Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Wednesday 13 November - Pairney, the Heuch of Coul, Ben Effrey and Beld Hill

Parking at Pairney Farm without obstructing gates was not easy and would be well nigh impossible for more than two cars but after trying different spots we were finally happy that we would not incur the wrath of the farmer and off we went up the track towards the farm.

Our destination was Ben Effrey, locally pronounced, Affrey and readers may recall that we paid a visit to this little hill and Craig Rossie in August by a longer route from Dunning Glen. The post can be found here.

Nearly everyone who approaches either Craig Rossie or Effrey from Pairney mentions the free ranging bulls and although neither of us has fear of bulls or cattle, we are cautious since obviously they can do serious harm to say the least. If calves are around, well, that's a different matter altogether and a very wide berth advisable. Today these fine beasts were in the field relaxing.

Beyond the farm buildings we came across lots of farm machinery and various discarded pallets, tyres etc and lying just across the Pairney Burn and dropping into its waters, the crags of The Heuch of Coul. These are much more impressive than the photograph in Angus Watson's, The Ochils, would suggest but I doubt there a climbs here and, similarly, the impressive quarry crag, overhanging in places, looked untouched. Can't imagine that being the case if it were south of the border.

The Heuch of Coul

The steep quarry crag

To my right lies a hill fort

The track soon emerged into more open country giving excellent views to the hills behind Crieff and to the more distant hills around Loch Earn.

Crieff hills 

Beautiful larch trees frame a view to the Loch Earn Hills

Our plan had been to continue to the gorse-covered lower slopes of Beld Hill and go over it to Ben Effrey, but we came across an unmarked ATV track long before that point and couldn't resist since it would take us on a direct line to the summit. In fact the ATV track turned out to be no more than access to some grazings and petered out quickly, but it pointed us in the direction of the remains of a clachan where we paused before starting up the steepish slopes of heather, moss and blaeberry.

Ben Effrey

Looking down on the remains of the clachan 

Craig Rossie
After a few photographs we made for Beld Hill, a favoured place for the local cattle and on our way back to rejoin the outward track. By the time we reached it, the sky had clouded over and we now felt the full chill of the wind so donned our ME jackets for the walk back to the car. However, we couldn't pass the fort without a look and quickly found evidence of excavations which appeared to have taken place not so long ago.

The site of the fort - at the far end of the escarpment below
Nearly back at the farm and blue sky again

Way to the fort - up left by the wall then right

The site is more clearly delineated than the photo shows but the location of the old walls was discernible

One of the recent excavation sites.
By now we were so close to the car that we decided to have our tea and rolls there rather than try to find a sheltered location. We watched cars speed by and wondered if the drivers had ever heard of 'being able to stop on your side of the road in the distance you can see to be clear'. Obviously not.

I have no doubt we will be back here sometime for another ascent of Craig Rossie and a general look around.

I have now uploaded my first post to my new plastic modelling blog and another is due soon.


AlanR said...

Looks like you had a good day out, weather certainly looks better than here. I guess you would need your thermals on at the top.

afootinthehills said...

Hi Alan. I had four layers on and was fine - even warm out of the wind. That's all gone now and snow is forecasted which I'm happy with. Let's have a real winter!

Sir Hugh said...

Just located the position on the map and I see it is convenient for a call at the excellent Café Kisa in Auchterarder where I visited several times on my way north when visiting Scotland more frequently on my Munros campaign.

Can I have a link to your model site please?

Sir Hugh said...

Maybe it's deceptive but those crags look a bit chossy to me. What kind of rock is it?

afootinthehills said...

Sir Hugh - We occasionally have a coffee at Café Kisa and it's still excellent, but Lynne's Mum did the honours on this occasion. The new blog is at The address is on the web version of afootinthehills.

The next post on the model blog will include much more about actually building the model.

As to the crags, the Heuch crags will definitely be chossy like all those in the Ochils. The rocks are volcanic and I'm fairly sure the crags on nearby Craig Rossie have their share of basalt, so probably so do these around Pairney, but I can't be sure of course. The routes on Dumyat at the western end of the range are all on poor rock and I seriously doubt that anyone climbs there now.