Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Friday, 31 August 2018

Thursday 30 August - Morrone

"We're looking back at memories", said Lynne. How true, for there was hardly a hill in sight whose cairn we hadn't touched, ridge we hadn't climbed. And in all seasons: skiing in winter, ski-touring in spring, walking with the heather in full bloom and, as now, at the start of autumn. 

It was warm, humid even, in the birch woods and so I changed into shorts fully expecting to have to revert to trousers higher up. But no, what little wind there was remained light, the atmosphere pleasant, the humidity gone.

Bagging the best seats at the summit buildings - the Braemar MRT relay station - we enjoyed our Lapsang Souchon and watched others arrive. We took a photo of a couple with their iPad 'to prove they'd been here'. A German couple arrived with their dog; the usual parapenters were getting themselves sorted out for flight; people milled about the cairn taking photographs. A typical day on the top of Morrone. Apart from ourselves, only the couple whom we'd photographed looked at a map. 

Time to go. For no particular reason we made a diversion out to a cairn above Coire na Meanneasg. Last time we went a bit further along the ridge towards Carn na Drochaide before shotgun fire necessitated a rapid retreat.

An easy descent to the golf course road today and back to Braemar finished off the perfect start to the holiday.

Note: only one photo is being allowed at this file size - even though it was taken by iPhone. Lots of problems getting this to go.

Delightful terrain early in the climb.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Wednesday 29 September - Away to the hills

Quiet roads and sunshine made the drive to Braemar a joy, the only downside being that we brought the car as well as the motorvan so travelled separately, unable to share that first glimpse of the hills.

The reward will be access to walks and places not easily visited using the motorvan.

Braemar was quiet, even for a Wednesday, but that will no doubt change on Friday night as people arrive for the Gathering on Saturday. A saunter down to the  games field revealed the new, tastefully built, Duke of Rothesay Highland Games Pavilion. The Duke of Rothesay himself (Prince Charles for those who don't know) was driving up Glen Clunie in a convoy of Range Rovers, a common enough sight on Deeside at this time of year with the Queen in residence at Balmoral. I doubt we'll be going for tea. 

I do expect the tradition of climbing Morrone as our first hill of this annual Braemar trip will be honoured tomorrow. The weather looks good.

I hope these photos upload on 4G

Monday, 13 August 2018

Sunday 6 May - Ben Effrey and Craig Rossie. Map LR 58

A lovely day, a short drive, easy parking and, for us, a new summit in the Ochils, Ben Effrey.

We climbed its near and higher neighbour Craig Rossie in 1978 from Pairney Farm, the usual starting place, and made a direct ascent to inspect the crags on the way. I don't recall anything of that day and poor Ben Effery didn't even register. Even Lynne's Mum climbed it before us when in her late 70's.

Parking at Littlerigg we followed Corb Glen, a well-known and much loved place for us and, at a little outcrop favoured by the local sheep, we turned uphill for Little Law and Muckle Law, mere rises on a broad grassy, tussocky ridge. It was easy going as the ridge gently descends from Little Law to the Pairney Burn where, after a short climb through the whins, we met the track coming in from the farm at Pairney, the most common route to the hill these days. Beld Hill is easily reached from here enroute to Ben Effrey but we missed out the top, leaving it for another day

Ben Effrey. Chilling to think that in 2004 application was made to put 14 wind turbines along here. Kicked out - eventually
At the cairn we met a young couple enjoying the view across Strath Earn. Intending to climb Craig Rossie they had used the previously mentioned path then followed the same route as us but had somehow failed to locate the hill despite it being clearly visible on the approach.

Strath Earn
Craig Rossie from Ben Effrey
Ben Effrey, part of the Ochil Volcanic Formation, consists mainly of andesite and basalt lavas and its hillfort was investigated as part of the SERF (Strathearn Environs and Royal Forteviot) project in 2011 by excavating a 30m by 2m trench on the south side of the fort. Exposed rhyodacite is also in evidence and forms the nearby crags of Craig Rossie. We will return to have a closer look.

An easy walk took us to the 410m trig point on Craig Rossie. The couple from Ben Effrey never arrived and we met no-one else all day. A sheltered spot in the sun was ideal for lunch.

Approaching Craig Rossie
When not taking to the hills on either side of Corb Glen, the drove road can be followed to the peaceful farm at Coulshill and well beyond this, a grand house is reached. This is Foswell House sold in 2015 by John and Isobel Haldane along with the 1240 acre estate which had been in Haldane ownership since 1897. The asking price was 'over £2.5m'. It is a beautiful spot. Thereafter, by some delightful minor roads (tarred) and a short stretch of busier roads, Auchterarder is reached. For us that's a round trip of 21km with time for a coffee at Lynne's mum's.

Today's outing was about 15km with only 408m of ascent and cool beers in the garden rounded off a most enjoyable trip.

Foswell House. ARB Haldane is of course the author of the classic 'The Drove Roads of Scotland'

Approaching Foswell House - a glimpse of Auchterarder and the hills above Crieff

A January day

Summer in Corb Glen

The Pairney Burn and whins

Delightful rolling country

Cropped grass leading to Beld Hill - which we skirted. Another top for another day.

Part of the crags on Craig Rossie

Monday, 6 August 2018


This tomato has ripened on our indoor plant - an experiment while at home this summer (see previous post). We will share it tonight.

Oh yes, we know how to live.

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Saturday 4 August - A return to blogging - and one last mention of models and space

I finished my last post on 12 June with: "My calf muscle is now completely back to normal so hills - at last." That was optimistic, as a couple of easy walks of five miles demonstrated. Another two and a bit weeks' rest and more physiotherapy was required before I felt ready to venture onto a hill.

By then it was nearly July, not our favourite time for the Highlands, so in perfect weather we walked locally (posts to follow), grew vegetables, enjoyed the garden and I read much about the space programme in the Apollo and Space Shuttle years. I've always been interested in the space programme but at the time there wasn't much to read and no internet for information. Now there are books galore.

Since I'm currently building a model of the Saturn V, Lynne bought me the highly technical Saturn V Flight Manual. This is the genuine article as issued to astronauts by NASA signed by Deke Slayton Director of Flight Crew Operations and Arthur Rudolf, Manager of the Saturn V Programme. In addition she bought me the Haynes NASA Space Shuttle, 1981 onwards (all models) - Owner's Workshop Manual and despite the tongue-in-cheek title it is in fact an authoritative insight into 'the design, construction and operation of the NASA Space Shuttle' by a former NASA engineer. Other Haynes Manuals followed for the Saturn V and  Apollo 13 mission. I also got round to setting up a new blog on model building: 'On Pillars of Fire' at There are no postings as yet, just a header photo which is not visible in mobile view. Progress on the Saturn V build will be recorded on that blog.

On the reading front I enjoyed two books in Stieg Larsson's 'Millenium Trilogy' (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo etc) and am on the final book. Also 'Failure is not an Option' by legendary former Flight Director Gene Krantz, was a fascinating read and I have the equally legendary and, sadly, late John Young's book, 'Forever Young', waiting in the wings.

You'll be glad to read in the post title that from now on there will be no mention of space or models on this blog with all such material being posted on the aforementioned 'On Pillars of Fire'.

Now, walks. I have not posted anything about the walks we've done during this summer - in fact I stopped posting about outings in our local hills some time ago since inevitably there was much repitition. Recently though, it struck me that I wasn't keeping a record for my own interest which is at least as important than whether others find some, or indeed all, of my posts less than absorbing. One hopes some readers get at least something from some of the scriblings but if not, well it can't be helped.

There will be catch up posts later - but here are a couple of photos from a recent walk.

On the Cadger's Yett having started from the Dunning Road - about 4km from this point. John's Hill centre

Edit: Lynne has rightly corrected the above caption. I am not 'on' the Cadger's Yett, but the Cadger's Path which leads to to the Yett.