Creag Scalabsdale, A first report

Sub 2000s: Creag Scalabsdale

Date walked: 11/07/2014

Time taken: 5.5 hours

Distance: 25km

Ascent: 411m

Whilst clicking on the balloons on the WH map page, I discovered Creag Scalabsdale to the south of Morven, Caithness had only been climbed twice by WH members and there was no photo nor walk report.
I thought its about time I remedied this.
I left after 10am and drove down 100 yards and turned a corner to be greeted by many police, vans, and people everywhere. I had just met up with the Queens baton relay going south through the town very slowly. It took me a good 15 minutes to exit the town when it should have been minutes.
Now free of the town and hordes of people I headed south to Berriedale with its infamous braes being the scene of many accidents.
Parked at a bit of waste ground opposite the entrance to Langwell Estate and got bike out of the car.
Langwell House entrance

It was a lovely clear sunny day as I cycled on the private road, soon passing the dog kennels with its barking dogs racing up and down the fence line. Onwards past the last house with its large walled garden. A gate blocks the way; however the padlock has a key so no problem.
Now were entering open landscape, a few deer greeted me and then took off. Continued cycling along the good track heading west with Morven away in the distance.
Morven in centre, Scarabens to the right.
The Langwell River which the track follows is very low. A fine fisherman’s hut which is open makes a fine stop to rest or eat but being a bit early for me I continued on.
A fine place to rest.
A few suspension bridges are passed then a fine old house at Aultibea and its couple of isolated trees. Morven big and impressive fills the skyline.
Lonely house
Not long now to the Wag, the end of the track with its old ruined homesteads.
Approaching the Wag, the end of the track.

On arrival, I had a bit of lunch then I took the photo of the homestead with Morven as a backdrop.
"Watch out, look behind you"
I turned round to be greeted by a bull with its cows and calves only 40 yards away. This situation was not good but the bull wasn't showing any threatening behavior but still looked me in the eye. The river was close by and the suspension bridge. The bull couldn't climb steps can it!
Not making any sudden moves I moved slowly to the bridge keeping an eye on it in case I had to run. No harm done, I took the photo from the safety of the bridge as they continued their journey.
Bull and family safely out of my way.

With the bike left behind I walked up past the patch of trees to Garvery hill. As I got higher Creag Scalabsdale started to appear in the skyline.
Creag Scalabsdale rising above Garvery Hill.
The moor being very dry so crossing it was easy. No path, just make your own line. A couple of RAF jets passed quite low disturbing the sounds of silence. It was still sunny, could have been our best day of the year so far. Since setting off I’d only met one person and that was an estate worker, if you like isolation whilst walking, this is certainly the place.
Creag Scalabsdale

Another kilometre or so I came to the eastern side of the Creag Scalabsdale. Now the only way is up, it wasn't steep, the short grass and heather made for a quick ascent.
Eastern side of Creag Scalabsdale

A cairn soon came into view but that wasn't the summit.
Cairn but summit further on.
An enjoyable walk southeast for a kilometre along the broad grass ridge and then a short ascent took me to the large summit cairn.
Summit, with Morven, Smean and Scarabens

Fantastic views all around, though there was a bit of haze for the distant mountains.
Loch Scalabsdale with a distant Ben Loyal, centre.
Here I finished my sandwiches and took a siesta. Normally when I get to a summit its always cold so I never hang around. Now I enjoyed soaking up the sunshine, dreaming of my holiday to Croatia soon.
A good hour passed before I thought about setting off again. Just went back the same way with Morven, Smean and Maiden Pap filling the skyline in front of me. With views like that I wasn’t in a hurry.
Heading down.
Further down.

Back to the bike and got some good freewheeling descents. Soon I came across cows and calves blocking the track. Can’t they keep to the moors? I stopped and rung the bike bell a few times. Slowly they started to move and I inched forward until another bl**dy bull was in the way. Luckily he moved away leaving me the freedom to continue back to the car.
A very enjoyable day out even if it’s only a sub 2000ft hill.

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Comments: 2

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