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Mountain out of Molehill? Carleatheran from Todholes

Mountain out of Molehill? Carleatheran from Todholes


Postby bobble_hat_kenny » Thu Mar 08, 2018 10:14 pm

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Carleatheran

Date walked: 24/02/2018

Time taken: 4.8 hours

Distance: 18 km

Ascent: 475m

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I rather unexpectedly found myself with a free weekend day and a good weather forecast :D , but we were going out for dinner so I couldn't go far afield... and after a rather punishing week at work, I couldn't summon much enthusiasm for an early start in any case :lol:. Having managed to get Stronend but not Carleatheran ticked off three weeks earlier, I thought I'd just go for another amble round the Campsies (well, okay, technically the Gargunnock Hills if we're being pedantic :? ) and get Carleatheran ticked off, since it was now the last of the Campsies' Sub2K Marilyns that I still had to do. To minimise the driving (and because I can never resist a handy big car park), I walked in from the south, from the car park opposite Todholes Farm that is the usual starting point for Meikle Bin. This is a bit longer than the more usual approach from the north, but in the event it turned out to be an easy and surprisingly scenic stroll :) .

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I set off around 10 a.m., and the sun was splitting the skies... and I'd even managed to bring a matching pair of walking boots this time, so there was no need to set off in my M&S gents' lace-ups this time! (See my Stronend WR from early February for that sorry tale :lol: ...) From the track past Todholes towards the Fintry Community Wind Farm, there was a grand view northwards to Earl's Seat and the "Fintry Gap". The lack of snow in all of my photos from this outing seems very strange to the eye after this last week's "Beast from the East" onslaught ... apparently that green stuff is a monocotyledonous plant known as "grass" :lol: ...
WR1 - Earl's Seat and the Fintry Gap from Todholes wind farm approach track.jpg

When I'd done Stronend from the same starting point earlier in the month, all the burns were swollen by snow-melt and the Endrick Water had been a raging torrent :shock: - when I reached the big wooden bridge, it was therefore quite a surprise to see the river reduced to a benign-looking stream that you could practically hop over today:
WR2 - Endrick Water viewed from the bridge.jpg

I left the track at this point, and headed northwards along the east bank of the river. There was a nice wee gorge just slightly upstream:
WR3 - gorge on Endrick water.jpg

I was slightly worried about how I'd get across the Burnfoot Burn, having found that a very tricky wade on the way back from my Stronend outing ... Much to my chagrin, however, I found THIS: a brand spanking new wooden bridge at the very foot of the Burnfoot Burn, where it meets the Endrick Water, that isn't marked on the OS Landranger map :lol: ! On that last outing, I'd approached the burn from the ruined steadings to the north, and I headed down just round the bend in the river to the east of the bridge, which had rendered it completely invisible ... Ah well, you live and learn :roll: !
WR4 - new bridge over the Burnfoot Burn.jpg

This is a wee look upstream towards the steep section where I ended up wading across back in early February:
WR5 - gorge higher up the Burnfoot Burn where I crossed in spate in early Feb.jpg

Across the burn, there was a pleasingly desolate view of the ruined Burnfoot steadings, with Stronend in the distance:
WR6 - pleasingly desolate view of ruined Burnfoot steadings with Stronend in the distance.jpg

I picked up the grassy track just beyond the ruined steadings, and from there on it was a very straightforward walk northwards to the Spout of Ballochleam, with Gourlay's Burn also proving in due course to be a straightforward boulder-hop that I was able to cross dryshod.
A distant view of Stronend on the way north, with a wee bit of lingering snow, and a rather nonchalant sheep in the foreground:
WR7 - distant view of Stronend with a wee bit of lingering snow plus foreground sheep.jpg

Another view towards Stronend on the final approach to the Spout of Ballochleam:
WR8 - towards Stronend from near Spout of Ballochleam.jpg

At the Spout at last - but where had my lovely waterfall gone today? It was a mere trickle (which is difficult if not impossible to spot in this photo), whereas the last time I'd been here it was looking quite impressive :? !
WR9 - Spout of Ballochleam a mere trickle today.jpg

Having viewed what remained of the Spout, I headed back a short distance northwards and then took the first grassy ATV track to the east. This fizzled out sooner than I'd expected, and with the benefit of hindsight I should have headed a bit further south back down the track to find the more established grassy track that goes all the way to Carleatheran's summit trig point ... however, it proved easy enough to cut uphill (on practically the only bit of rough going that I encountered all day, and that only lasted for five minutes or so :lol: ) to join the main track. There was another good view back west towards Stronend and the northern escarpment crags of the Fintry Hills on the way up:
WR10 - nice view back towards Stronend and northern escarpment crags on the way up from the Spout.jpg

The view southwards to the Fintry Community Wind Farm, with turbines a-go-go:
WR11 - view south to Fintry Community Wind Farm.jpg

On the main grassy track eastwards now, with a nice big drop to the left:
WR12 - on the grassy track with nice big drop to the left.jpg

The weather remained virtually perfect all day, except for some irritating haziness in the distance. Even so, there was an impressive vista out across Flanders Moss to distant Ben Vorlich and Stuc a'Chroin:
WR13 - view over Flanders Moss to distant hazy Vorlich & Stuc a'Chroin.jpg

A hazy zoomed shot of Vorlich:
WR14 - zoomed shot of Vorlich.jpg

It was a bit of a trudge eastwards, but eventually Carleatheran summit came into view in the distance:
WR15 - first cairned rise ahead in the distance.jpg

Although on the Landranger map the track appears to fizzle out well short of Carleatheran summit, in reality it now goes all the way there, making this a very straightforward stoat. The occasional swampy bits were well frozen too, so this was really the perfect day to do this wee hill :) !
Wide Dominions to the north:
WR16 - Wide Dominions.jpg

Soon enough I was at Carleatheran's trig point and windshelter cairn, with another fine view back west towards Stronend:
WR17 - view back towards Stronend from Carleatheran trig point.jpg

Looking southwards towards the two Earlsburn reservoirs and the wind turbines:
WR18 - view S from trig point to Earlsburn reservoirs & wind turbines.jpg

...And another hazy view towards Vorlich and Stuc a'Chroin:
WR19 - hazy view towards Vorlich from trig point.jpg

Initially I headed almost due south from the trig point on another rather indistinct grassy track. Soon enough, however, I spied the great big gravel track that services the wind farms over to my right (west) and cut across to it. From then on, it proved very straightforward just to follow the track southwards all the way back to Todholes. All the same, I'm glad to have done the walk this way round: the wind farm track would have been a rather anticlimactic approach to the summit :? .
On the main wind farm track and heading southwards towards the Earlsburn reservoirs:
WR20 - on wind farm track heading south to Earlsburn reservoirs.jpg

Up close and personal with a wind turbine ... Now, I realise that what I'm about to say might get me lynched in some outdoors circles, but I do find them strangely beautiful when viewed up close. Now don't get me wrong - I'm as keen as the next person to keep them well away from true wilderness areas such as the Monadhliadh :roll: ! All the same, though, I don't really mind them in a relatively "tamed" landscape such as the Campsies, and they sure are prettier than an oil- or coal-burning power station ... or than a melted icecap, for that matter :? .
WR21 - wind turbine up close & personal.jpg

A distant view of the Burnfoot ruins from the wind farm track: this came as a bit of a surprise to me, as I hadn't realised that I'd already walked that far southwards again.
WR22 - distant view of Burnfoot ruins from wind farm track.jpg

An interesting view of Meikle Bin looking unexpectedly pointy, with the Carron Valley Reservoir at its foot:
WR23 - Meikle Bin and Carron Valley Reservoir on descent.jpg

From here it took practically no time to get back to Todholes and the car park.
In stark contrast to Stronend which proved to be an unexpectedly challenging wee hill, Carleatheran is a bit of a doddle, and I half-wished that I'd gone for something a tad more ambitious, given the perfect weather conditions. A surprisingly enjoyable wee outing, all the same :) .
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bobble_hat_kenny
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Re: Mountain out of Molehill? Carleatheran from Todholes

Postby arjh » Fri Mar 09, 2018 7:55 pm

Now, I realise that what I'm about to say might get me lynched in some outdoors circles, but I do find them strangely beautiful when viewed up close. Now don't get me wrong - I'm as keen as the next person to keep them well away from true wilderness areas such as the Monadhliadh :roll: ! All the same, though, I don't really mind them in a relatively "tamed" landscape such as the Campsies, and they sure are prettier than an oil- or coal-burning power station ... or than a melted icecap, for that matter :? .


I know what you mean, I find pylons strangely attractive as well in the right setting, like the Iron Giant striding across the landscape. It's a minority opinion I think but not completely unheard of.
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Re: Mountain out of Molehill? Carleatheran from Todholes

Postby ancancha » Sun Mar 11, 2018 12:09 pm

I'm on the same side of the hill so far as the turbines are concerned. We all love flicking the switch so to speak, and we gotta get the power from some source. Like you I'd rather have the wind turbines than the coal or oil fired power station. It would also be nice if the authorities made grants available for domestic solar photo voltaic and solar thermal available to the extent of making them an offer no-one could refuse :wink:
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