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by snodland » Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:19 am
Route description: Tinto from the north
Grahams included on this walk: Tinto
Donalds included on this walk: Tinto
Date walked: 04/07/2010
Time taken: 2 hours
Ascent: 480m1 person thinks this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Then about 4 years ago whilst spending the best year of my life working in Manchester and commuting there and back from Glasgow I began to get excited looking out the window of the train and picking out favourite views. Initially it was the sharp clean features of Atkinsons Pike on Blencathra, The Golf Ball on top of Cross Fell or the lovely gouged out bit between Skiddaw and Little Man Skiddaw. But pretty quickly the big beacon of Tinto Hill took over as the train slipped around 3 sides of its glorious sprawling bulk.
So I was especially pleased when my friend wanted to lead me on a walk and said that she had always had her eye on Tinto. She had always liked the name “Fire Mountain” which Tinto means due to a reddish tinge to it. I had done some research to try and impress her.
“That’s a load of Fersite”
“No its true” she said, “I read it in a book”
“Fersite sandstone” I explained. “Gives it the reddish colouration”
The intention was to use it as an intro to Walk Leading and Navigation. Now I know what you are all thinking....Tinto has a path, it goes straight up, you then go straight down. But that is not the point...All of us, even us Big Rough Tough Mountainy types started navigating somewhere and I pretty confidently predict that it wasn’t on a fogbound An Teallach with a broken leg and shaking a compass held to our ear screaming “I can’t hear anything it isn’t working!”
And I am always...always really pleased to go out walking with people and get them used to features on the map.Tinto is a very good hill in my book for showing how contours relate to the ground under your feet and all around you with the variations in gradient of the path, as well as the spurs that jut out to the west side, the scree ridden slope of Maurice’s Cleuch.Oh and did I mention that both of my companions were jolly nice lady women type persons too!
We took the roundabout route down the M74 towards Abington, wondering if we had actually gone too far. I should explain. Most of my walking has been north of Fort Bill, in Kintail and Wester Ross. That and the fact that whether walking their summits or driving through them, I find many of the Southern Uplands rather samey, smooth round, grassy, tussocky if shapely humps. So going south I am most definitely out of my territory.
The weather forecast had allowed us a one hour window of bright weather in between squally showers. Certainly prospects were bleak as we had met at Lenzie and discussed other options like Falls of Clyde if there was no point going up. And the wind and rain did not let up on the trip down. Bright patches appeared in the sky.....over somewhere other than Thankerton and Tinto. Our first site of the big hill showed its top quarter covered in dense mist. It didn’t look promising but I assured my companions that with my compass and torch ppacked we wouldn’t get lost, and as for a map.....no I didn’t have that, oops.
Stopped at the renowned Tinto Tea Rooms. Not having done the research properly we thought that was where the walk started. We were soon put right though by Mrs Basil Fawlty tapping on the car window.
“You can’t park here. This is private property,”
“Oh sorry. Our mistake. We do plan to come back to the tea room after walking the Hill, will that be OK”. I thought that was alright and started winding the window up. However she wanted another go.
“I might close up”
“If it isn’t busy, I’ll close up and put the barrier across, and you’ll be trapped”
Taking a hint that we had met that very rare strain of Scottish Hospitality that has made Thankerton in South Lanarkshire the absolute mecca for the world’s tourist trade that it is we drove up the road to the right car park. The wind was blowing trees and cows sideways, well trees anyway. The rain was starting to come down in Niagra proportions and the sky was looking as black as Jack the Ripper’s conscience. Clearly we had to go for it.
We struggled up through intermittent showers blowing straight into us.Why is it that no matter which direction you are walking, the wind and rain is always coming straight at you. Now and then there was a clear patch. The sky brightened. Then darkened but brilliantly as we reached the top, it was as clear as...er.....daylight. and very bright blue sky day light at that.
It may have been windy. We had trouble standing up in what must have been 50 mph gales. I had read as part of my research that Tinto is popular with Hang Gliders. Well let me tell you. Take off in that wind and you would have landed in Norway. BUT it was so clear. There grand views to Culter Fell.
West over the trig point you could make out Dungavel near East Kilbride.
South there was the other Dungavel and in the distance the Leadhills and Lowthers.
The viewfinder looks a bit forlorn but is none the less impressive to see atop the enormous cairn.
We started descending down the path back to Thankerton and the view north was stunning with the Pentlands particularly good.
One thing I like about being up high is looking at all the clinical lines in the scenery. The wooded copses look so clean and shaped. I like man’s imprint on the landscape, paths cut through heather or ditches and roads snaking through the scenery. I really liked the little bump of Quothquan Law and the way a wood wraps around it almost like a ruff. I took quite a view pics of that.
That also reminds me, partway down we saw these shapes in the side of the hill. I’m sure they aren’t sculpted but one of my companions thought they looked like a duck.
And I add the picture for 2 reasons. One it gives me a pretext for showing a photo of the side of Balcknock in Glen Fruin that looked for all the world to me to be two rabbits in a clinch, snogging.
But also because, if it was a duck, it put me in mind of those Hill figures in England. The White Horse of Avebury Vale or the Cerne Abbas giant waving his giant club above his head and er...waving...his giant Hampton below his body. I had a vision of years to come when Tony Robinson and the Time Team excavate, not the White Horse of Avebury but “The Giant Duck of Tinto”. That’ll teach them for going to the pub every night after a day ploughing up fields.
On the North West horizon, though we could see what was coming next in terms of weather.
And so it proved. A cloudburst drenched us just as we were oh so near to the car, and just after we were feeling rather smug for not having bothered with waterproofs as Craghoppers dry out so easily in a bit of wind. The downpour was torrential. So much so that the path became a stream.
We could even hear the water babbling along like a river.and then......
Frustratingly...the rain stopped and the sky was as blue as you get.
Looking back we all agreed that had we seen the cairn at the start, rather than it being somewhere in the mist, it would have made the walk up so much easier as it really does look so close.
We changed out of our wet soaking clothes. Plans to stop at the Tinto Tea Room had to be cancelled, because true to her word the proprietor had managed to clear everybody out of it and as we went past at 3 o'clock on a Sunday afternoon - it was closed and the barrier put up to stop anyone else having a good time and enjoying a cup of tea and some cake.
by fedupofuserids » Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:29 am
snodland wrote :
Tinto has a path, it goes straight up, you then go straight down.
Best way sometimes .
Joke aside its a hill I would love to do, the SMC Corbett guide gives 2 alternate routes are these a bit more interesting or at the end of the day, like many hills, is it best to go straight up and down ?
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by LeithySuburbs » Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:31 am
by walk aboot » Wed Jul 07, 2010 10:20 am
Oh, and plenty of places to eat and drink just up the road in Biggar .
Still need to do this hill myself and it is frustrating passing it all the time...
- mountain coward
by walk aboot » Wed Jul 07, 2010 10:49 am
On Tintock tap there is a mist,
And in the mist there is a kist,
And in the kist there is a cup,
And in the cup there is a drap;
Tak up the cup and drink the drap,
And set the cup on Tintock tap.
And this fits better with Tigh n' to-ag (House of Mist).
Funny the use of 'kist' in that rhyme - we have a 'Fairy Kist' on our moor but I'd not heard the word before that...
- mountain coward
by walk aboot » Wed Jul 07, 2010 11:11 am
You would like Tinto (a walk up the back in Winter is best). The cairn is either something to do with bronze age, I think, or druids and solstaces, etc. because it's in line with another smaller cairn on a nearby summit, must be Coulter way. Folk go up Tinto on New Year's Eve and light a fire (Biggar also has a bonfire on New Year's Eve, if you can't be bothered with the trek).
New Year's Eve sounds a great time to go up!
- mountain coward
by walk aboot » Wed Jul 07, 2010 11:16 am
by kevsbald » Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:23 pm
walk aboot wrote:Just thinking, I'd like to hear monty try and say that rhyme when he's bladdered
- mountain coward
by SouthernUplandKing » Thu Mar 03, 2011 12:54 am
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if anyone is watching "A History of ancient Britain" by Neil Oliver, there was an interesting piece about bronze age hill - sites last week. I only saw part of it, but I think he mentioned Cairnpapple Hill which is in Bathgate and not that far from Tinto. There is a major bronze age fort on top of Cairnpapple (no, I have not been up that hill either!!)
Re "fiery hill" - there is a huge red blaze quarry just off the M8, and the stones on top of Tinto seem to be the same colour as the red stones in the quarry. So maybe Tinto got its name from the colour of the stones.
Walk aboot - i loved the poem about Tintock Tap, have not heard that one before.
by houdi » Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:34 pm
Interesting to see the direction finder almost in one piece. I posted a picture of it from a time when it was still at its best mounted on top of a perfectly built cemented plinth. In your pic it looks as if someone has hastily thrown a few rocks together and stuck the plate on top. I say this because I did Tinto after you in October and the direction finder had been completely destroyed. The top plate was lying around in the rocks. Maybe some kind person (hopefully a stonemason) will restore it again?