Lindsay Boyd's Trip Reports

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Sub 2000 Marilyn - Section 15
Ullapool to Moray Firth

Beinn Eilideach
Beinn Eilideach
Cnoc Mor
Cnoc Mor
Meall Liath Choire
Meall Liath Choire
Meall Dheirigidh
Meall Dheirgidh

Section 15 Index

Section 15A
Loch Broom to Strath Oykel

Section 15B
Loch Vaich to Moray Firth

Beinn Eilideach Cnoc an t-Sabhail (North)
Breac-Bheinn Cnoc an t-Sabhail (South)
Cnoc Damh Cnoc Ceislein
Creag Loisgte Cnoc Corr Guinie
Meall an Fhuarain Cnoc Mor
Meall Coire an Lochain Hill of Nigg
Meall Dheigidh Mount Eagle
Meall Liath Choire Struie

Section 15 Trip Reports

Creag Loisgte

20 July 2012

slide show from photographs taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 20 Time taken - 2.75 hours. Distance - 7.25 kilometres. Ascent - 315 metres.

I was on my way to spend the weekend at Inchnadamph Lodge and decided to climb a hill en-route. I settled for the Sub 2000 Marilyn, Creag Loisgte, beginning at Duag Bridge, which had been my starting point for the Marliyn, Cnoc Damh the previous month.

Duag Bridge was accessed along a private vehicle track from Oykel Bridge on the A837 Lairg to Lochinver Road. I parked on the grass, east of the bridge before setting off up a vehicle track directly opposite The Schoolhouse, a bothy maintained by the MBA. The track was in reasonable condition and allowed for steady height gain. When it came to an end it was replaced by a fairly wet and boggy All Terrain Vehicle track. A large marker post was passed before I reached Lochan Sheumais.

The outflow from the lochan was crossed before I climbed to the col west of Creag Loisgte. I then wandered round numerous peat hags and bog to reach the small summit cairn of Creag Loisgte, which itself wassurrounded by peat bog. I took a break at the summit looking across to the Graham, Carn a’Choin Deirg, the Corbett, Carn Ban and the Munro, Seana Bhraigh.

To try and avoid some of the peat bogs I descended to the east end of Lochan Sheumais, walked round its north side, then returned by the upward route to Duag Bridge where I spoke to a German chap who was the sole occupant of the bothy.

That completes the Marilyns in Section 15.

Creag Loisgte first ascent 415 metres

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Cnoc Damh

15 June 2012

slide show from photographs taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 20 Time taken - 4.75 hours. Distance - 16.5 kilometres. Ascent - 580 metres.

I had thought about an ascent of the Sub 2000 Marilyn, Cnoc Damh, since I climbed its neighbour, Meall Liath Choire, back in May 2011. However it just never fitted into my plans, but with no rain in the North-West Highlands for several weeks I guessed the ground would be reasonably dry and the ford easily crossed. Just the midge problem to resolve but with strong winds forecasted it was all systems go.

I drove to Oykel Bridge on the A837 Lairg to Lochinver Road then along the estate track to Duag Bridge. The track was quite rough in sections but at a low speed there wasn’t a problem. The area around Duag Bridge is used by fishermen so some consideration was required as to where I left my vehicle. One doesn’t want the vehicular access to Corriemulzie withdrawn. I therefore chose to park just east of the bridge.

Once geared up I crossed the bridge, walked south on the track for a few metres before following the vehicle track which headed west across a field containing sheep and lambs. This track along Glen Einig reached a stock gate before gradually descending to the ford at the Abhainn Poiblidh. There were more sheep and lambs here and on the hillsides nearby. The marshy ground approaching the stream had been churned up by vehicles but was fairly dry and the water in the stream was very low, so it was easily crossed.

The vehicle track was then followed south-west as it gradually rose away from the Abhainn Poiblidh. At the high point on the track I left it and climbed towards the north-east ridge of Cnoc Damh, which appears to be named Druim nam Feannag. This ascent route would normally be fairly boggy but on this day the ground was dry, soft and crunchy. Once on the Druim nam Feannag Ridge the views opened up with Ben More Assynt visible behind the Sub 2000 Marilyn, Meall an Fhuarain, which I had also climbed in May2011.

A strong wind had been blowing since I set out and it was helping as I made what seemed to be a long approach to the summit of Cnoc Damh. This gave me time to view the Mountains of Assynt, Seana Bhraigh and Carn Ban, which I had ascended in April as part of a group invited to a friend’s final Corbett.

It was very windy near the summit so I walked round to the lee side of the hill before fighting against the wind to touch the summit cairn. On retreating I found a suitable sheltered area, amongst rocks, for my lunch looking towards the Beinn Dearg Group of Munros and the Hump, Meall Cruaidh, which I had also climbed this year.

After lunch, to avoid the worst of the wind, I initially descended the south ridge before swinging round to the east aiming for the vehicle track I had left earlier that day. It was joined near an old sheep fank and followed back to the start.

Cnoc Damh first ascent 588 metres

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Beinn Eilideach

5 May 2012

slide show from photographs taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 20. Time taken - 7.25 hours. Distance - 17.25 kilometres. Ascent - 1000 metres.

I had climbed Beinn Eilideach in May 2011 but on this trip I would cross it again to reach Ullapool, after an ascent of Meall Cruaidh and Meall Dubh North Top. This would give me a good day out, albeit with an odd combination of a Graham Top, Hump and Sub 2000 Marilyn.

The start of the walk was Leckmelm, on the A835 south-east of Ullapool. I was pleased to see a ‘Walkers Welcome’ sign as I headed along a vehicle track before reaching a number of houses, some of which were holiday lets. I soon came to a large gate where the track entered the forest. was a steady climb through the trees before around twenty minutes later I emerged from the forest into Srath Nimhe. There were views back over the tree tops and across Strath More to the snow capped An Tellach mountains. I passed a junction of tracks and a large shed before I entered another section of the forest, which this time consisted mainly of larch trees.

On clearing this area of forest I left the vehicle track, crossed the Allt Raon a’Chroisy, which was low, and headed south. For several metres the ground was a bit boggy but as soon as I gained some height the conditions dried out. An old vehicle track was crossed and I now set my sights on ascending the Graham Top, Meall Dubh North Top. The vegetation was a bit mixed but I still made reasonable progress especially when following the grassy banks of a small stream. Unfortunately at one point I did go down a small hole and jarred my injured arm, which was a bit of a concern.

This stream eventually led me up a gully and onto the east knoll which I was aware wasn’t the highest point, it was some 500 metres further east. On approaching the summit I managed to take a few photographs of a Golden Plover. I arrived at the summit cairn as the hills around began to cloud over.

I spent a few minutes at the summit before descending in a northerly direction towards Srath Nimhe. Unfortunately it began to snow quite heavily so I donned my jacket and goggles as it was difficult to see in the driving snow. It wasn’t particularly welcome at this point as the descent was steep with bands of rock, so progress was slow in the reduced visibility. The shower lasted for around thirty minutes and by this time I had reached the edge of a forest.

The fence surrounding the forest was followed before I crossed the vehicle track in Srath Nimhe and made an easy ascent to the Hump, Meall Cruaidh. Here I found a bit of shelter for lunch hoping that the cloud would lift, which it gradually did.

Afterwards I walked west to take in the nearby hill, Beinn an t-Sratha, before descending north-west, deviating several times to avoid the numerous lochans that cover this area. The ascent of Beinn Eilideach also initially meant avoiding more lochans but the second snow shower of the day soon engulfed the area turning it into a winter wonderland. As the snow eased I was approaching the summit trig point located within a small shelter. I thought I heard voices but couldn’t spot anyone but on making my way across to the highest point I came across a couple of bootprints in the snow, although I never did spot their owners. I had clearing views of Ben More Coigach, the Mountains of Assynt, Loch Achall and towards Ullapool.

The descent was down the north-west ridge which was rather complex but fortunately the cloud had lifted. I thought of heading for the Braes of Ullapool, which would probably have been the better option, but instead descended to the edge of the forest that surrounded the east side of Ullapool. I followed a deer fence before reaching a stile, then through some horrendous vegetation to the A835 near Ullapool’s Filling Station.

previous ascent

Beinn Eilideach second ascent 559 metres

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Breac-Bheinn and Meall Dheirgidh

6 November 2011

photos taken on walk

Map – OS Landranger 20.  Time taken – 5.5 hours. Distance – 14 kilometres. Ascent – 750 metres.

Fine weather was forecasted for the North of Scotland so I decided to head for Starthcarron, reached from the village of Ardgay on the A836, with the intention of climbing the Sub 2000 Marilyns, Breac-Bheinn and Meall Dheirgidh. I also had in mind the HuMP, An Cabagach, which would give me a circuit of Meall nan Eun and Loch Meall Dheirgidh.

It was a frosty morning as I drove west along the glen on the north side of the River Carron. Just beyond Braelangwell Wood I parked at the side of the road, directly opposite a gate in the deer fence. Once geared up I set off through this unlocked gate and along a wet and overgrown track. The track was slightly drier once away from the road and it later crossed a small stream before reaching the derelict Whale Cottage, where the roof had collapsed although the stairs were still standing.

I was expecting the track to end here but it continued north to a gate in a stock fence and then towards the Allt nan Eun. I followed the track, which was wet in places, as it headed up the glen avoiding some marshy ground close to the stream. When the track began to swing away from Breac-Bheinn and towards the north side of Meall nan Eun, I left it and dropped to the Allt nan Eun, which was easily crossed.

I made an angled ascent of the south-west side of Breac-Bheinn trying to avoid the worst of the long vegetation. Higher up the gradient eased and I headed over some peat hags to the trig point, which I was aware wasn’t the highest point. Here I had views down Strathcarron to the Dornoch Firth. I then walked over some rough ground to the highest point where I took a break with views of the hills and glens to the north.

After my break I descended west over heathery ground aiming for the col beside the edge of the Birchfield Wood which was surrounded by a deer fence. Initially I followed this fence before making a more direct approach, over some wet ground, to the foot of Meall Dheirgidh’s East Ridge, where I rejoined the fence which continued up the ridge. It was a steady climb and on arrival at the summit area I saw the cairn on the other side of the fence. I therefore clambered over the fence, visited the cairn and the area which was supposedly the highest point.

I returned to the other side of the fence and descended west then south as I made my way towards the head of the Allt Coire Ruchain gully. A few deer spotted me and quickly disappeared. An easy climb of the north ridge led to the summit area of An Cabagach. Here peat hags had to be worked round before I reached the highest point which appeared to be a clump of heather mixed with mosses. Despite a cool breeze I had lunch here with views of the hills around the Alladale Estate and the distant mountains of Assynt.

After lunch I crossed to the south-east knoll then followed All Terrain vehicle tracks to the house at Sgodachail and a pleasant stroll down the glen back to my car

Breac-Bheinn first ascent 462 metres.
Meall Dheirgidh first ascent 506 metres.

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Beinn Eilideach

29 May 2011

photos taken on walk

Map – OS Landranger 20. Time taken – 2.25 hours. Distance – 6 kilometres. Ascent – 530 metres.

The weather forecast was for heavy rain with strong winds but on rising, and during breakfast at Forest Way Bunkhouse, Braemore, there was little evidence of any wind although it was showery. I had planned to climb the HuMP, Meall Cruaidh in Srath Nimhe but with conditions better than forecasted I decided to climb this Sub 2000 Marilyn instead.

Parking facilities at the start of this walk, a double bend near Leckmelm Farm, on the A835 Ullapool Road was non existent so I parked on the verge at GR NH164908 although in hindsight it probably wasn’t the safest spot. Here there was a Walkers Welcome notice and a directional sign to a viewpoint 1 mile.

I passed through a gate and soon came to another one, again with a viewpoint sign. Just beyond this gate a caravan was partially concealed in the woods with a couple of bikes outside so I presumed it was occupied by someone who kept a low profile. The track led through a forest with rhododendron still in flower.

On emerging into a wide fire break the track, now lined with flowering gorse bushes, zig zagged uphill. Cattle had obviously grazed here but there was no sign of them. Above the tree line I reached a gate in the deer fence and a sign for the viewpoint which was marked by a large rock with views across Loch Broom to the western hills. A reasonable viewpoint on a fine day but today in rain and cloud it wasn’t very spectacular.

I passed through a wicket gate in the deer fence and followed the track for a few more metres before leaving it and heading for Beinn Eilideach over a mixture of heather, bracken and grasses. The ground was a bit wet in places as the frequent showers continued. The gradient eased and I could see the HuMP I had planned to climb and was wondering whether to include it in this outing when the cloud lowered and engulfed me for a few moments.

A band of rocks was reached and I followed it to what appeared to be the highest point, marked by a rock. I could see the outline of Loch Achall and Meall Liath Choire, a Sub 2000 Marilyn, I had climbed earlier that month. I then walked over to the cairn surrounding the trig point where I had a coffee waiting for the cloud to lift. It was rather windy and the rain became quite heavy. A Golden Plover was rather upset by my presence.

With no improvement in the weather I returned to my car by the upward route although the rain did ease and it was less windy once I lost a bit of height.

On returning home I studied the 1:25000 map and noted that the highest point of Beinn Eildeach, was as suspected, east of the cairn and trig point at 559 metres with the trig point a metre lower.

Beinn Eilideach first ascent 559 metres

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Meall an Fhuarain

2 May 2011

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 15. Time taken – 5 hours. Distance – 16 kilometres. Ascent – 570 metres.

Earlier this year I made my first visit to the Cromalt Hills to climb the Sub 2000 Marilyn, Meall Coire an Lochain. Ignoring the snow cover it was fairly hard work with lots of bog and peat hags. I therefore wasn’t looking forward to my return to bag the other Marilyn, Meall an Fhuarain. However after a recent period of dry weather I thought this was my opportunity to avoid some of these problems.

On studying the map the shortest approach appeared to be from Lubcroy on the A837 Ledmore Junction to Oykel Bridge road so I decided this would be my starting point. There was no suitable parking at Lubcroy so I left my vehicle on the verge north of the road bridge where fortunately the single track road was wider.

There was a gate on the west side of the road so I passed through it and followed the north side of the Garbh Allt where there were some animal tracks. I reached an unstable deer fence and spotted a gate higher up. However on reaching this gate I saw that it had collapsed and the gap covered in wire fencing. It took me a while to locate a suitable crossing point but once over the fence I found an old path above the Garbh Allt, which took me through Coire a’Chonachair. A section of this path had collapsed into the stream.

The Garbh Allt and later the Allt Tarsuinn were easily crossed before following deer paths to the south-east corner of a small plantation. The deer obviously gather here as there was lots of exposed peat, which would normally be wet and gooey but today was mainly dry. As I climbed to and over the knoll, Ruith-chnoc, deer ran off but were back in the same area on my return.

On the west side of Ruith-chnoc the ground was tussocky and a bit wet but drier as I made my way onto the south-east ridge of Meall an Fhuarain. Here there were lots of peat hags but walking between them was easy in these dry conditions. There were traces of an ATV track, its route marked by the odd stone, which I occasionally used. As well as peat hags the summit area consisted of some stony areas.

The summit trig point was reached where I had some good views but those to the west were improved when I walked over to a cairn. I saw that the north side of Cul Mor was on fire. This raged for around three days. After lunch at the cairn the return was by the ascent route.

I was pleased to have climbed this Marilyn in these dry conditions as I suspect normally it would be rather wet and boggy.

Photographs taken later that day on Meall Mor (Ullapool Hill) around sunset have been included with those taken on this walk.

Meall an Fhuarain first ascent 578 metres

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Meall Liath Choire

1 May 2011

photos taken on walk

Map – OS Landranger – 19 & 20. Time taken – 6.5 hours. Distance – 22.5 kilometres. Ascent – 685 metres.

Firstly I should say that the approach to this hill is probably best done by bike as a large section of the route was on tarred road. It would then be possible to combine Meall Liath Choire with an ascent of the nearby Marilyn, Cnoc Damh. However I’m looking forward to climbing this hill from Duag Bridge.

The start was on the easterly outskirts of Ullapool on the south side of the Ullapool River on the road leading to Morefield Quarry. I parked beside a cattle grid, where a sign warned of authorised vehicles only beyond that point. Permission to park there was granted although I don’t think it was required. With my bike at home, I set off on foot along a dusty track that led to and round quarry workings. The track continued for around a mile to where stone was being extracted and it was near here that a female cyclist passed me going in the opposite direction. A car also passed me headed east but there was no offer of a lift.

Beyond the quarry the track became a tarred road and was in good condition. It crossed the Ullapool River via a bridge before passing below Glastullich, which is a holiday rent, before reaching Loch Achall. The loch stretched for around three kilometres but it was a pleasant walk in the sun with the birds singing. Around half way along the north side of the loch I passed Rhidorroch House, although it couldn’t be seen from the track. The tarred road ended here and from now on it was hardcore with a warning sign of potholes, but most of them had been filled.

After passing the east end of the loch a shepherd and his dog emerged from a Land Rover and went to inspect his sheep and lambs while his female companion drove passed me heading east. Shortly there afterwards a car with four occupants passed going in the opposite direction. They had either come from Cadubh or East Rhidorroch, which are both holiday rentals. The female driving the Land Rover had obviously only gone as far as Cadubh as she soon returned.

On reaching Cadubh I walked passed the west side of the cottage and began the ascent of Meall Liath Choire following the Allt Dail a’Bhraid. Initially there were some ATV tracks but they soon disappeared. Two unnamed lochans and an area of rock were passed where a grouse rose. The summit cairn of Meall Liath Choire was reached with good views in all directions. Away to the south-west the moorland was on fire.

I had my lunch at the summit before descending the west ridge. Here I disturbed some deer before heading towards the Eas a’Chraosain. To the north-east of this waterfall the ground was very soft but I would expect in normal conditions this area to be boggy. I then descended steeply to the east of the waterfall, which was completely dry as a result of the recent fine weather.

I strolled down to the track before making the long walk back to Ullapool.

Meall Liath Choire first ascent 549 metres

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Meall Coire an Lochain

12 March 2011

photos taken on walk

Map – OS Landranger – 15. Time taken – 4.5 hours. Distance – 11 kilometres. Ascent – 575 metres.

This was my last day in the North-West Highlands and with a reasonable forecast until later in the day I set off for the Cromalt Hills, an area I hadn’t walked in before. There are two Sub 2000 Marilyns on this range, one at either end but are around 8 kilometres apart so I settled for the westerly one.

I parked in the snow and ice covered car park at the Knockan Crag Visitor Centre just south of the hamlet of Elphin on the A835. From the car park I had fantastic views across Lochan an Ais to the snow covered Cul Beag and Cul Mor. There was a circular route round the crag so I took the south approach where there was a warning sign of ice, which was very appropriate. The snow covered path was well constructed and where it steepened there was quite a bit of ice to avoid.

The path levelled out and after several metres I left it and climbed over the snow covered heather to Cnoc an t-Sasunnaich before descending slightly to the Bealach a’Phuill and onto the 420 metre knoll. The going was rather rough with lots of bog and some peat hags. I wasn’t sure whether the snow was making progress easier or not but it did make the terrain more obvious while concealing the bog.

I had considered a direct approach to Meall Coire an Lochain but settled for staying high where possible. From the 420 knoll I descended to the east side of a frozen lochan and climbed Meall Odhar before continuing round the north-east side of Meall nan Dearcag Beag. Beyond some lochans the ground became rockier and steeper. I ascended the narrow gully splitting the north-west face of Meall Coire an Lochain and when the gully later opened up I climbed steeply onto the south-west ridge. It was then an easy walk to the summit cairn where I had lunch. The views south to Ben Wyvis and the Beinn Dearg mountains were now restricted as the cloud base began to lower.

My plan was to return by the ascent route but with all the undulations I decided to make a more direct descent and set off down the north ridge over Cnoc Donn a’Phris towards the Bealach na h-Imrich. Despite the snow cover this descent was relatively easy but it didn’t last. From around the bealach to the Abhainn a’Chnocain, the outflow from Loch Odhar, there was lots of peat hags and bog to negotiate. It didn’t improve either once I had crossed the stream with more peat hags to contend with until I climbed to and reached the north side of Meall Odhar. Here I located my bootprints and returned to the car park by the outward route before the snow started.

Meall Coire an Lochain first ascent 517 metres

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Hill of Nigg

3 July 2010

photos taken on walk

Map – OS Landranger 21. Time taken – 2.25 hours. Ascent – 265 metres. Distance 9 kilometres.

I had already climbed two of Easter Ross’s Sub 2000 Marilyns and had left this one to the end of the day as it appeared the easiest. I drove to Nigg and then took the Castlecraig Road, where I saw a sign for a path to Bayfield Loch. (grid reference NH8114471198) My plan was to climb both Hill of Nigg’s tops and on studying the map this appeared to be a suitable starting point. There was no parking here but I did manage to get my car onto the sloping verge and off the road.

I clambered over two padlocked gates and walked along an overgrown grass track within a small copse of trees. The track led to a field of sheep and towards the east end of Bayfield Loch. However I cut across this field as the plan was to follow the edge of the trees to the summit area. A number of gates were crossed and a herd of cattle in one of the fields thankfully decided to head in the opposite direction.

Higher up I came to a stile which led me into the forest. However gorse bushes made the going quite difficult and when I got to the other side there was a barbed wire fence to cross with no stile or gate nearby. It was then a short steep climb to the summit of the Hill of Nigg where there were a couple of stones. I had views over to the Black Isle and across the Moray Firth to Aberdeenshire, Moray and Nairnshire.

I could see Hill of Nigg’s trig point summit, which looked higher but obviously wasn’t. I headed across to the forest and searched for a direct route but to no avail. I therefore descended to the east end of Bayfield Loch where I spotted a Common Blue Damselfly. Well it maybe common but I don’t recall ever seeing one before. I walked round the north side of the Loch then followed vehicle tracks to the trig point.

The return was to Bayfield Loch by the upward route before following the overgrown track through the copse of trees to my car.

Hill of Nigg first ascent 205 metres

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Cnoc an t-Sabhail (North)

3 July 2010

photos taken on walk

Map – OS Landranger 21. Time taken – 2.5 hours. Distance – 9 kilometres. Ascent – 225 metres.

This Marilyn required some thought as I had read on Scottish Hills, and elsewhere on the internet, that due to tree felling underfoot conditions were rather awkward. I decided to start from near Quarryhill, west of Tain and attempt to access the hill from there.

At grid reference NH7526081311 I found a car park, suitable for a couple of vehicles, and various signs indicating a walk to Pulpit Rock. There were two routes, north and south, but I opted for the north one as it was suggested dog walkers take the lower path.

I set off along the north path which wandered through the trees to the south of Quarryhill. The path soon crossed a vehicle track and below a power line, to reach Pulpit Rock which was immediately beyond them. I followed the vehicle track north as it climbed slightly before descending to a forest track at grid reference NH7443981809. I then walked west along this track, which I later learned was a Cycle Trail.

The track led to open ground around Lochan Uanie but the area appeared rather marshy and wasn’t suitable for an ascent of Cnoc an t-Sabhail so I continued along the track until I came to a junction of tracks at grid reference NH7340981139. This right hand track wasn’t in as good nick but it gained a bit of height so I followed it until it started to go downhill, (grid reference NH7281181008) possibly to rejoin the Cycle Trail.

I now commenced the section I wasn’t looking forward to, the crossing of leftovers from logging operations, where new trees had been planted. However I was surprised to find that after around 100 metres I was clear of this area and onto more heathery vegetation which made for easier progress. This lasted until I got nearer the summit where the vegetation was soft and mossy with some tussocky grass and bog.

The summit trig point was reached as it started to rain but the shower didn’t last too long. It appeared to me the trig point was located in a small hollow and that the surrounding ground was slightly higher.

After some lunch I headed back to my car using the outward route.

Cnoc an t-Sabhail first ascent 321 metres

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Cnoc Ceislein

3 July 2010

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 21. Time taken – 3.25 hours. Distance – 11.5 kilometres. Ascent – 550 metres.

The forecast for the higher hills to the west was for some windy weather so I decided to complete the remaining Sub 2000 Marilyns in Easter Ross that I required to climb.

The first was Cnoc Ceislein, so I drove along the B9176 Struie Road until I came to the sign for Boath and then this narrow single track road to the Novar Estate Car Park. There was no other vehicle there when I set off through the trees, along a marked trail. The flies were a nuisance but once higher up there was a bit of a breeze so that put an end to them. I now had views of Alness and the Cromarty Firth.

As I approached the Fyrish Monument I encountered the first shower of the day. Once at the monument I wandered over to the summit of Cnoc Fyrish before descending its east ridge, following a vehicle track. At a junction of tracks, grid reference NH5972069724 I took the right track and walked north to a split in this track at grid reference NH5986970270.

Here I took a left turn and in less than 400 metres, at an obvious bend in this track, I left it and commenced the ascent of Cnoc Ceislein. Initially the ground was rough and potentially boggy, but due to the dry spell this wasn’t a problem. However I soon reached a mixture of mosses and heather and this made for a relatively easy ascent.

The summit trig point was reached where I took a break before returning by the upward route passing several folks headed for the Fyrish Monument.

Cnoc Ceislein first ascent 523 metres.

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Cnoc an t-Sabhail (South of Rhanich)

29 May 2010

photos taken on walk

Map – OS Landranger 21. Time taken – 2.25 hours. Distance – 6.5 kilometres. Ascent - 245 metres.

The next hill on my day trip to Eater Ross was Cnoc an t-Sabhail. I drove from the B9176 down the Edderton Road, as far as the hamlet of Balleigh where I took the single track road to Rhanich. The end of the public road appeared to be south of the bridge over the Edderton Burn but there was no suitable parking place there so I returned to some waste ground, on the north side of the bridge, where agricultural machinery and waste were left.

I walked south along the road to the vehicle track beyond the bridge over the Edderton Burn and entered a field as the plan was to head along the vehicle track to the foot of Cnoc an t-Sabhail’s north ridge. However this idea was thwarted by two fields of cows and calves hanging around the track and blocking my progress. I left the track, crossed a barbed wire fence, and headed to the edge of the forest.

Here I crossed another barbed wire fence but was now far enough away from the cattle. I decided to make a gradual ascent of Cnoc an t-Sabhail which was initially through a mixture of vegetation including lots of bog cotton. However as height was gained the terrain became soft and mossy with tussocky grass. Even the deer found the terrain difficult to run across when they spotted me.

After a bit of effort and a slog I reached another barbed wire fence followed by a deer fence which I crossed to access the forest. I followed a fire break, which was not shown on my map, as somewhere along it was the highest point of Cnoc an t-Sabhail. I walked along the fire break but it was difficult to say where the highest point was and continued as far as a navigation pole, at a junction of fire breaks. Even here I couldn’t say where exactly the summit was.

I returned to my car by the ascent route. This was the end of my Marilyn bagging in Easter Ross as the rain started just before I reached my vehicle.

Cnoc an t-Sabhail first ascent 380 metres

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Struie

29 May 2010

photos taken on walk

Map – OS Landranger 21. Time taken 1 hour. Distance – 2 kilometres. Ascent - 160 metres

My second hill of the day was Struie which involved driving further north along the B9176 to Gleann Dadhain. I parked off the road at NH650849 where there was a large area of waste ground, on the west side of the road, which could take several cars. Another vehicle was also parked there but I never saw the driver.

I walked north along the road for a few metres to beyond the road bridge over the Allt na Coraig as I had spotted what appeared to be a path onto Struie. Once across a ditch I commenced the ascent, following this walker’s path through the heather and passed a small copse of trees. Beyond here the ground was steeper and slightly rocky as it passed to the north of Creag na Cadhaig, where ravens were possibly nesting.

Once beyond the rocky section it was an easy stroll to the summit cairn, reached twenty minutes after setting out from my car. I took a break here looking down to the Dornoch Firth before returning by the upward route.

Struie first ascent 373 metres

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Cnoc Corr Guinie

29 May 2010

photos taken on walk

Map OS Landranger 21. Time taken – 1.75 hours. Distance – 7 kilometres. Ascent - 230 metres.

I was planning on climbing a Munro or two either in Kintail or the Monadhliaths but the forecast was for prolonged heavy showers lasting from between 2 – 4 hours so I decided to head for Easter Ross and tackle a few of the Sub 2000 Marilyns, until the rain made an appearance.

Cnoc Corr Guinie is covered in trees but I read on Scottish Hills that forest tracks led almost to the summit cairn so I headed over the B9176 Struie Road to just south of the road leading to Strathy at grid reference NH6527275630. Here a track entered the forest with a signpost for Drove Stance and walkers were welcome. No parking was provided but the entrance was wide enough for a couple of cars to be left at the side. Beyond was an open metal gate with a padlock hanging from it, probably to deter drivers going any further. It worked for me.

Immediately beyond the gate, I took a left turn and walked for around 150 metres to a vehicle track on my right which headed uphill. It was a chilly start but I soon began to warm up as the track gradually climbed through the forest where the birds were the only sound above the noise of the occasional car using the Struie Road.

Higher up some of the trees had been forested and I had views of the Cromarty Firth, the Munro Ben Wyvis, and the Graham, Beinn Tharsuinn and its wind farm. At a junction of vehicle tracks a couple of old fence posts marked the track that headed uphill. I followed the uphill route until it eventually came to a small area of open ground. Here there was another set of fence posts and a cairn off to my right. I walked over to the cairn and after a bit of debate with myself decided it was the highest point although it didn’t look the case whilst standing there. Mountain bike tyre marks indicated that there was a route up from the east through a fire break so there may be a circular trail in the area.

The return was by the ascent route and despite spots of rain I stayed dry.

Cnoc Corr Guinie first ascent  396 metres.

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Mount Eagle

14 March 2010

photos taken on walk

Map – OS Landranger 21. Time taken – 1.25 hours. Distance – 4 kilometres. Ascent - 60 metres.

Once again the weather didn’t appear very promising and in any case I was looking for a short walk as I wanted to watch the Half Marathon in Inverness, which started at 1pm. The Sub 2000 foot hill, Mount Eagle, on the Black Isle, just north of Inverness, was very short but at least it wasn’t far to travel and I would be back in ample time for the road race.

The unclassified Munlochy to Culbokie Road passed the VHF transmitter mast which is visible from miles around making it relatively easy to find the starting point. Parking beside the mast was a slight problem due to on going forestry work but I managed to put my car up onto the verge.

I set off east along a forest track which is also part of a cycle route and soon found the track to be covered in snow, which was a bit of a surprise as the previous day I encountered very little snow on nearby higher hills.

At a junction of tracks I took a left and passed through an avenue of tall trees. This track was also covered in snow but fortunately it was quite wet as I had left my microspikes in Inverness. At the next junction I followed some bootprints which took me to a clearing. Here some new saplings had been planted and surrounded the trig point although at the time of this ascent gaining access to the summit wasn’t a problem. Things may change once these trees grow.

The only view I had was of a cloudy Ben Wyvis so I returned to my final track junction where I walked west down another forest track. At a bend in this track, according to my map, there was supposed to be a path which would lead me back to the start. It no longer existed so I had to wander through the forest, avoiding lots of wet ground, some fallen trees and snow patches. Eventually I reached track I had set off along and walked the short distance back to my car.

Mount Eagle first ascent 256 metres

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Cnoc Mor

31 January 2010

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 26. Time taken - 2.5 hours. Distance – 7.5 kilometres. Ascent - 370 metres.

I was staying in Inverness and later that day was heading west so a short morning walk was the plan and Cnoc Mor suited the bill. I decided to start from Blackmuir Wood, Strathpeffer, where there were forest walks.

There was some snow on the road between the villages of Contin and Strathpeffer and as I drove into Strathpeffer I saw the signs for the woods. Unfortunately there were also signs indicating that the walks and car park were closed as trees were being forested. However as it was Sunday I didn’t think anyone would be working so I found somewhere to park and headed up the forest track. I hadn’t gone far when I heard the noise of a vehicle and saw that it was collecting cut timber. I tried a couple of side paths but they came to an end amongst areas of cleared timber so after half an hour I gave up and returned to my car.

I drove back towards Contin and at a junction signposted to Jamestown took a left and headed for Beallachnagore Farm to just beyond the end of the public road where I found a parking space. I then walked across a field to the edge of Blackmuir Woods and followed the boundary fence up the side of the trees crossing a couple of fences. Eventually I noticed that there was a path on the other side of the fence and clambered over it and followed this path which soon came to a stile and crossed back into the field.

The path led to a sign indicating the route through a newer plantation but it was overgrown and a bit wet and snow covered. Eventually it led to another path which was also signposted. Here I took a left and the path led to the summit trig point which was partially surrounded by trees.

This had only taken me thirty minutes so I descended north-east, steeply in a couple of locations, and headed out to Knock Farril, over its south-west top. From this top there were views of Ben Wyvis, Little Wyvis, the Cromarty Firth and Castle Leod.

After a short break at the summit I retraced my route back to the car.

Cnoc Mor first ascent Height 269 metres

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