walkhighlands

Is this the way to Cairngorm?

Donalds: Blairdenon Hill

Date walked: 13/02/2021

Time taken: 3 hours

Distance: 11.5km

Ascent: 500m

It has been a stunning winter and we have sought to make best use of it.

The Ochils while being rounded and seemingly 'unexciting' on first glance, are in fact great hillwalking days out. As anyone who has seen them from the Hillfoots or the train out of Edinburgh will confirm, they often 'punch above their weight' when in winter conditions. The whole day remained bitterly cold, MWIS suggesting -20/-25*c on Munro tops, and I think we were the same. A reminder to take full emergency kit and strengthening the Ochils reputation of being 'proper' hills. :clap:

Today was one of them.

We set off having left our car early in the morning, off the road fully and facing downhill before the waist deep snow drifts blocked our way. Not everyone was as considerate or cautious - including this 4wd who came to a quick and quick firm stop in the snow. It took an hour of digging for them to get out... :roll:
ImageOchils loop from Sherrifmuir by Matt Robinson, on Flickr

It was -6 according to the car on the way, and a blast of fully arctic air meant a shivering start for us both as we sought to get our roast on uphill without sweating too much. Avoiding the windblown snow and drifts meant a meandering path for us - but we barely broke through the harder surface, so making quick progress.

View from Glentye Hill - the road passes the small stand of trees in the centre foreground, the usual parking place.
ImageOchils loop from Sherrifmuir by Matt Robinson, on Flickr

We deliberately stayed on the windward edge of Glentye Hill, leaving the lee slope of deep snow to the gathering skiers and boarders. Clearly word was out that the Col Du Sherrifmuir ski area was open.
Our route follows the horizon line of this picture, from left across to right.
ImageOchils loop from Sherrifmuir by Matt Robinson, on Flickr

The pull up to Meikle Corum and Blairdenon is a stiff one even in the best of conditions. Add in 40mph wind and the sub zero temperatures and it was much more akin to Cairngorm.
ImageOchils loop from Sherrifmuir by Matt Robinson, on Flickr

Again we were careful to follow 'good ice' areas to walk on, rather than the path which was in many places knee and more deep in snow and would have been a much harder walk.
ImageOchils loop from Sherrifmuir by Matt Robinson, on Flickr
ImageOchils loop from Sherrifmuir by Matt Robinson, on Flickr

By now we could see the clouds gathering and the Trossachs being enveloped in some poorer weather, time to exit the hill.
ImageOchils loop from Sherrifmuir by Matt Robinson, on Flickr
ImageOchils loop from Sherrifmuir by Matt Robinson, on Flickr

It was a novelty crossing the moss without wet feet, although as soon as we left the wind-blasted summit the snow became challenging. A layer of ice over soft snow saw bruised shins, knees and thighs. Hard work ensued despite the conditions looking great.
ImageOchils loop from Sherrifmuir by Matt Robinson, on Flickr

We soon swung back to the return leg, now able to see our outward leg to the north.
ImageOchils loop from Sherrifmuir by Matt Robinson, on Flickr
ImageOchils loop from Sherrifmuir by Matt Robinson, on Flickr

At this point the sun disappeared and the wind whipped up again, our exit hastened without stopping much or taking many pictures. Everyone likes the glamour of a plantation wander off the hill....

ImageOchils loop from Sherrifmuir by Matt Robinson, on Flickr

We followed the track back down to the 'other' car park at the foot of Old Wharrie Burn. Amazingly some cars had got down the icy, steep road to it. How they got out again I have no idea... We walked up the road to our car with seemingly half of Dunblane, who were making use of the new paths on Sherrifmuir for a walk out from the houses.


A fine day of walking in our own back yard. Recommended.

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matt_outandabout


Occupation: Outdoor Learning Officer
Interests: Walking, canoeing, mountain biking.
Activity: Wanderer
Mountain: The next one.
Place: Loch Rannoch

Munros: 58
Corbetts: 20
Grahams: 21
Donalds: 18
Wainwrights: 143
Hewitts: 154
Sub 2000: 20
Islands: 12



Filter reports


Statistics

2021

Trips: 5
Distance: 28.5 km
Ascent: 500m
Corbetts: 2
Donalds: 1

2020

Trips: 8
Distance: 57.5 km
Ascent: 1316m
Munros: 3
Corbetts: 1
Grahams: 1
Donalds: 2

2019

Trips: 1
Distance: 14 km
Munros: 4

2018

Trips: 1

2017

Trips: 4
Munros: 5

2016

Trips: 3
Distance: 13 km
Ascent: 180m
Munros: 2

2015

Trips: 1
Distance: 14 km
Munros: 2


Joined: Nov 03, 2013
Last visited: May 13, 2021
Total posts: 196 | Search posts