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How to turn a *** hill into a ***** hill!

How to turn a *** hill into a ***** hill!


Postby Yorjick » Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:33 pm

Route description: Meall nan Subh, Glen Lochay

Corbetts included on this walk: Meall nan Subh

Date walked: 03/08/2018

Time taken: 1.5 hours

Distance: 4 km

Ascent: 333m

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The Walkhighlands site includes the opportunity to rate hills like they are something to be bought on Amazon. Meall nan Subh is rated at a lowly 2.7 stars. I cannot understand why someone would rate a hill so low. Did they not enjoy it? Every hill has its own characteristics and they all add to one's memories of exploring the hills. Even the peat hags of Kinder Scout and Bleaklow are worthy of higher ratings, as the bogs add to the fun and laughter :lol: .

Perhaps Meall nan Subh receives a low rating due to so little effort being required to climb it? Not only does starting from the top of the high pass seem to diminish its stature among hills, it is perhaps often tackled when the forecast is poor and it is not seen at its best? I believe that easier hills definitely have their place. Having done my family duties, including taking my youngest to his swimming lesson and packing my kit into the boot of the car, it was after lunch that I set off to drive the 150 miles over three and a half hours. Therefore, it was late afternoon by the time I reached the top of the private road. This is not too late for a hill like this. It is ideal at the end of a long drive, a short break in the weather on a day that may have been otherwise written off or before a long drive home.

​Despite what others may think, this hill was going to be a little special! Firstly, I had chosen it as my 200th Corbett. Secondly, I was planning to camp out on it's summit. Not in a corrie or part way up the ridge but right on its summit.

​Just like women, spending the night together makes a hill so much more precious! I do say that as a 55 year old monogamous man :angel: (who has yet to lose his sense of humour), but there is greater intimacy with the hill once all others have headed back to their hostels and camping sites. Bagging another summit camp, I am happy to add another notch to my Thermarest! :thumbup:

The route up from Glen Lyon was potholed but fine for a car with enough ground clearance - Not one for your Lamborghini or Ferrari! I headed up the bump to the left before heading right to explore some of the hills other tops.

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The Start


Meall nan Subh means hill of the berries or raspberries. Anyone expecting raspberries is going to be very disappointed :lol: , resulting in another low rating on Walkhighlands! :thumbdown: However, there are copious amounts of bilberries (blaeberries) and these red berries that I take to be cowberries. Both are edible.

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The summit is clearly just right of centre, though this may be difficult to locate in dreich weather. The top seen to the left has the remains of a thodolite(?) base and one blogger suggests that this is the true summit and the centre peak being higher is just an "optical illusion". I do not agree.

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While I have a Hilleberg Soulo, I decided to carry almost twice the weight and take my Force Ten Vortex 300 :crazy: . This is a bit of a pain to put up. The poles above the doors have a slight bent section, which increases stability but is difficult to slide through the flat pole sleeves. The flat pole sleeves ingrease wind resistance a tad but increases the friction when trying to push the poles through. This tent will typically take me 20-25 minutes to put up, rather than the 10 minutes for my Soulo. However, at he end of the effort, being a three person tent, the space is luxurious and it is very stable. At some time or other, something punctured the bag and made a couple of small holes beneath one of the vents. These have never been an issue due to their position on the fly but I have patched them anyway. It may help to stop the puncture holes becoming tears. It is a couple of years that I have used this tent and I wanted to get a bit of use out of it and test it out in a more exposed site. Despite its mountain credentials, I prefer to use it for "basecamp" use, due to its weight and the effort needed to erect it.

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Camping at the summit with Glen Lyon and the northern spurs of Meall Ghaordie partly covered in cloud.


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The lower theodolite summit. My camera was connected to my phone via wifi and the shutter triggered by my left hand. This is a bit of a faff but saves rushing into position for a shutter time delay selfie. I had thought about heading here first but decided to put the tent up first and then walk across to this top without the weight of the pack.


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Looking back to my tent on the actual summit, which is clearly higher - no optical illusion!


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Two stitched photos with the summit cairn seen just behind the tent. Beinn Heasgarnich is draped in cloud. Loch Lyon is seen bottom right. I think that after such a dry summer, these reservoirs are particularly unsightly. We hear a lot of comments about the development of wind farms, but hydroelectric schemes significantly altered the scenery too, as well as flooding the glens where communities once lived. Many are accepting of these man-made lochs, with their ugly, eroded shorelines as they do not remember a time when they were not there. Wind farms are adding to the destruction that began as long ago as the Hydro Electric Development (Scotland) Act of 1943. I appreciate that we all want electricity for our homes and industry, but I find the price of that, in terms of the damage to such a beautiful landscape, very sad.


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Summit camps on the west coast clearly give the best sunsets, but I was still delighted to see the clouds with a golden glow. I confess to having increased both the vibrance and colour saturation of the photograph. I enjoyed a very comfortable night and slept like a log before heading down to the car.


I had driven up from the Glen Lyon side. There were some potholes but was totally motorable with a bit of care, headed down the Glen Lochy side, which was a bit rougher in places, but still fine! The last time I used this private road was 1992 in a Vauxhall Chevette (or "shove-it" :lol: as some of my friends liked to call it!) which cost me £250. That was my first trip to Scotland, where I enjoyed the freedom of owning my own car.

Next stop: Beinn nan Oighreag and Meall Ghaordie!
Last edited by Yorjick on Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How to turn a *** hill into a ***** hill!

Postby Sgurr » Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:50 pm

What a lot of fun.

BTW, I wouldn't try notching your thermarest too enthusiastically...I have attempted to sleep on one that wouldn't stay inflated.
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Re: How to turn a *** hill into a ***** hill!

Postby Alteknacker » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:24 pm

I must admit to this being a hill I considered walking along with Ben Sheasgarnaich, but dipped out in the end because a pic of it didn't look dramatic enough to justify the long walk :( . Looks like that was a wrong call....

But you make it sound ( and - with the spectacular sunset - look) well worthwhile.

On the subject of low star ratings, though, there are some pretty unimpressive hills - how would you rate Carn an t-Sagairt Mor?

Seriously impressed at your lugging that beautiful but enormous tent up to the summit, though. I've just returned from 3 days carrying my gear, and even my 1.2kg lightweight tent felt too heavy for my frail shoulders on day 3!
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Re: How to turn a *** hill into a ***** hill!

Postby Yorjick » Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:05 am

Alteknacker wrote:On the subject of low star ratings, though, there are some pretty unimpressive hills - how would you rate Carn an t-Sagairt Mor?!


Carn an t-Sagairt Mor is a wonderful hill! :lol:

The first time I "bagged" it was 8 February 1989. The weather was unusually warm for February with temperatures and snow coverage more typical of May. It was part of a week long trip based in Braemar with friends I had met at University. Carn an t-sgairt Mor was the third of five Munros done that day, the five Munros forming a circuit of upper Glen Muick. I think it was the first time that I bagged so many Munros in a single day - Before the "Fisherfield Six" (now five) in 1991, the Ben Lawers Six (now seven) in 1992 and the South Glen Shiel Ridge in 1995. Sometimes, we do not look at the individual peaks, but the day as a whole and with so many Munros, in such great company, in such perfect weather, all achieved when days were so short, Carn an t-Sagairt Mor was part of a fantastic day on the hill!

The second time I visited Carn an t-Sagairt Mor was 24 July 2003. I was rounding up Munro Tops having compleated in 1996. As such, I approached from Glen Callater in order to take in the unbagged tops within a horseshoe without any long out and backs. I stayed at Callater Stables. Being able to include a bothy in an expedition will always add a star! The route included Tolmount. I was much fitter back then and was wearing fell shoes, so some sections of the route were ran.

The weather was very fine but with a cool breeze. Perfect conditions and I really enjoyed the day.

06 Carn an t-saigart Mor 1047m.jpg
Did I neglect to say that Carn an t-Sagairt More has the perfect stone bench for eating your sandwiches?


People focus so much on the views vs the effort to reach the summit, lacking awareness of what is beneath their feet. Being out on the hills places our feet in contact with all sorts of textures not experienced in our day to day lives in a man-made world - different types of rock, peat, moss and different types of snow. We are for more sensitive to such things in fell shoes than clumpy boots. Then there is the flora and fauna. On the Cairngorm plateux, this is more similar to Arctic Tundra than to the things we experience in our lowland lives. There is always the possibility of seeing mountain hares or dotterels

Like all hills, Carn an t-Saigart Mor has so much to offer, if we can learn to appreciate it!
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Re: How to turn a *** hill into a ***** hill!

Postby Gordie12 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:17 am

Alteknacker wrote:I must admit to this being a hill I considered walking along with Ben Sheasgarnaich, but dipped out in the end because a pic of it didn't look dramatic enough to justify the long walk :( . Looks like that was a wrong call....

But you make it sound ( and - with the spectacular sunset - look) well worthwhile.

On the subject of low star ratings, though, there are some pretty unimpressive hills - how would you rate Carn an t-Sagairt Mor?

Seriously impressed at your lugging that beautiful but enormous tent up to the summit, though. I've just returned from 3 days carrying my gear, and even my 1.2kg lightweight tent felt too heavy for my frail shoulders on day 3!


I've climbed it 19 times - I like it, I'd give it :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: stars!!!
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Re: How to turn a *** hill into a ***** hill!

Postby malky_c » Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:25 am

Nice sunset - I had never really considered this as a camping spot (there are just far too many options!), but it appears to work well. I do like the top end of Glen Lyon.
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