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Boriswalking with Black Panther: Torr Mor

Boriswalking with Black Panther: Torr Mor

Postby BlackPanther » Thu May 14, 2020 5:29 pm

Date walked: 19/04/2020

Time taken: 3.5 hours

Distance: 15 km

Ascent: 218m

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I never thought I'd be desperate to climb TUMPS :lol: According to Hillbagging database a TUMP is a hill "separated from adjacent tops by a height difference of at least 30 metres on all sides". Kevin always says that any tiny top is a TUMP as 30m of reascent is next to nothing. The Beauly hills have four TUMPS forming kind of a circuit around Loch nam Bonnach and Loch nan Eun, but there is another one, hidden away from the views on the other side of River Beauly. With the height of only 165 m, Torr Mor is hardly a mountain, just a little lump in the ground, covered entirely by forest. There is no summit indicator, no proper path to the top. If you look at the 1-25k map, you might notice a network of forest track in Ruttle Woods. Sadly, as we experienced ourselves, some of these tracks no longer exist (or maybe they never did) so finding the summit required some forest trashing and a lot of tick-flicking :roll:

But we were in need for a tick. I mean, ticking off a listed summit, not getting attacked by hundreds of the wee black b**ers!!! Somebody up there (pointing at the sky) must have misunderstood my prayers! :wink:

Ruttle Woods can be easily reached from Beauly using local paths/tracks with minimum time spent walking along main roads:

Track_TOR MOR 15KM3.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

We started form the village at 10 am, still relatively early, before the crowds descended onto the paths along River Beauly. A quick walk along the quiet A 862 took us past some pastures with little lambs bouncing about in the sunshine. No social distancing for them!
2020-04-19 tor mor 004.JPG

A scroll along the road:
2020-04-19 tor mor 002.JPG

Kingdom for a horse?...
2020-04-19 tor mor 012.JPG

From the path above the river, near the Black Bridge, we could see our target hill and it looked... well, overgrown.
2020-04-19 tor mor 016.JPG

Kevin took social distancing too seriously today...
2020-04-19 tor mor 017.JPG

We crossed the bridge and after a short walk along the road, we turned onto a forest track, past Butlers Cottage to a metal gate, which is padlocked but there is a small gate for walkers:
2020-04-19 tor mor 023.JPG

Spring in full bloom:
2020-04-19 tor mor 025.JPG

Initially, the track is good and we enjoyed a very pleasant stroll through the quiet forest:
2020-04-19 tor mor 026.JPG

...but after a couple of turns, we reached what was supposed to be a junction (according to the map). We discovered that the branch heading uphill towards the summit of Torr Mor didn't exist. A phantom forest track!
We had a detailed map, GPS and additionally, I copied the exact grid reference for the summit from Hillbagging database (which is NH 48606 43606, by the way) so we were still confident we could find the top, it would simply require more effort than we thought initially.
We carried on on the existing track for maybe 200m and then headed straight up through the woods. The forest wasn't too dense here and the ground wasn't overly wet, so it didn't look difficult:
2020-04-19 tor mor 031.JPG

It was only 50m of ascent through the trees and it would be hard to get lost here, but Kevin kept both his map and View Ranger handy :lol:
2020-04-19 tor mor 033.JPG

It's up there somewhere:
2020-04-19 tor mor 034.JPG

We found a deer path but it was muddy so we decided it would be more practical to stick to the dry vegetation. Kevin led the way of course:
2020-04-19 tor mor 035.JPG

According to Kevin's navigational measures, this is the summit:
2020-04-19 tor mor 042.JPG

The summit area (if you can call it like that) of Torr Mor is a flat stretch of forest, roughly 50 by 50m in diameter. It's covered in fallen trees so finding the exact summit spot proved virtually impossible, even with multiple electronic devices:
2020-04-19 tor mor 043.JPG

According to Hillbagging grid ref, this is the highest spot:
2020-04-19 tor mor 045.JPG

Panther claiming a TUMP! hooray!
2020-04-19 tor mor 046.JPG

We were all happy to tick off a listed hill (in the current circumstances ANY list will do!) but our elation was short lived. As soon as we returned to the forest track, we noticed that our trousers were covered in ticks. We saw a small herd of deer earlier on, but didn't even imagine how badly Ruttle Woods was infected. I can safely say, we will never go to the summit of Torr Mor in the warm season ever again! We spent the next 15 minutes flicking the wee beasties off ourselves and each other. Arghhhh.... We asked for one tick, we got hundreds.
Once the unpleasant job was finished (or so we hoped - we couldn't be sure we removed everything!), we decided to follow the track circling Torr Mor, hoping that it would be possible to do a circular around the hill. The map suggested that a forest track goes all around and it looked like it did to begin with:
2020-04-19 tor mor 048.JPG

...but soon we found out that in Ruttle Woods nothing is what it seems. Suddenly, the track simply ended. The map was wrong.
2020-04-19 tor mor 050.JPG

Kevin dived into the vegetation to check for possible passage, but there was no path to be seen anywhere. Discouraged by the tick infestation, we didn't fancy another session of forest trashing, so decided to turn back and retrace our steps on a proper track:
2020-04-19 tor mor 052.JPG

On return route, we noticed a gap in the trees, where we could take photos of Torr Breac and the other Beauly tops across the glen:
2020-04-19 tor mor 051.JPG

River Beauly and the power station from Black Bridge:
2020-04-19 tor mor 054.JPG

I know that many of you might find this "climb" laughable, but please, remember: we are still in lockdown and our options are limited. Besides, a TUMP is a tick on the list. Even if it also means more on your trousers :lol:

In my next story we go back to Cnoc Udais, this time with bikes. In the meantime... Stay safe, everyone :D
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Mountain Walker
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Joined: Nov 2, 2010
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

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