Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Friday, 25 January 2019

Always catching up (Part 2) - Wednesday 9 January. Innderdownie and Whitewisp Hill. 11 January, Wether Hill

Another cold, beautiful day. 

Glenquey House
The narrow Water Board road which gives access to  Glenquey Reservoir as well as Glenquey House  provides a pleasant approach to Innerdownie Hill, though it seems the more popular way nowadays is from Glen Sherup carpark which enables a route round the head of that glen to be made. 

The track through the gate goes to Castle Campbell, a worthwhile walk, but today we were glad to turn right and follow the sunny track below Innerdownie. It is also possible to go straight up the hill from here and cut out a fair bit of walking, but we rarely do this now since it misses out a fine part of the ridge and a rather high gate has to be climbed.

Looking back towards Glenquey House (hidden)

Our direction of travel
Just before the path begins its descent to the hamlet of Burnfoot, we took to the steepish slopes after which the gently rising ridge goes straight to the fine summit cairn. Looking at the map one would think the walk is through dense woodland but this is far from the truth: this is Woodland Trust country and the native trees are well spaced as you would expect. The conifers seen in the picture below are another matter and provide dense cover on the Glen Sherup side though some harvesting has taken place recently.

At the start of the gently rising ridge. L is wearing Karrimor Lycra stretchy, warm fleecy leggings bought some 30 years ago when the Karrimor label meant something. I have a pair of black ones. Who needs new gear?
A superfluous sign if ever there was one. There's now a seat further up.

Foreground: Ben Shee above Glen Sherup
The summit gives good views north, uplifting spirits, inspiring future plans.

The Ochils for all their benign appearance should not be underestimated. We have been turned back from summits in atrocious winter weather, usually because of deep snow and severe winds.

We turned back a few meters from the top on this occasion, in January 2016. The photograph does not do justice to the fierce conditions. 

Access to Whitewisp Hill by this route is blocked by a high deer fence with an equally (obviously) high stile over which, many, many years ago, I had to carry our Border Collie. Long after she'd sadly gone, a dog access door appeared in the fence and today we discovered  a full size gate immediately to the right of stile. Quite a contrast with Sir Hugh's recent experiences at

Between Innerdownie and Whitewisp near Bentie Knowe
Descending Innerdownie on our way back two guys on mountain bikes came hurtling down behind us. They gave no warning - we just happened to hear them. We moved aside and they acknowledged the fact, but I feel sure that they regarded themselves as having right of way when they didn't. I find this increasingly irritating.

Note: I'm aware that this route has appeared several times on this blog but that's just how it is at this time of the year.

11 January. Wether Hill - some pictures

Lower Glen Devon Reservoir

Summit area of Wether Hill looking towards Innerdownie Hill

Looking north

St Mungo's Well from the drove road - water supply for Gleneagles Estate

Water purification building for St Mungo's Well water supply

Monday, 21 January 2019

Always catching up (Part 1) - Green Law, Sim's and John's Hill

At the gate leading to Borland Glen and Glen Devon
There's no correlation between activity on the hills and number of posts on this blog, the former far outweighing the latter. I usually have other things that must be done or that I'd rather do - like building model space vehicles such as the Saturn V, reading and so on. However, I sometimes get the urge to do a quick summary of walks, if only as a record for future reference.

2nd January

The car thermometer read -4C but if felt much, much colder than that out of the sun in Corb Glen, bone-shakingly cold, and it didn't feel any warmer at the point shown in the photograph at the top of the Cadgers' Yett while we paused to take this and the next picture.

Looking back from the gate

We proceeded quickly up to Green Law reflecting on just how much we love these quiet unassuming hills. Last summer we dropped south at the dip before Sim's Hill to examine the marked Stone Circle, rarely visited I imagine.

Descending to find the Stone Circle (I was too far left)

Stone Circle 
Today we were unsure as to whether to do both Sim's and John's Hill so stopped in a sunny spot on the lower slopes of  John's Hill for tea, but it didn't take long for the sun to dip below Sim's western slope and thus get us moving uphill again.

Descending to the track to Coulshill and Auchterarder 

A brief stop on the top then down to the path in the glen.

We thought the boggy ground just before regaining the track would be frozen but there were areas where wet feet were a possibility.

It was still achingly cold in Corb, at least for me. Lynne had sensibly donned her Paramo Cascada trousers and was snug enough. As always, a satisfying outing.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Wednesday 9 January - first snow on Ben Lawers

From Innerdownie Hill

31 December 2018 and 1 January 2019

The New Year got off to a good start with a short day out on West Craigs via the drove road from the head of Glen Eagles. We exchanged a 'Happy New Year' with a couple coming up the road just as we took to the slopes.

It was a winter wind on top but no sign of snow on the Crieff hills.

We'd planned a short day out so returned the way we'd come and were treated to a wonderful sight when a hare shot out of the bracken, streaked  down the slope and across the burn. We expected it to stop at the wall by the drove road, well away from any perceived danger from us, but no, over it went and continued across the fields until some gorse bushes provided cover. If ever there was a superlative demonstration of how to cover hill country, this was it.

West Craigs -  and in more common January conditions below 

January 2018

A short, but satisfying start to 2019.

31 December

As an end-of -year walk we also followed the drove road all the way through the beautiful oaks and past West Mains Farm where we turned left across a field at a waymark pointing in the opposite direction. Why we'd never been tempted to go this way before I can't say.

West Mains Farm and Eastbow Hill 

Pink-footed geese and the ever-present Ben Vorlich and Stuc a' Chroin

We watched the geese for a while before they took to the air as one, and flew to the next field.

Crossing a railway bridge brought us to an old house and former smiddy, Muiralehouse House, (red arrow on map) and the offer of some fresh eggs for £1. All very trusting.

We didn't buy any though

 The mobile phone mast remained undecorated for Christmas.

I assume that at some point this will have to be fixed

Past Peterhead Farm we stopped at our usual spot among a small stand of Scots Pines for some tea and a view up Gleneagles - our route back.

A view to East Craigs near the top of Glen Eagles from the Scots Pines halt (earlier this year)