Climbed a hill, got a MEDAL!

Route: Tinto from the north

Grahams: Tinto
Donalds: Tinto

Date walked: 21/05/2019

Time taken: 2.25 hours

With only a small time window available to me, I searched the Corbett map and realising that wouldn't work, moved on to the Grahams and Tinto Hill seemed to fit the bill. It would be the first time I've climbed a hill in Scotland south of Glasgow!!
As I approached the turn off for Tinto's carpark I was aware of a police car at the corner and quite a few people in yellow Hi-Viz vests. Beyond the corner some buses were parked up and as I turned into the lane I was greeted by a multitude of young teenagers being guided along to the carpark.Turning into the carpark there were more official looking people and some vans with stalls of bottled water etc, and it was obvious some event was taking place. It transpires today would be one of several sponsored walks of Tinto Hill by local schoolchildren to raise money for a local charity, St Andrew's Hospice. This was not going to be a quiet few hours on the hill. I was later told there was over 500 schoolchildren taking part that day.

As I readied myself at the back of my car, one group was getting the "health and safety" lecture from one of the organisers. One thing he said came back to me later on as I descended. More on that later.
I set off between 5-10 mins before the first swathe of schoolkids. Tinto Hill is a very straightforward one hour up, one hour down(more or less) kind of hill, following a rocky path (sometimes track) where it is almost impossible to go wrong. The summit is in view for a good part of the walk. However cadets had been placed at intervals along the way to keep everyone heading in the right direction.

It's a good walk with fine views especially to the north, although today was a little hazy in the distance. By the time I reached the summit I had been overtaken by around 20-30 kids, but the rest were straggled below us. I hung about what was becoming a pretty crowded summit for around 15mins before heading down into the masses still heading up. I reckon around a good 25% were walking while looking at their phones :crazy: I got too many "are we nearly there" to count, "hey mister, are your legs no killin you", a few incredulous "have you actually been at the top", "have you climbed Ben Nevis?" Well Yes. "Could you still walk afterwards?" "Do you do this for fun?". And lots more. It seemed pretty obvious that although many were going to succeed, many others were struggling. I was still passing walkers and sitters when nearly three quarters of the way down.

The words from the organiser that came back to me on the descent was about litter. He had warned them about retaining their litter, but I was disappointed to see discarded water bottles in the heather and various other stuff around. It turned out the cadets had responsibility for a section of path and were issued with bags, but it was unfortunate they were needed. I'm sure the vast majority heeded the advice but there are always some who don't care.

I entered the carpark before any of the kids had come down and the organiser who had given the H&S talk was waiting at the gate with a table full of medals. I jokingly asked him for mine and he insisted I take one. I refused and told him I was not part of the charity walk, but he continued to insist. "You climbed the hill, you get a medal". Again I refused and again he insisted. I then asked him if it was possible to donate something to the charity online and when he said "yes", I accepted. This I have already done.

Recommend this short walk, but hopefully a little quieter.

Tinto Hill (1).jpg
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Activity: Mountain Walker

Munros: 24
Corbetts: 4
Grahams: 3
Donalds: 2
Sub 2000: 3

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Trips: 4
Munros: 3
Grahams: 1
Donalds: 1


Trips: 6
Distance: 53.5 km
Ascent: 2029m
Munros: 9


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Joined: Aug 15, 2017
Last visited: May 25, 2019
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