Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Tolmount


 
We decided to approach the hill by the Tolmount*, which crosses from Auchallater to Glen Clova, rather than by one of the more popular routes. The track to Loch Callater Lodge was deserted - a surprise for such a sunny Saturday. Along the loch side, across the beautiful meadows below the crags of Creag an Fhir-shaighde and up to the wild, featureless plateau we went. Sheer joy every step. The plateau is not a place to be caught in a winter blizzard though. (Read "The Loss of Five Men on Jock's Road' in I D S Thomson's book 'The Black Cloud'.)

As ever this holiday, the wind was a constant feature: tugging, pushing, swirling, gusting. The landscape seemed to have been scoured clean. At the cairn, perched above Glen Callater, we met a chap who was wondering where Tolmount was. He had 'walked off' his map (who hasn't) and his GPS was showing a position which wasn't anywhere near where he should be if he was on Tolmount. I assured him that he was definitely on his chosen hill and switched on SatMap to confirm it to him.
He was off for Tom Buidhe, we to find some nook or crannie that would offer a little haven of calm for a snack.

It was warm back at the flats by the Allt an Loch, and layers were removed, but a stop for afternoon tea was delayed until arrival at a small gravely beach near the head of the loch. It was hard to move on. We agreed that next time we were hereabouts we should visit Loch Kander in Coire Ceanndobhair and gain the Carn an Tuirc - Cairn of Claise plateau from there. So much to do.

*The 1:50 000 OS Map shows 'Jock's Road' beginning in Glen Callater when, as far as I'm aware, the name only applies to the relatively short section from the shelter to Glen Doll.

I'm writing this hurriedly during a stop on our way home. It has been an excellent trip. This area has become a favourite at this time of year - pity about all the shooting though.

Sir Hugh: Lovely story. It's good to burn the youngsters off! I've always found the people of this area friendly and helpful. If I were to move out of Perthshire, I think Deeside would be my choice.




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6 comments:

  1. Gibson, top work on every level. As good as you'll find find anywhere - blogs, books, magazines.

    I shall read it again, just for the enjoyment; same as I do with some of Barry Lopez's stuff.

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    1. Hi Dave - thanks for this complimentary comment. Coming from you it is particularly appreciated. Now that we're settled back home I'm looking forward to reading about your holiday in Kingussie. I'm ashamed to say that I haven't read much of Lopez's work so I'd be grateful for your recommendations when you have the time. Thanks again.

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  2. I suppose his seminal non-fiction work is Arctic Dreams. It's a very detailed reflection on the landscape and ecology of the arctic; lovely writing but not necessarily an easy read, partly because of the sheer weight of detail. The other thing is that the book was written in the mid eighties and was probably ahead of its time in terms of awareness; many of the issues it deals with are now more familiar to us through the work of natural history programmes on television. To that extent, there are fewer surprises.

    One of the things I got from the book was a better feel for the geography of the arctic. I don't think I'd looked at a globe since I left school; my world view is flat maps, Mercator projection - Britain in the middle, everything else either to the left or right. The book forced me to look at a globe again and the relative positions of the land masses are quite different from how I'd become used to seeing them in my mind's eye.

    My favourite book of Lopez's is 'About this life': it's a collection of essays, mostly about travel but with unusual slants. He has a gift for constructing sentences with words which are appropriate but not obvious and leave you thinking "I wish I could have come up with that".

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    1. Thanks for your quick reply Dave. I'll start with 'About this life'.

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  3. Hi Gibson, I've enjoyed catching up with your postings on a day when Timperley showers have kept me indoors doing such important things as applying for next year's Challenge. There will be a number of trips up your way before then, though.
    That Lopez collection looks interesting...
    Have fun, Martin

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    1. Thanks Martin. Applying for the Challenge should be pretty simple for an old hand like you!

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