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Boriswalking with Black Panther: Cul Mor & Cul Beag

Boriswalking with Black Panther: Cul Mor & Cul Beag


Postby BlackPanther » Thu Jun 04, 2020 9:27 pm

Date walked: 20/05/2020

Time taken: 4.5 hours

Distance: 30 km

Ascent: 579m

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In the deep middle of the lockdown Kevin had a few odd days off to use and we planned to do some painting and kitchen renovation. Yet when weather forecast showed blue sky and high temperature, we couldn't resist a half-day's outing, this time a bike & hike trip to Cul Mor and Cul Beag.

I can now hear people shouting WHAT??? A bike trip from Beauly to Assynt??? Not only it breaks the lockdown rules, but you must have used jet-propelled bikes to do it in 4.5 hours! :lol: :lol:

Thankfully, we have our own mini-versions of Cul Mor and Beag just a few miles away from home. Technically, we could drive to the bottom of Cul Beag - there is a small car park by the entrance to Auchderson Farm, but we decided that using bikes will be much more fun!

We cycled to Aultgowrie Bridge and then traversed both hills, returning to the spot where we left our bikes. The walking part was 9km, much of this on pathless moorland, but the two TUMPs really surprised us. They are great little hills and Cul Mor even provided a wee scramble :D

Track_CUL MOR & BEAG ORD 30KM 9KM.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


There was a car parked at the small car park by the bridge, but we never met its owner so whoever it was, wasn't climbing "our" hills that day. We left bikes on the grass by the track:
2020-05-20 cul mor and beag ord 003.JPG

The access track to Auchderson Farm is framed by gorse bushes, now in full bloom and spreading nice, sweet fragrance everywhere:
2020-05-20 cul mor and beag ord 004.JPG

Once out of the shrubbery, we quickly gained height and could admire views to the nearby Ben Wyvis:
2020-05-20 cul mor and beag ord 009.JPG

He Who Always Knows It Best was pretty confident we could climb both hills and return home for some afternoon kitchen painting :lol: :lol:
2020-05-20 cul mor and beag ord 011.JPG

The track passes by the old farm buildings and continues uphill for a short distance:
2020-05-20 cul mor and beag ord 012.JPG

After about half a mile, we left the track (which heads into Glen Goibhre and would be useful to reach another TUMP, Carn Doire Mhurchaid) and began the short ascent to the lower top of Cul Beag, 353m:
2020-05-20 cul mor and beag ord 021.JPG

Cnoc Udais and Cnoc Beinn na Lice:
2020-05-20 cul mor and beag ord 024.JPG

We crossed a small boggy dip and found ourselves in the shadow of several pines, looking suspiciously Caledonian to me:
2020-05-20 cul mor and beag ord 027.JPG

Beinn a'Bha'ach Ard on the western horizon:
2020-05-20 cul mor and beag ord 030.JPG

The climb was far to short by our standards and soon we were on the summit of Cul Beag. The highest point is marked with a small cairn, constructed on top of a large boulder:
2020-05-20 cul mor and beag ord 132.JPG

The summit area hosts several such large rocks and they make an interesting foreground to the surrounding landscape. The most memorable views are on the western side, with Loch Orrin sitting in the glen of the same name, framed by the two hill ranges on both sides:
2020-05-20 cul mor and beag ord 035.JPG

Zoom to Orrin Dam:
2020-05-20 cul mor and beag ord 053.JPG

Ben Wyvis:
2020-05-20 cul mor and beag ord 041.JPG

The Ullapool Beinn Dearg and friends. Oh how much I miss the big hills. I wish I could just march up one of them :cry: :cry: :cry:
2020-05-20 cul mor and beag ord 044.JPG

I shed a few tears thinking about the mighty mountains of the far north, but as soon as I saw the southern side of Cul Mor, all sorrows were forgotten. Well, it might not be a big mountain to climb, but it looks delightful for a hill-hungry Panther!
2020-05-20 cul mor and beag ord 045.JPG

My pathetic attempt at Jaxtering :lol: :lol:
2020-05-20 cul mor and beag ord 128.JPG

Cromarty Firth:
2020-05-20 cul mor and beag ord 056.JPG

The direct descent north to the col between the two tops from Cul Beag is not possible due to crags, so we aimed west to traverse on higher ground towards Cul Mor. The very sight of the rocky wall made us salivate like Pavlov's dogs:
2020-05-20 cul mor and beag ord 060.JPG

Kevin posing with the wall:
2020-05-20 cul mor and beag ord 063.JPG

On close inspection, the wall is not as vertical as it looks from the distance, and it is possible to scramble up the rocks:
2020-05-20 cul mor and beag ord 068.JPG

Don't tell him twice! He ignored the bypass path and went for it!
2020-05-20 cul mor and beag ord 072.JPG

Higher up, the slopes are steep but manageable, a bit overgrown with scratchy heather, but at least it felt like proper hillwalking, if only for a short time!
2020-05-20 cul mor and beag ord 073.JPG

At 393m, this is the higher of the twin TUMPs, the summit marked with a small cairn:
2020-05-20 cul mor and beag ord 087.JPG

Me and Lucy on our second TUMP of the day :D :D :D
2020-05-20 cul mor and beag ord 141.JPG

Cul Mor might be higher, but the views are slightly less attractive than those from Cul Beag, maybe because Loch Orrin is now partially hidden from view, and the Fairburn Windfarm is closer. Still, it was a nice spot to hang on for a while.
Ben Wyvis from Cul Mor:
2020-05-20 cul mor and beag ord 102.JPG

Glen Orrin and the wind turbines:
2020-05-20 cul mor and beag ord 097.JPG

Zoom to the Fannichs:
2020-05-20 cul mor and beag ord 082.JPG

Cul Beag from Cul Mor:
2020-05-20 cul mor and beag ord 075.JPG

Kevin noticed that a local castle, Fairburn Tower, is currently undergoing renovation. Fantastic news, as this 17th century towerhouse has a very rich history, including connection to the Braham Seer. More information can be found in my old report about Orrin Falls and Fairburn Tower. I guess all works are currently suspended due to Covid, hopefully the castle will be restored in full. When it is finished, it will be available to rent as a holiday cottage. Holidays in a haunted tower? Count me in! :lol: :lol:
2020-05-20 cul mor and beag ord 101.JPG

It is possible to descend from Cul Mor east to Cornhill Wood, but we had to get back to our bikes so retraced our steps to the bealach:
2020-05-20 cul mor and beag ord 115.JPG

Cnoc Udais and Beauly Firth from the track near Auchderson:
2020-05-20 cul mor and beag ord 117.JPG

Lovely weather stayed with us for the rest of the walk and cycle home. :D

By mid May we started to run out of options for Boriswalking/Boriscycling, but I have one more story to tell, a visit to two more TUMPs which can be reached from Beauly by car (the start of the walk is 7 miles from the village). The two tops can easily be reached using windfarm tracks. The day was showery but we still had good time. TR to come soon :D
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BlackPanther
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Re: Boriswalking with Black Panther: Cul Mor & Cul Beag

Postby Mal Grey » Fri Jun 05, 2020 3:17 pm

Ha, ha, had me going for a bit! :lol:

Hope you managed to cycle slowly enough to avoid the decorating...
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Re: Boriswalking with Black Panther: Cul Mor & Cul Beag

Postby Alteknacker » Fri Jun 05, 2020 11:03 pm

Must admit you caught me out there: "How on earth could they get up to Assynt under the present rules?" I thought!

But I must admit: very nice hills nonetheless, and an excellent report.

My son is emigrating to Scotland next month, and his place will be big enough to house an aged parent; so I'm just hoping that the lockdown will be eased some time this year!!
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Re: Boriswalking with Black Panther: Cul Mor & Cul Beag

Postby malky_c » Fri Jun 05, 2020 11:26 pm

These look great! I have been meaning to have a look at them for ages, but there's always something else to do...

Plenty of interesting places within a stone's throw of Beauly. We're stuck in Glasgow currently - actually not as bad as it sounds as the Kilpatricks and Campsies are within cycling distance and there is loads of good cycling that brings the Southern Highlands into view. Would still kill for being on the Beauly Firth though! Hoping the travel restrictions will ease over the next few weeks so we can head back to my place in Inverness :) .
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Re: Boriswalking with Black Panther: Cul Mor & Cul Beag

Postby BlackPanther » Mon Jun 08, 2020 8:29 am

Mal Grey wrote:Ha, ha, had me going for a bit! :lol:

Hope you managed to cycle slowly enough to avoid the decorating...


Actually, when we got home I discovered that my arms caught too much sun (I'm UV allergic) and they swelled up, looking like two overcooked sausages. My own fault, of course - forgot the sunscreen! Anyway, it was good enough excuse to avoid the brush, at least that day :wink:

Alteknacker wrote:Must admit you caught me out there: "How on earth could they get up to Assynt under the present rules?" I thought!

But I must admit: very nice hills nonetheless, and an excellent report.

My son is emigrating to Scotland next month, and his place will be big enough to house an aged parent; so I'm just hoping that the lockdown will be eased some time this year!!


I think we are all fed up with the lockdown and the traveling restrictions. I understand it's necessary, but my patience is wearing thin. Wish I could go to the other Cul Mor and Beag!

Having a family member in Scotland is very useful :D Kevin used to drive to the Highlands twice a year for holidays when he lived in Cornwall, eventually he got fed up with spending too much time on the A9 and moved up here :lol:

malky_c wrote:These look great! I have been meaning to have a look at them for ages, but there's always something else to do...

Plenty of interesting places within a stone's throw of Beauly. We're stuck in Glasgow currently - actually not as bad as it sounds as the Kilpatricks and Campsies are within cycling distance and there is loads of good cycling that brings the Southern Highlands into view. Would still kill for being on the Beauly Firth though! Hoping the travel restrictions will ease over the next few weeks so we can head back to my place in Inverness :) .


I was convinced you have done them already just didn't bother posting!

I can understand your frustration, Glasgow may be nice but no place like the Scottish Highlands! Inverness (as much as Beauly) is a great base for hiking, even with current restriction we can use bikes to get to many nice spots. Since the start of the lockdown, we have climbed no less than 10 TUMPs and visited several ancient forts. Since your cycling skills are much better than ours, you two could probably cover all our routes from Inverness! :lol: Hope the lockdown climate changes soon to allow more traveling.
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