Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Friday, 11 March 2016

Monday 7 March 2016 - Blairdenon Hill 631m Donald - Map 58. NN865018

The day started badly. Arriving at Menstrie, the car park was full (all three spaces) and although we could easily park by the Scout Hut, I was inexplicably irritated by this minor inconvienence. As a result things got worse as we set off in the wrong direction up the wrong side of the Menstrie Burn. 'Humiliating' as Sir Hugh might say.  Arrival at the monstrous haul road which goes all the way to Sheriffmuir did little to lighten the mood. The sensible thing would have been to retrace our steps and get on the correct route, but this was no day for sensible decisions. On we went, a good view of The Kips crag providing a cheering sight.

Kips Crag taken near Menstrie - routes to VS
We fairly sped up the road  but there was nothing to be gained by following it too far so I decided to cross a fence and descend to the Menstrie Burn in the hope of finding a way across to the eastern bank. In contrast to the ugliness of the haul road, it was a beautiful scene with the sun catching the Menstrie Burn below; Lynne spotted a lovely woodcock. Going the wrong way can have its rewards. Crossing the burn was straightforward and a brief exploration revealed a gate in the newly erected deer fence.  A steep ascent, initially through huge tussocks (lack of grazing) led to a track which we followed back down to the First Inchna Burn and so to the route up to Colsnaur Hill.

Blairdenon Hill from Colsnaur Hill.

It was a pleasant climb to the cairn but much of the hillside on this eastern side of the Menstrie Glen has been planted with Sitka spruce and some 640ha of planting at Jerah Farm has now changed the character of this historical landscape. Permission for this development was given by Forestry Commission Scotland and was opposed by Friends of the Ochils, amongst others, but to no avail.

Colsnaur Hill summit cairn

A sunny hollow below the cairn provided the ideal spot for much needed sustenance and we had just settled down when another walker arrived.  He also had walked these hills since a lad and was trying to regain some fitness after surgery. It was a pleasant interlude with someone who obviously loved the Ochils and hills in general but this was as far as he was going today. We, despite being well behind schedule, still wanted to go out to Blairdenon.

The frozen gound made for rapid progress and thankfully Menstrie Moss was firm, if not solid, so we reached the short descent to the Old Wharry Burn dryshod.

Lynne on the summit. The cairn was bigger on my first ascent, I think. Maybe my memory is playing tricks
This area of the Ochils forms an extensive plateaux with superb views of the southern Highlands, still retaining a significant snow cover. Between Blairdenon and Greenforet Hill a small memorial cross marks the spot were a  civilian DH 82 Tiger Moth crashed in 1957.

A few photographs and we retraced our steps back to Colsnaur Hill.

Descending to the Old Wharry Burn with Colsnaur Hill in distance

Bengengie Hill (R), Ben Cleuch (Centre) and Ben Buck
Some of the plantings seen from the lower slopes of Colsnaur HIll

Blue shows way out and red line the last part of the route back
We sauntered down the track back to the car in the spring sunshine happy to have enjoyed such a glorious and varied (!) day.


Sir Hugh said...

The less of humiliation the better - looks like a good outing anyway.

I've just looked at the Ochils on the map and I reckon there could be a good watershed walk there?

afootinthehills said...

I couldn't agree more on the humiliation front. I think you are right Conrad, a fine watershed walk could be had across the Ochils. A west to east traverse of the range has been done a few times by number of people but usually it takes in the 2000 footers rather than sticking to the watershed.

I'll keep it in mind.

Alan Sloman said...

Thoroughly enjoyed that, Gibson. Probably not as much as You & Lynne though.

afootinthehills said...

Nice to hear from you Alan. Quote Lynne "Is that all you men have to do all day? Blog and post comments". You might care to answer, but not me.

Alan Sloman said...

I'll have Lynne know that I've been to Tesco as well. Frantically busy here, today.

afootinthehills said...

I stand corrected :-)


AlanR said...

Looks a grand day out. Lovely hills. PS. I hope Alan walked to Tesco.

afootinthehills said...

Hi Alan. It was one of the best on the local hills this year. "I hope Alan walked to Tesco." Perhaps he'll pop over and tell us.

Alan Sloman said...

Us men just don't sit here reading blogs and posting comments all day, you know! I'll have you know this morning I've done the first load of washing and had breakfast too! Multi-tasking!
And yes - I *did* walk to Tesco - I'm ahead of my 21 miles/week schedule by a healthy margin, even with my hurty knee!

afootinthehills said...

The question is Mr Sloman, "Did you carry your goodies back in a large, heavy sack?". Seriously, I hope your knee problem is nothing serious Alan.

Alan Sloman said...

Living as I do in the Thames Valley (admittedly at an oxygen starved height of 72m) there aren't that many hills to clamber up. So, yes; I do carry the shopping home in my Exos. And it's considerably heavier loaded with shopping than it is with my backpacking gear!

I suppose all this training at altitude will prepare me well for Scotland. When I lived in Cambridgeshire we could do walks entirely below sea level.

The knee comes and goes Gibson. More comes than goes, and occasionally it gives me a rotten night's sleep. I thought I had sorted it, but it's back now. I need to get it looked at, but I don't like the idea of things being snipped inside me. I've had enough of that to last me a lifetime.

And, speaking of knees - how is it going, Sir?

afootinthehills said...

"So, yes; I do carry the shopping home in my Exos" I didn't really expect anything less of you :-)

I think the sort of intermittent nature of knee problems is possibly the worst aspect and you never quite know whether surgery will make any difference. The biggest risk my surgeon told me was that "your expectations won't be met".

Fortunately, my knees are doing fine now thanks and any niggles in my left one are down to tendon strain usually. The more I'm out in the hills the less this seems to happen but sitting at a computer with legs tucked under the chair plays havoc!

Anyway Alan, I hope you don't need surgery and the problem resolves naturally - and well before the TGOC.

Alan Sloman said...

You're spot on about your legs beneath the chair. That gives me hell. It's good to hear that your knees are better now,and ta for the good wishes.