walkhighlands

Travelling or Arriving? Final New Donald

Route: Glen Sherup horseshoe, Glen Devon

Donalds: Innerdownie, Tarmangie Hill

Date walked: 08/05/2018

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 12.8km

Ascent: 670m

What? Ben Ever
When?May 6th 2018
Who? Sgurr and R
Weather?Sunshine and light cloud, little wind, warm
Distance? 6 miles Ascent? 1900 feet(approx.)
Map? 58

We don’t usually venture out on a Bank Holiday. Why should we when we have every other day in the year from which to choose, and Bank Holidays are often such rubbish weather-wise.? However, I wanted to finish my Donald/New Donald round and had only four left to go. So despite having a bad knee to match R’s bad knee, ibuprofen had made walking possible the previous week and a last minute bargain £54 between us for B & B at a local hotel tempted us out. Then a spot of armchair bagging reduced the total from four to three, as from R’s records, I had certainly climbed Andrew Gannel Hill when he had done it.
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All that was needed was a good forecast, and that materialised: it was to be high cloud throughout the two days.

We parked in the Woodland Park off a road to the eastwards entry to Alva, and set off through the trees. Lovely and green with fresh leaves just now
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We had just been commenting that we had seen very few bluebells this year
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We crossed the Silver Burn and found a gate in the fence,
Looking back to Alva
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From then onwards it was up the zig-zags.
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Several people were out, mostly looking like local dog walkers.
Looking up towards Ben Ever
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Plodding upwards
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We left the main track and started up the hill proper. A runner who looked not much younger than us, with BEN NEVIS RACE 2011 (or 2017) on his shirt passed us. He was going too fast for me to catch more than a glimpse.

Looking backwards towards the Forth
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Finally, at the summit we stopped for the obligatory summit photo. The first time I have been able to wear the new summer shirt I bought with a windfall.
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Looking towards the Forth again
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Pano from the summit
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A couple arrived not long after. He looked very fit and had climbed Kilimanjaro, the Munros, and probably much more: only one more year until his retirement from the Edinburgh job and then the outdoors beckoned. She hadn’t been out for a while and was feeling it. She kindly offered us a chunk of pineapple from the jar she had carried all the way up.

Ben Cleuch looked busier than Ben Ever
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After sandwiches we headed off towards Ben Cleuch, At the bealach was a gate
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We then traversed the hill to the north west until the path rose up to meet us.
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We headed down and were overtaken by a pair who had several years before retired from the police and had come over from the Glendevon side. They hadn’t made their minds up where to head until the last minute and were going to phone a wife to collect them. In the past, any such change of plan would have led to trips to a phone box, or, if the wife had set off already, hours of worry followed by recriminations. They had similar memories. Mobiles are indeed wonderful things.
Walking on down
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Looking towards Wallace Monument, now out of haze
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Looking down the Forth was clearer too
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We reached the bottom with energy to spare for the next day, though envied greatly the lads who could just run down ahead. With a sister-in-law and two ex business partners having new hips last year as the result of accidents, I am convinced that a fall is the last thing I need.
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What? Innerdownie Hill, White Wisp Hill, Tarmangie Hill, Scad Hill, Martha’s Knowe and Ben Shee.
When?May 7th 2018
Who? Sgurr and R
Weather?Sunshine and light cloud, little wind, warm
Distance? 8 miles Ascent? 2280 feet(approx.)
Map? 58

We parked in the Forestry Commission car park in Glen Devon. Here the SMC guide tells you to “follow the signed track”…but there are two. We took this one (below), but it turned out that it wouldn’t have mattered, as the other led the same way
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Walked up through the pines
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We could just catch sight of the reservoir below
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As we walked up the broad track, we were overtaken by a very speedy woman who told us that she was new to hill-walking “People tell me I walk too fast.” She had just joined a walking club and was thinking of doing her first Munro “ Not Ben Lomond, not Ben Chonzie, “Ben Vorlich?” “Yes that’s the one.” I couldn’t believe she was old enough to have a 21 year old daughter, and then it transpired that she had an even older son. She had copied out instructions from Walkhighlands, but although she had a Username “Dancing Queen”, she hadn’t yet posted anything. She sped off ahead.
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Plod, plod, plod.

We found the path up through the pines, looking back
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Ahead, the fire break, though the pines have grown so much it looks as if a fire could leap from one side to the other quite easily.
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At the top, we emerged onto the hillside near the wall,
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We followed the wall upwards.
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After a while, we overtook someone walking on the rough side of the wall and fence. Dancing Queen had been misled by her instructions and had climbed a stile too soon, into the forest. But with skills that bode well for her hill walking future had realised she had gone wrong and extricated herself. With a second good-bye, she was off. Like me, she had waited until the kids had left home to start walking, and like me, got lost on her first solo walk. Good luck to her.
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Looking back, R climbing up
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We had climbed Innerdownie on an afternoon two years before, so this was the second time we had sat at the cairn for a drink and a cereal bar.
Amazingly enough we had equalled Naismith’s formula up to here. What a difference not wandering on trackless Marilyns makes.
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It was still very hazy.
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We started towards White Wisp Hill. “You know that Stevenson quote?” said R “ ‘To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive’ . Well, I don’t agree. I LIKE arriving. I think, as far as I’m concerned anyway, he’s got it all wrong. Getting to the summit is GOOD! And now we can afford the occasional hotel, arriving at hotels is good too. That hot bath yesterday was just lovely, and isn’t it great to have someone cook dinner for you and clear up after? It would have been horrible just carrying on.” I tried to make a case for arrival sometimes being a disappointment, that while you were travelling you didn’t know that the inn would be rat infested and the food off, but R was having none of it. We didn’t go into the deeper meaning . White Wisp hill is on the left, Tarmangie is on the right.
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We walked along a wall and then up beside a deer fence
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A runner overtook us, and then paused for breath at the stile before White Wisp. He was a local from Rumbling Bridge and often ran these hills in one or other combination. Rumbling Bridge, we had heard of someone from there? Who? Rummaging in the backs of our memories we realised it was the formidable solo Marilyn Bagger, Dorothy Wilson, whom we had briefly met on her final or penultimate Graham while we were still Munro bagging. Yes, he knew her, at least by repute.
I wasn’t entirely sure that the summit of White Wisp was at the cairn, and took out the GPS to check. (On the cairn…which, incidentally is the summit)
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The visibility was improving tremendously, and the sun seemed to have decided to stay out.
Towards Tarmangie
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We walked across towards Tarmangie. Bank Holiday Monday must have been responsible for populating these hills, as we usually see nobody, or like R’s completion, just a mystery man in silhouette. (Below, the view from Carlin’s Cairn last week)
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Here another woman was walking towards us. When we met, she said “Goodness, you ARE doing well!” There was a slight tone of “Whoever let YOU out,” about it, though I could be mistaken. But it encouraged me into full bragging mode “We’re only 79, and we’ve been hill walking for years, so I don’t see why we should stop.” “Jings!” she said, “Seventy nine!” I then felt guilty, because I lied, I’m not seventy nine for another few days. It turned out that she was training for a Three Peaks fund raiser in July. A friend, one of three sisters is the wife of Doddy Weir, who has been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. Each sister is bringing along two friends and they will make the attempt to do Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis in 48 hours. She was invited partly because she has the experience of having done it before, in her twenties with a team of medics in 24 hours. Their training regime is leading to massive weight loss between them, 10 stone so far they reckon.
We parted company and set off again for Tarmangie Hill.

Transferred through a gate to the more direct path
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Is this the summit?
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R arriving at “not the summit”
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There was another cairn further on, but even this didn’t really look as if it was.
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I needed to get my GPS out and see if it was the higher ground near the wall. From here we could see a rather hazy Forth
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Disaster! I turned out my rucksack, and the GPS wasn’t there. I could visualise it quite clearly sitting on the cairn of White Wisp Hill. Would we be forced to go back the same way? Maybe I could go across and fetch it and then we could continue the way that we meant? Then we saw someone coming across to Tarmangie. Maybe they had brought the GPS? “Why would you bring it?” said R. “You wouldn’t know who had left it there, you’d leave it so they could find it themselves.” Then we recognised who it was …the fundraiser. She was waving at us with something in her hand: the GPS! I rushed over and hugged her. R took a photo of me at the summit of my last Donald.
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She took a picture of us both. (Wind is blowing R’s sunhat off)
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How did she know the GPS was ours? “I just thought ‘They’re old, they’ll have gadgets’. ” She took out her own gadget, her smart phone and took a selfie of the three of us together.
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Now she has emailed it to us, I know her name is Michele. R took out his wallet and made the first donation (we hope of very many) to the fundraiser. It will eventually emerge on Just Giving. There goes Michele, back towards White Wisp Hill again. What a lovely person:D :D
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View north west from summit
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We lolled around on the summit and for once I didn’t nag R to get up and get going again. What was all the hurry? A guy strolled over from the cairn, and we told him the story of the GPS, but he had heard it already from Michele.
I asked him if he was a bagger or a wanderer “I’m a flaneur,”* he said. He doesn’t bother with maps and compasses but just downloads routes from Walkhighlands. “There’s a red route, and I’m a blue dot on it.”
You may be able to see him on the photo below, a tiny blue dot following a red route.
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Another group had arrived and were having a picnic the other side of the wall. We had to tell them too how kind Michele had been. “Good to know there’s still some honest people in the world…not like in our line of work.”
“Are you policemen?” “Naw.” “Bankers then?” “NAW.” “Are you politicians?” “Naw, we’re in the prison service,” then gesturing to a young lad with them with great guffaws, “And he’s on day release.” From the look on his face I guessed that was a joke that had been told once too often.
After that we were overtaken by two ex hill runners. “Had to stop that, got more than forty injuries between us,” as they disappeared over the wall.
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We dipped down towards the glen in the footsteps of the flaneur,
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Walked along the ridge: there were wind turbines behind us, and turbines ahead.
The large rock on Scad Hill 586 m. Neither of us felt like scrambling up today
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Mountain bikes seem to cause much deeper erosion than pedestrians
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Glensherup reservoir. Seems a long way away, and we have yet to cross the end
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Glen Devon reservoir
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We climbed Ben Shee (516 m)
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Pano south from the summit
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Pano north from the summit> I don’t know what has happened on the left…too much sun, I suspect
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Looking over to Ben Vorlich and Stuc a Chroin…next stop for Dancing Queen.
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All along the ridge the map indicates forest, but here there are nothing more than sickly looking young deciduous trees poking out of plastic tubes in the ground, but they are healthy enough, and lower down even bursting into leaf. It will be a great improvement when they all grow
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Down towards the glen.
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Turbines zoomed: an attempt at a Weather Watcher picture
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Towards the glen floor R began to suffer from de hydration, and had to have the last of the water with some rehydrating salts to restore his balance. Much like this poor cockerel, who was either drunk, or whose feet hurt so much he could barely bear to let them touch the ground.
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We crossed the dam,
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Then climbed back to the track homewards.
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At last, back to the sign post we had passed on the way out
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Here we met a gentleman with a lively dog, with whom we compared memories of Glen Etive. His school used to have a bothy near it where they would suspend canoes from the rafters. We told him about our stay in a shared cottage where his hero, John Buchan had signed the visitors’ book as it belonged to his publishers, the Nelsons. Before knowing about Munros, R and T had climbed Taynuilt peak. It was the year of the first men on the moon and , as the cottage had no TV, scientist T had hung around to waylay the landlord and discuss it on all possible occasions, until they cracked and invited us to watch it. The gentleman remembered climbing Ben Starav with his school, a hill I had climbed for my 60th birthday.
We walked in with a couple whose male half at least could be classed more as mountaineer than hill walker. He was sad to see the snows go since he would make for the north and climb with ice axe and ropes on the Ben with his two fire fighter friends “They’re good at all the rope work and such.”
Needless to say, we did not finish the walk in Naismith time, something I blamed on R’s taking so long over lunch, and he blamed on me yattering with everyone we met.
At the end of the walk, my knee wasn’t so bad, and I was cheered by a new theory I developed. This winter has been so miserable that I have been wearing my black walking trousers inside, with matching black shoes. I entirely forgot to transfer my orthopaedic insoles to them, so my trouble may just be a recurrence of what I had before the podiatrist solved it. The boots have their own insoles and aren’t as painful. Hooray. I have found a messed up, but still legible copy of the knee exercises she gave me then at the back of my sock drawer.

Below, a few of the arrivals. However, journeying hopefully isn’t off the cards.
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NB the weather on the day was much better than forecast.

* A man who saunters around observing society. OED

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Sgurr


User avatar
Location: Fife
Activity: Mountain Walker
Mountain: Last one climbed
Place: Home
Gear: Headtorch
Camera: Panasonic Lumix TZ60
Ideal day out: A few new hills in (mostly) sunshine in (mostly) good company...and an eagle or two.
Ambition: Lifelong hill walking.

Munros: 282
Corbetts: 222
Grahams: 219
Donalds: 89
Wainwrights: 41
Hewitts: 102
Sub 2000: 563



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Statistics

2018

Trips: 1
Distance: 12.8 km
Ascent: 670m
Donalds: 2

2017

Trips: 4
Distance: 26.9 km
Ascent: 4252m
Sub2000s: 5
Hewitts: 1

2016

Trips: 1
Sub2000s: 7

2015

Trips: 1
Sub2000s: 5

2013

Trips: 1
Distance: 49.6 km
Ascent: 2370m
Sub2000s: 4


Joined: Nov 15, 2010
Last visited: May 26, 2018
Total posts: 2590 | Search posts