Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Friday, 21 April 2017

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As some may know I have recently spent six days in The Acute Surgical Receiving Unit at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee being discharged on Wednesday evening.

I have said elsewhere (mainly commenting on Sir Hugh's blog - conradwalks.blogspot.co.uk) that from the moment I arrived at the Unit until I left, the care and kindness received from everyone - and I do mean everyone - was exceptional. The NHS at its absolute best.

Many thanks to Conrad (Sir Hugh - see above for blog address), MartinB (phreerunner.blogspot.co.uk) and AlanS (alansloman.blogspot.co.uk) for their good wishes. While in hospital I was following Sir Hugh as best I could on his long walk from Berwick to Somerset, drooling over his description of his meals at various places while I was 'nil by mouth' for three days, when disaster struck him and he broke his arm. Good luck with the op Conrad and may you quickly be back in action.

For me, thoughts are now turning to the soothing balm of the hills:



Saturday, 21 January 2017

Wednesday 18 January - Corb Law and Corb Glen to above Coul

Corb. 1428 'Crob'. Derivation for this form 'compare Gaelic 'Crob', later 'Crobh', a hand, a claw, possibly referring here to some perceived shape in the terrain. For instance the contours on the north side of Corb Law on OS maps trace the shape of a hand with outstretched thumb and clenched fingers (Angus Watson, The Ochils, Placenames, History, Tradition).

He's correct of course, but we had no knowledge of this when setting out for Corb Glen and Law. Watson does point out that the hand shape is not easy to see on the ground and the reference may be a 'tantalising coincidence'. We need to go back.

Can you see the hand?


A locked gate, the top festooned with barbed wire, gave the distinct impression that walkers were not welcome. We squeezed through a gap with me taking extra care not to catch my brand new ME Lhotse jacket and headed into the cold, raw, wind. A short distance up the track and yet another barbed gate appeared but at least this one opened. We had been in the Glen many years ago dropping off John's Hill but had never approached from the delightful B934 to Dunning although we've used it to access other hills in the area.

Barbed gate number two and Corb Law


The steepish slopes of Corb Law and John's Hill (left) form Corb Glen

Around this point we left the track for Corb Hill, an easy ascent over the usual tussocky Ochils ground but again barbed wire covered the top of an old wooden fence which we had to cross. It was cold and the strong wind battered us as we followed the fence northwards. We're not fans of walks where at some arbitrary point we turn round and retrace our steps, but today that's exactly what happened. Black Hill of Kippen, a vague objective initially, seemed hardly worth a visit so once the view north opened up, we hurried back to Corb Law and downwards for some lunch.

Our day out having been thus shortened, Lynne suggested we wander through the Glen to the point above Coulshill Farm where the RoW from Glendevon to Auchterarder descends to meet our route.

The new sign was damaged. Note the 'avoiding Coulshill Farm'.



I suspect this was damaged on purpose. Perhaps more evidence of hostility to walkers. Note the ghastly Greenknowes Windfarm

We went no further and enjoyed a leisurely stroll back to the car. Somewhere along the way, I lost my sit mat.

Not a good day for photos but click to enlarge if you wish.

A circuit would have given a slightly longer day

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Saturday 14 January - Ochils in the snow


Just as we were pulling on our boots at the car, a couple on skis glided past towing their children on a sledge. Sensible folk. Every year I consider replacing our ancient X-country gear but never get much further than thinking about it on the basis that such a purchase will guarantee a snowless winter. 




If only this sort of day was the norm in winter
Skis wouldn't have been a great help here which is why I suspect the people using them stayed on the piste-like road and had fun on the reservoir dam wall with their sledge.

There's not much to say about this area that I haven't said before so I'll leave you with a few more photographs - including, by way of contrast,  a couple from Monday 16 January.Click to enlarge any photo.








You need to grab days like this when you can because in the space of forty eight hours-


We'd come along the tops in the distance to make an enjoyable circuit




Monday, 16 January 2017

Friday 5 January - At last a day on a hill

It was a good feeling to be setting out for the hill again after two and a half months of enforced inactivity. My shoulder/back muscle felt OK and since it was a cold day and I was wearing virtually all my clothing, the sack was light. We parked at Castlehill Reservoir, a popular starting point for low level excursions as well as for the tops. For many years though, our parking spot for Innerdownie Hill was near the Glendevon Youth Hostel from where a pleasant approach through the small hamlet of Burnfoot gave an easy start to the ascent. Alas in 2007 the YHA announced the closure of the hostel, along with several others, and the small carpark has been absorbed into the steep driveway up to a new house which stands on the former YH site.

The cold encouraged fast progress up the water board road past Glen Quey Moss, peaceful and undisturbed after the successful fight to stop CEMEX's application to quarry there. Everywhere underfoot was solid but not icy there having been little or no precipitation for a number of days, but care was needed all the same.

Glenquey - luckily were going to walk into sunshine




The route now ambles along the base of Innerdownie to the start of our preferrred line of ascent although a direct approach can be made from where the photograph is taken.

So far I hadn't felt any pain in my shoulder but unfortunately on the steepish first bit of the ascent I must have set a pesonal best for slowness, so clearly I've some work to do on the fitness front. The gently rising ridge took us easily to the fine and familiar cairn and oh my goodness, it was so good to be back again and looking north from on high.

Approaching the top - interesting skies



Descending

After some lunch we sauntered down the grassy path, meeting two cyclists pedalling away furiously to make, it seemed to me, slower progress than they would have made on foot. Shorty after passing us they dismounted to push. I expect the enjoyed a good run back though.

Home, hot chocolate, a shower and a relaxing evening. What more can you ask?


The red line shows the start from the former YH, the blue our route.