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Blairdenon Hill

Blairdenon Hill


Postby EntangledNature » Sat Nov 09, 2013 6:12 pm

Donalds included on this walk: Blairdenon Hill

Date walked: 03/11/2013

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 16.3 km

Ascent: 637m

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In early November I went hill walking in the Ochils. I peddled off to Sheriffmuir under a blue sky and bright sun. I stowed the bike near a copse of pines beyond the pub and struck off toward the open hill. I had planned to traverse the peaks of Glentye, Mickle Corum, Greenforet and Blairdenon; then I’d follow the fence line from Fin Burn to Glen Anny to surmount the Tambeth and drop back to the road near Wester Briggs.

braes of doune trossach snow.jpg
The snow capped Trossachs


Setting my face eastward I trekked up the grassy back of Glentye Hill. The high Trossach summits were tipped with snow thus the cold wind that flayed my face raw wasn’t a surprise. The ATV trail made the going relatively easy through the grass and rushes, and soon I was atop of Glentye Hill. A quad of Ravens croaked above and spent so much time circling me I felt it a bad omen.

I continued to trudge along my easterly trajectory to the rounded top of Mickle Corum. Eventually I met the fence line that bisects the hill from north to south at its summit. I tarried here for a spell, perched on a straining post, and surveyed the bleak surroundings. Miles of browned grass and rushes, touched golden in parts. The sharp wind brimmed my eyes with tears, and the tears splintered the sunlight into a dozen prismatic rays.

The fence turned southeast and led to Greenforet Hill. Near the top was a cross and cairn memorial to a dead pilot whose plane had crashed nearby in 1957; the rusted shrapnel formed part of the cairn. The unrelenting loneliness of the place evoked a keen sense of sorrow. From here the fence diverts east and I followed it to Blairdenon Hill, the highest point of my walk.

Memorial.jpg
Memorial and Cairn


Reaching the cairn I stopped for a much-needed cuppa and took in the scenery; trying to name the landmarks before me. To the north, Crieff was spread across a hillside, and beyond was the snowy peak of Ben Chronzie. In between was a flat patchwork of harvested fields, pastures and bosky nooks and blocks. Behind me I saw the lazy s-bends of the River Forth uncoiling along the valley through Stirling, Falkirk and Edinburgh. To the west the white peaks of Ben Vorlich and Stuc a’ Chroin gleamed.

firth of forth.jpg
The Forth Valley


The dominant direction of booted traffic headed off along a thin track toward Ben Buck. I wandered along up to a small cairn and looked across the eastern Ochils. I discerned a solitary figure labouring up Ben Buck and next to it was Ben Cleuch, the highest hill of the range. Below was Dumyat. From this parallax view its stature was reduced and people swarmed about its trig point. But the fence line was to be my constant companion today and I retreated back and followed it northwest toward Skidlaw.

The path was gone now. I followed the fence warily to avoid the rusting remnants of its predecessor; the sharp ends of the wires poking out the ground had a habit of striking the shin like an angry viper when kicked. I skirted the edge of Alva Moss and the terrain became hagged and boggy. Two Red Grouse exploded from underfoot and several more sat hidden in the leggy ling chuckling away. The channels of sphagnum bog widened between the heathery hags and many times I had to detour from the fence to safely cross. Sometimes the peat was firm and I crossed with confidence. Other times I’d tentatively poke a mass of peat with a toe and it’d slid down and across a deep pool of water.

At last I descended to Finglen Burn and followed another fence line that headed along the Fin Burn. It was nice to be on terra firma again. The Sauchanwood and Blairdenon cast deep shadow over Glen Fin, and the eyes were relieved from the constant glare of the low sun. A Roe Deer grazed nearby and threw a glance at me over its shoulder. As I focussed the binoculars on her, a Kestrel sitting on a post also materialised from the blur. Toward the east were the wind turbines on Burnfoot Hill, their spinning blades knifing the horizon.

fin glen.jpg
Fin Glen


wind farm.jpg
Burnfoot Wind Farm


A kilometre further another fence came from the west at the head of the Glen Anny. The Danny Burn is a lively water replete with many pretty waterfalls. Eventually I found a place to leap across the burn and start the steep ascent of Tambeth, grabbing handfuls of bracken to pull myself up. I reached a rectangular patch of heather moorland and skirted its edge following a stone dyke south to a block of plantation forestry. Crossing the Burn of Ogilvie involved much bum sliding and then a sweaty scramble out onto the pastures about Wester Briggs.

Danny Burn.jpg
Danny Burn


Sunset Blairdenon.jpg
Peeping Sun


When I got to the road the gloaming had been cast. The sky was beautiful. Overhead it was a dark azure with only the brightest stars beginning to appear. Southwesterly this faded into spectrum blue and low over the horizon shone Venus. Further west the cloud broiled the sun into an angry orange flare, and was surrounded by a radiance of peach and plum. A Short-eared Owl wafted over my head and, as so often happens with this species, it circled and against the twilight I could see its head turned toward me, watching. It was dark when a returned to the bike. The Plough and Cassiopeia shone bright, but star gazing and cycling could not be safely combined and I grazed the verge several times before I learnt that one!
EntangledNature
Backpacker
 
Posts: 1
Munros:12   Corbetts:1
Fionas:1   Donalds:2
Joined: Nov 7, 2013
Location: Dunblane

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