 road to the south and pretty much all the way to the summit. Comments about the northern approach seemed to suggest some tricky fences to be negotiated but there seemed to be no such problems with the southern approach.
Anyway, on that day a few months back, I had experienced some problems finding a parking spot. There is not really any possibility of parking on the main road as there is very little verge space and the road from the farm exits onto a fast, straight section of the road. So I drove up the farm road to investigate. There were some options either side of the turn off for Nethermuir but I drove on right up to the farmyard and the holiday cottages beside it. It didn't look like my parking up there would be welcomed so I drove back down the road, but by this stage it had started to rain and Ailsa had started to get a bit stroppy in the back, so in the end I canned the whole idea and drove back to Dundee to get the rug.
Which brings me to today! I had spent the last couple of days painting and decorating in the house, and had been at the painting until well after 10.30 last night. I knew the forecast for this morning was excellent so decided to return to Turin Hill. Less than a one hour drive each way and probably only about an hour for the walk, meaning I could still get home for lunchtime and get some more decorating done this afternoon.
I decided to take Lucy with me this time even although I guessed there was a high probability that there would be a lot of sheep kicking around and she would spend the whole walk on the lead. Parked up on a large flat part of the grassy verge by the Nethermuir turn off, I was off up the tarmac road in glorious autumnal sunshine by 10.30.
I had forgotten to recheck Google Earth before leaving the house and wasn't sure what the route onto the hill was, whether it was through the farmyard itself or more over towards the cottages. I tried the cottages first but it didn't look promising, so I backtracked into the farmyard. There were a couple of guys taking a piece of industrial looking cutting equipment to some old steel girders in a barn, but otherwise nobody around. A few cows stared out from another barn as I passed and headed out onto the track which then bent to the right to climb behind the cottages.
It was at this point that I saw a couple of guys on quads and a sheepdog coming through a gate to my right. I barked the sit command to Lucy and to her credit, she complied instantly. I could just tell though that this was about to turn bad. You know that feeling! Still being not entirely sure about the best route, I smiled at the first farmer, bade hinm a cheery "Morning!" and asked if this was the best way onto the hill. "Aye it is", he growled back, "but no wi' the dug" he added, pointing at Lucy. Now, although my hackles had been slightly raised by his aggressive posture, I was not about to add fuel to the fire, but I did want to argue my case a bit further in a mature and calm manner.
So I pointed out that Lucy was on the lead, where she would remain for the duration of the walk if necessary. He was having none of it. He proceeded to launch into a rant about "you ramblers" and suggested I "know my highway code". I think you mean my Countryside Code pal, but I'll let that one pass in the interests of keeping the fragile peace. Despite my reassuring him that I knew both my responsibilities as well as my rights as a walker, he fired back with "I told you, you're no bringing that dug up here!" "OK" I said, but can you tell me if that is the best way onto the hill", as he still hadn't answered my original question. "Aye, that's the best way onto MY hill" he replied. Oh God, I thought, not that old line again! "Right Lucy, looks like you're going back in the car" I said, and turned without another word to retrace my steps back down to where the car was parked.
As I walked down the road, I reflected that Turin Hill seemed to be jinxed and maybe I wasn't supposed to climb it. Maybe I should just head home? No, to hell with that I thought. He might have seen Lucy off the hill, but I'll be damned if he's seeing me off it! So, with a couple of windows cracked open and some water in a bowl, I left Lucy in the car and set off back towards the farm.
I could see a line of sheep being driven down the hillside to my left and could hear the shouts of the farmers on their quads. I wondered if I would meet Mr Angry and his silent sidekick again. I resolved that if I did, I would not be drawn into any sort of debate or confrontation and would simply walk on and exercise my rights, although I suspected that he would probably not quite see it that way.
There was no sign of them in or just beyond the farmyard this time, but as I climbed along the track, I could first hear them and then see them coming towards me round a sharp bend in the track.
I walked on unconcerned and just beyond the bend, I stopped and moved onto the grass verge to let them and the sheep they were driving get past. It was at this point that I clearly heard Mr Angry over the noise of the bikes shout "There's that stupid little c**t again". At this point I got the camera out and proceeded to point it at him and the sheep and take a couple of photos, partly because it would make a good photo anyway, but more because I wanted to see his reaction.
"Get aff the f***ing road" he yelled. "Get over the f***ing fence!" Now, I didn't want any of this cr*p, it's not why I go out hillwalking, but it was happening and I was not going to be bullied or intimidated by this thug. In fact, to be honest, you may already have guessed that I was kind of starting to enjoy it in a strange kind of way!
I stood my ground and let the sheep and the dog pass. He apparently didn't seem to notice or care that I had taken photos of him and his sheep. He stopped and started ranting at me again. To be honest I had kind of switched off by now. When he stopped, I turned to the fence behind me and asked "Sorry, do you want me to climb over that fence and walk in that field, is that what you were shouting?" That would be the field full of bulls by the way! "I meant get through that gate, you're scaring my sheep, bla bla bla........"
It was at this point that I informed him that I was finding his attitude and language deeply offensive, to which he replied "Oh why don't you just f*** off doon the hill!" Sorry, that was it, gone! My resolve to remain polite and non-confrontational that is! "No, I think you'll find I'm going to f*** off UP the hill!" I replied. "No you're no he said", to which I replied with a four letter word beginning with A and ending in RSE, turned my back and walked on while he roared off down the track on his quadbike.
Ah peace at last! In no time I was at the grassy summit, having passed a Morrison Construction van a short distance below it and a bloke carrying out ground work of some sort by the side of the track. I wondered what Mr Offensive was up to. Was he doing my tyres or windows? It was pretty obvious that it was my car parked down the road (a courteous and respectful distance from the farm, might I add!). I stopped just below the summit at a point where I could see right down through the farmyard and the road beyond to my car. No sign of him anywhere. Maybe he's got binoculars trained on me I thought, so I proceeded to take a pee in his general direction.
The grassy summit offered stunning views north and west to the bigger Angus hills, east across the Montrose Basin to the North Sea beyond, and south towards Dunde and the Sidlaws. I lamented the fact that I couldn't stay long - part of me really wanted to sit down and spend the day on HIS hill, to see how much I could really wind him up. But hey, don't cut off your nose to spite your face G, this was only supposed to be a short one. So I took a few photos and hit the track back down.
At the Morrison Construction van, the guy was sitting in the drivers seat having a break and we got chatting. His name was Joe and he said he was doing water mains work. He said he was a bit of a hill walker himself and I suggested he take 5 minutes to wander up to the summit. "Might just do that" he said. I told him about my run in with the farmer. He shook his head and tutted. "No need for that" he said. "Mind you, he's a right grumpy so and so" he said. "I get it off him too". I thanked Joe for his courtesy and civility, shook his hand and headed on my way, wondering if Mr Offensive had anything left to throw at me.
Part of me wanted to meet him again, so I could smile at him, tell him what a cracking wee walk it was, thank him for his colourful banter, but apologise that I couldn't hang around to chew the fat with him anymore as I had to get home and file my walkhighlands report featuring his picture before I forgot all of his one liners. And yes, of course I would be recommending this route as an excellent short walk to my fellow site members. In fact, those cliffs over there on the face of the hill look like an excellent rock climbing location. Must remember to recommend those to the Outdoor Ed guys at school. Maybe they could take some of our pupils climbing there. Maybe some of the ones with serious behavioural issues......... But I didn't encounter him again and passed unmolested and unabused through the farmyard. Probably for the best.
At the back of the farm house I caught sight out of the corner of my eye of a sign that I hadn't noticed earlier. It was clearly a touristy slogan - "Stay on a farm!" it proclaimed, in keeping with this farm's apparent holiday cottage business. Hmm, yes, indeed. Sounds great. Just not sure I'd want to stay on this one.......
So northern approach or southern approach to Turin Hill????? I'd thoroughly recommend the southern approach to all you guys and girls the next time you are in the Dundee/Forfar area with an hour or so to spare and you fancy a nice wee hill walk with cracking views. Just take a tin helmet and a thick skin and tell Mr Offensive I was asking for him!
by rockhopper » Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:00 pm
by Meatball » Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:07 pm
by gammy leg walker » Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:13 pm
PS nice pics by the way.
by PeteR » Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:16 pm
I'm not sure whether this was a great report despite Mr Offensive or because of your attitude to him, but whatever it was a great report all the same
by soulminer » Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:31 pm
Glad it didn't, totally, spoil the walk.
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by Gavin99 » Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:44 pm
It took me ages to work out your title !
by foggieclimber » Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:54 pm
Seeing your report reminded me of a frosty reception I got too.
I politely asked if I could park in an open bit of land and was refused point blank.
I did take my dog with me and had no issues with the dog.
They seem to be GOMLs (Get Off My Land) farmers around here (and at Hill of Garvock up the road). They're perhaps worried that Arthur will ascend "their" hill to remove Excalibur from the cairn
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by Scotjamie » Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:56 pm
Particularly enjoyed the tale of composure
"No, I think you'll find I'm going to f*** off UP the hill!" I replied. "No you're no he said", to which I replied with a four letter word beginning with A and ending in RSE"
....another example to us all
by Collaciotach » Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:12 pm
by ChrisW » Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:41 pm
Soulminer has a good suggestion with the trip advisor thing......feedback is always valued by B&B places
Great entertaining report mate and cracking pics
by NickyRannoch » Tue Oct 09, 2012 11:01 pm
however,it also worth pointing out, in case anyone is unsure, that there is no right of access through farmyards.
by Paula Hubens » Tue Oct 09, 2012 11:05 pm
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by BlackPanther » Wed Oct 10, 2012 12:09 pm
On a serious note. The only time I was verbally abused on the hills was when I suggested other walkers to pick litter they had just dropped. Never had any problem whatsoever with farmers. Some time ago I remember, we set of to climb Sgurr an Airgid in Glen Shiel but couldn't find the start of the path. A local farmer was very friendly, showed us the best way and chatted to us for a few minutes. He said he was used to hillwalkers trying to wander through his pastures to reach the path (as it is indeed sketchy to start with). Yet he behaved in a civilised way with us. So the subject can be solved calmly, it's just some people don't have the will to be nice.
by foggieclimber » Wed Oct 10, 2012 12:35 pm
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