Lindsay Boyd's Trip Reports

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Sub 2000 Marilyns - Section 9
Spean Bridge to Elgin

Stac Gorm
Stac Gorm
Creag nan Clag
Creag nan Clag
Stac na Cathaig
Stac na Cathaig
Creag a'Chliabhain
Creag a'Chliabhain

Section 9 Index

Section 9A
Inverness to Strathspey

Section 9B
Glen Albyn and the Monadh Liath

Section 9C
Loch Lochy to Loch Lyon

Beinn Mhor
Brown Muir
Burgiehill
Carn na Loine
Hill of the Wangie
Knock of Braemoray
Meall Mor
 
 
Beinn a'Bhacaidh
Beinn Mheadhoin
Creag a'Chliabhain
Creag Bheag
Creag nan Clag
Meall an Tarsaid
Stac Gorm
Stac na Cathaig
Tom Bailgeann
Beinn a'Mhonicag
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Section 9 Trip Reports

Beinn a'Mhonicag

5 August 2012

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 34. Time taken 1.75 hours. Distance - 2.25 kilometres. Ascent - 330 metres.

On the morning of Sunday 5 August 2012 I headed for Glen Roy to climb Beinn a’Mhonicag, my final Marilyn in Section 9.

The earlier rain had ceased and the cloud covering the mountains began to lift as I drove north up Glen Roy, famous for its Parallel Roads. On this visit I was only going as far as the Viewpoint, which was less than half way along the public road which terminates near Glen Roy Lodge.

From the Viewpoint, where there was ample parking, I set off up Beinn a’Mhonicag following a grassy rake. A path was being created by tourists ascending the lower reaches of this hill but the path soon disappeared to be replaced by sheep trails through the bracken. Beyond the bracken I walked through heather to reach a small cairn of little significance other than to mark the start of some peat bogs.

I wandered round these peat bogs heading for a couple of larger cairns but couldn’t decide which one marked the highest point. On getting closer I thought it was the north cairn so on arrival here I took a short break taking in the views of the surrounding hills, several still topped with cloud. However it now appeared that the south cairn was higher so I strolled over there but I still couldn’t decide on Beinn a’Mhonicag’s highest point. At least both cairns had been visited before I returned to the Viewpoint car park by my ascent route.

Beinn a'Mhonicag first ascent 567 metres

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Creag Bheag

11 April 2012

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 35. Time taken - 2.75 hours. Distance - 6.25 kilometres. Ascent - 290 metres.

I headed for Inverness Bus Station to catch the 0810 hours Edinburgh bound bus which took me to the village of Kingussie, where I arrived just over an hour later. I was dropped off in the main street opposite Gynack Road, the street I planned to use to access Creag Bheag.

Gynack Road winds its way up the west side of the Allt Mor and led me to the local golf course and caravan site. Within the caravan park a signpost indicated the route to Creag Bheag which took me beyond a gate and along a path through the woods. The path slowly gained a bit of height but it wasn’t heading up Creag Bheag. I did consider leaving this route but with ample time in hand I decided to stick with the path which eventually reached a point above Loch Gynack.

Here another signpost indicated the route up Creag Bheag, which was a peaty path through heather and led to a stone shelter near the summit. I met a local chap here who was out for his daily walk. A short break was taken looking out across Glen Gynack as the first of the rain showers headed my way. Afterwards I visited the cairn at the north end, which is apparently the highest point, before taking in five other cairns, although some were obviously lower than the summit cairn.

I decided to return by a different route so descended west following another path but when it turned north I left it and cut across the south shoulder of the Creag Bheag. This took me to a wooded area where I followed some trails, possibly animal, which took me back into the village in plenty time to catch the 1230 hours bus back to Inverness.

Creag Bheag first ascent 487 metres

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Creag a’Chliabhain

8 January 2012

slide show

Map – OS Landranger 26. Time taken – 4.5 hours. Distance – 13.25 kilometres. Ascent – 350 metres.

In 2004 when I first ascended the Corbett, Carn na Saobhaidhe, from Dunmaglass, I thought Conagleann would make for an interesting walk. The ascent of Creag a’Chliabhain gave me this opportunity. Although not the shortest route to this Sub 2000 Marilyn I was in no rush.

As I parked beside the telephone kiosk, west of the bridge over the River Farigaig, on the B851 Daviot to Fort Augustus Road it started to rain. This was a bit disappointing as having studied the weather forecast I wasn’t expecting the rain until around noon.

A short walk west along the B851took me to the road heading south through Dunmaglass Estate. I followed this route, passing several habitations, and the diversion along the north side of the River Farigaig, to avoid the Lodges. On previous visits the area had lots of game birds so I was surprised how few I saw. Maybe they ended up on the dinner plates at Christmas. I later spotted three red kites circling above, so the game birds were possibly in hiding. By this time the rained had cleared.

The vehicle track crossed the River Farigaig but I followed the well signposted route to Loch Conagleann, although the first sign was lying on the ground and wasn’t obvious from the track. The route took me along a grassy embankment, across a deer fence via a stile, along the edge of a eroded embankment to a foot bridge over the outflow from the loch, and eventually to a vehicle track east of the loch.

A large duck pond was reached but it wasn’t solely for the benefit of wildlife. From evidence lying around it was also for the pleasure of shooters. This duck pond was separated from Loch Conagleann by a dam topped with a vehicle track which led to a large deer gate and the new Dunmaglass Lodge. A ‘private’ sign instructed the use of the signposted route. It was here I had an access problem as just inside the ‘private area’ a large fenced enclosure for breeding game birds was surrounded by three electric wires. I therefore climbed the deer fence on the south side of the gate, walked a few metres, through some rough ground strewn with dead timber, to a second deer fence where I squeezed through a hole.

Once beyond these obstacles I commenced the ascent of Creag a’Chliabhain, through long heather, and onto its north-east ridge. The vegetation wasn’t any shorter here but I thought the ridge looked like a miniature version of the Little Buachaille. Progress was gradual and I reached some wet snow patches, crossed a couple of knolls and a stock fence, before the final ascent to the summit cairn. Low cloud had been floating around on the latter stages of the ascent but I was fortunate that when I arrived, the summit was still clear.

Due to the cloud the views weren’t terrific but it had been an interesting ascent. However rather than return by the upward route I descended south-west until clear of the rocks and cliffs of Creag a’Chiabhain’s east face. A steep descent through heather, following deer tracks at times, took me to another deer fence where the posts were a bit unstable and the wires slack, so it was an awkward crossing. I joined the track in Conagleann, which was in reasonable condition, and ran between Dunmaglass and Easter Aberchalder.

The track was followed to the north end of Loch Conagleann where I stopped for lunch overlooking the duck pond. Afterwards I returned to my car by the approach route. En-route I met and had an interesting conversation with the friendly gamekeeper. The forecasted rain did not arrive until I was driving back towards Inverness.

Creag a'Chliabhain first ascent 513 metres

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Meall an Tarsaid

11 December 2011

photos taken on walk

Map – OS Landranger 34.  Time taken – 1.25 hours. Distance – 2.25 kilometres. Ascent – 210 metres.

The Sub 2000 Marilyn, Meall an Tarsaid is located to the south of the hamlet of Whitebridge and east of the B862, the main route to the east of Loch Ness. Examining the map I couldn’t see an obvious ascent route so I drove along the unclassified road to the west of Meall an Tarsaid and as far as the road end at Ardochy. However I failed to locate a suitable route, mainly due to a new deer fence which had been constructed along the east side of this road.

My next option was the road to Garragie, to the north of Meall an Tarsaid. Here again a new deer fence had been constructed but just before the end of the woods and the Allt Glaic Breabaig I spotted a gate in the deer fence and decided to use it to access the hill.

I parked at the edge of a nearby passing place and on returning to the gate found the surrounding ground to be wet and marshy. There was a wicket gate at the side which I used before following traces of a marshy vehicle track through the birch woods. These tracks soon led to open ground and to a small transmission line which probably fed electricity the houses in the glen. The tracks and marshy ground ended here to be replaced by long heather and a few boulders.

There were a few crags ahead so I aimed for the obvious gully to the south of the summit. This ascent was quite steep with a few snow patches but once up the gully I headed over to the summit cairn with views of the snow covered Monadhliath Mountains. Although this was supposedly Meall an Tarsaid’s highest point the knoll to the north looked higher so I strolled over there. However I still couldn’t decide. I found shelter from a cold breeze behind the cairn for lunch while looking down on Whitebridge and towards Glen Albyn. The return was by the ascent route.

I later ascertained that until a few years ago the north top was the highest point but the south top is now decreed to be the summit.

Meall an Tarsaid first ascent 492 metres

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Beinn a’Bhacaidh

11 December 2011

photos taken on walk

Map – OS Landranger 34.  Time taken - 3 hours. Distance – 5.5 kilometres. Ascent – 390 metres.

I travelled south on the B862 which is located on the east side of Loch Ness. Once beyond the hamlet of Whitebridge I drove along the tarred road that led to Knockie Lodge. At the south end of Loch Knockie I located the forest track which would take me to the foot of Beinn a’Bhacaidh. There was even space to park a couple of cars.

At the start of the track there was a locked gate with a stile at the side, but it was just as easy to walk round the small section of wooden fencing. The track, which had recently been improved, was followed passed a small hut, to the south end of Loch nan Lann. Here a new deer gate had been installed with a wicket gate at the side. Not far from this point I spotted another deer gate, which was unlocked, with a grassy track beyond. This track was not shown on my map but it headed in my intended direction so I decided to use it to reach Beinn a’Bhacaidh.

The grass was soon replaced by rock and stone as the track headed, steeply in places, up the side of the forest, an old stone dyke and the Allt na Ceardaich. A couple of short sharp barks were heard and I spotted roe deer disappearing into the forest. I was undecided at what point to leave the track as it made for reasonable walking. Red deer spotted me and were off up the hill but I stuck to the track.

It passed an old gate in the deer fence and at this point degenerated into bog and became rather intermittent. However I continued the short distance to the bealach before commencing the ascent of Beinn a’Bhacaidh through long heather and some snow patches. There were a few crags to avoid as well as rocks, some of which had a covering of ice.

I had encountered some light rain on the ascent but as I approached the summit the cloud lowered and engulfed me. The summit cairn was located and I found some shelter from a cold wind to await the cloud lifting. Despite spending some time there the cloud did not clear which was disappointing as I think it would have been a good location for views up and down Loch Ness. I took a bearing east and descended over rough ground to rejoin the track then followed the upward route back to the car. On the descent I spotted a couple of feral goats but they ran off as I closed in on them.

Beinn a'Bhacaidh first ascent 555 metres

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Hill of the Wangie

2 December 2011

photos taken on walk

Map – OS Landranger 28. Time taken – 1 hour. Distance – 3 kilometres. Ascent – 155 metres.

The Sub 2000 Marilyn, Hill of Wangie, is located south-west of Elgin in Morayshire. I had read that locating the summit was difficult and that some folks spent a considerable time looking for the trig point, as the hill was covered in trees. I had also read on the Scottish Hills forums that ‘foggieclimber’ had ascended the hill last winter, in the snow, and had recorded significant grid references. Prior to setting out for Moray I entered these points into my GPS.

The start of the walk was the B9010, east of the road leading to Tombreck Farm, where I parked on the wide verge on the south side. I crossed the road where a locked gate prevented vehicular access to the forest track. I followed this track the short distance to the clearance where the forum author had climbed through snow covered vegetation to reach the track above. However, due to the dead bracken this route didn’t appeal to me, so I continued along the track. I soon came to a forestry sign indicating that an unofficial mountain bike trail had been closed. I was tempted to explore it but decided to continue to the junction of tracks where I took a right, re-crossed the mountain bike trail, and arrived at the third grid reference.

Here I had no option but climb through the rough ground, which included some old tree stumps, and led to another vehicle track. This point could have been reached by taking a much longer route following forest tracks to the west.

I was aware of the limitations of my GPS, especially in forests, but knowing the exact distance between the grid references was useful as I paced each section. The firebreak mentioned in the forum was easily located and I made a gradual ascent through this gap loosing the GPS signal as expected. At the end of the measured distance I turned left and found the second firebreak which was partially obscured by trees.

It wasn’t obvious that I was gaining any height and I could now understand why folks had difficulty locating the trig point. However I continued along the firebreak keeping an eye out for it. I briefly received a GPS signal and I was therefore able to pace the remainder of the distance along the firebreak before I spotted the trig point set amongst the trees.

On reaching the trig point I about turned and re-traced the route back to my car without the need for pacing.

Hill of the Wangie first ascent 319 metres

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Brown Muir

2 December 2011

photos taken on walk

Map – OS Landranger 28. Time taken 1.75 hours. Distance – 6 kilometres. Ascent – 175 metres.

I was keen to get back out onto the hills as I had nearly three weeks away due to a head cold and some poor weather conditions. Unfortunately the weekend forecast was for more stormy weather. With Friday morning looking promising, at least in the North-East of Scotland, I decided to climb a couple of Sub 2000 Marilyns south of Elgin.

The start for the ascent of Brown Muir was the end of the public, single track, unclassified road at Teindland, reached from the B9123. I parked on the verge at this crossroads, with tracks leading to Teindland Mains, Burnside and Moniemouies Farms.

My ascent of Brown Muir was via the latter farm so I crossed the gate and walked along the track, which was icy in places, to its ruined farm buildings. The information on my Ordnance Survey map was incorrect as the vehicle track continued along the edge of a field and across the moorland. There were at least three gates to cross. The map showed a vehicle track coming up from Humbreck Farm but there was no evidence of it. The only vehicular access to the telecommunication tower, located on the summit of Brown Muir, was by the route I walked.

It was an easy stroll along this track but it was cloudier and windier than I expected. On looking north beyond Lhanbryde and Elgin was the Moray Firth and briefly I saw the snow capped mountains of Sutherland.

The summit area was reached where the trig point had an unusual cover. However apparently the highest point was further south-east so I sought out an area of heather which I thought might be the summit although there was nothing there to confirm this.

I returned to the telecommunications tower where I managed to get a bit of shelter from the cold wind for a cup of coffee before returning to my car by the upward route.

Brown Muir first ascent 339 metres

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Carn na Loine

7 November 2011

photos taken on walk

Map – OS Landramger 27.  Time taken – 2 hours. Distance 7 kilometres. Ascent – 310 metres.

Once again the forecast was for a fine day but unfortunately I had developed a head cold and decided to head home. However I wanted to make use of the sunny weather so en-route back to Aberdeen I planned to climb the Sub 2000 Marilyn, Carn na Loine.

From the B9102 Grantown on Spey to Knockando road I drove along the unclassified single track road to Auchnahannet where I parked on the grass outside the house there. Maybe not the best of locations but the house appeared unoccupied that morning. I then walked up the track, signposted Knock of Auchnahannet, to a junction where I followed the grassy left fork.

I soon reached a gate where there was a sign requesting dogs be kept on leads. Beyond, the grassy track I headed across the hillside on a gentle gradient where sheep were grazing. The gate at the top fence was missing and not long after passing through this gap the track swung round and headed for Tom Mor, where a telecommunication tower was located.

On leaving the track the ground was rather marshy with tussocky vegetation making walking slow and awkward. Once across this section the ground was drier with long heather and grasses to cross with the odd section of bog. I wandered up the hill trying to find the easiest route, passing several white poles which I presumed were related to the shooting of grouse.

The summit trig point was eventually reached where I had views of the distant Cairngorms, the Knock of Braemoray, which I had climbed earlier this year, and Ben Rinnes. After sitting at the summit for a while I made a more direct descent to the missing gate but underfoot conditions weren’t any easier. I then followed the track, used on the approach, back to my car.

Carn na Loine first ascent 549 metres.

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Tom Bailgeann

5 November 2011

photos taken on walk

Map – OS Landranger 26. Time taken – 1.25 hours. Distance – 2.75 kilometres. Ascent – 220 metres.

Tom Bailgeann was the last of the four hills I intended climbing that day as it would be the easiest with a vehicle track leading to the telecommunications tower on the summit.

The start of this walk was the B862 just south of Loch Duntelchaig where parking was a bit tight on a bend. A locked gate prevents vehicles from proceeding but the ‘Police Sign’ hung on the gate and stating access is restricted is misleading in terms of the Land Reform Scotland Act 2003.

Once beyond the gate I followed the track as it passed below electric transmission lines and wound its way uphill, steeply in places. The track was also quite rough and there were a few daisies in bloom, well that’s what they appeared to be, which I thought unusual for November. As height was gained the track deteriorated and became very wet and boggy. Pieces of wood had been laid to assist progress through these sections as well as another track off to the north making the area a bit of a mess.

I managed to avoid most of the bog and on approaching the telecommunications tower the rain commenced. I reached the summit trig point and sought shelter behind one of the nearby buildings while I ate my lunch. Once the rain had ceased and I had finished eating I strolled over to the west top where I had views of Inverness, Loch Ness and the hills to the west.

The return was by the upward route although I avoided sections of the track by descending through the vegetation.

Tom Bailgeann first ascent 464 metres

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Creag nan Clag

5 November 2011

photos taken on walk

Map – OS Landranger 26. Time taken – 1 hour. Distance – 2.5 kilometres. Ascent – 165 metres.

Earlier in the day I was at the east end of Loch Ruthven to climb the Sub 2000 Marilyn, Stac Gorm. All I required to do to reach the starting point for my next Sub 2000 Marilyn, Creag nan Clag, was to drive to the opposite end of the loch where I parked on some rough ground, below the crags. Here there was a sign for ‘The Trail of the Seven Lochs’.

There was a gully in the rock face directly above me but I opted to follow the marked trail north to a small gate which I passed through. However I discovered that the path wasn’t going in my intended direction so I left it, walked up through the trees, and crossed a fence. A second fence, which ended on the cliff face, was followed until I approached the rock. It was then a steep climb through knee deep heather and was hard work.

I came to the top of the gully and on inspecting it an ascent by this route would have been difficult, if not impossible. The gradient began to ease and I passed a cairn which obviously wasn’t the summit. A slight dip across marshy ground led to the summit area where I visited several points which I considered to be the top, although in the end I wasn’t sure which one was the highest.

The return was by the ascent route although on reaching the fence I descended directly back to my car.

Creag nan Clag first ascent 430 metres

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Stac Gorm

5 November 2011

photos taken on walk

Map – OS Landranger 26. Time taken – 1.25 hours. Distance – 2.5 kilometres. Ascent – 210 metres.

After an earlier ascent of the nearby Sub 2000 Marilyn, Stac na Cathaig, it was only a short drive to the Loch Ruthven Nature Reserve at the east end of the loch. Here I planned to leave my vehicle but on arrival discovered the gate had been hung to prevent it opening. I was therefore forced to park on the verge opposite.

I crossed the road and a single strand of barbed wire fencing to reach an area of long grass. A few marks in the grass led to a path which headed towards the large boulder below Stac Gorm. The path was wet and muddy in places but the vegetation soon changed to long heather which partially obscured the path as it wound its way uphill.

The boulder was passed and I continued on my ascent through the heather and onto the north-east ridge of Stac Gorm where I had views down Strath Nairn. A heather and rocky ridge was climbed to reach the cairn on Stac Gorm. A nearby rock appeared slightly higher than the base of the cairn.

After a coffee break taking in the views of Loch Ruthven and the surrounding hills I returned by the ascent route.

Stac Gorm first ascent 446 metres

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Stac na Cathaig

5 November 2011

photos taken on walk

Map – OS Landranger 26. Time taken – 1.5 hours. Distance – 5.5 kilometres. Ascent – 255 metres.

I initially thought of climbing this Sub 2000 Marilyn, located south of Inverness and east of Loch Ness, from the north as it was surrounded by woods on the other sides. However on searching the Scottish Hills web site I discovered a southerly approach which suited my other hill plans. I drove along the narrow single track road on the north side of Loch Ruthven and parked at the entrance to the forest track east of Balvoulin. The gate leading into the forest was locked, apparently due to illegal vehicle use, but there was space at the side for those on foot.

The forest track was followed north with a slight diversion to the idyllic Loch a’Choire and its reflections of the nearby trees and vegetation. It was a beautiful scene and I took several photographs, which can be viewed from the link at the end of this trip report. I dragged myself away from the loch to rejoin the track which came to a junction where I took the right fork.

Here there was another locked gate but as before there was a gap at the side. The track gradually climbed through the forest as I searched for a firebreak to gain access to the open hillside. I eventually located a suitable firebreak which was covered in various grasses, heather and moss but it was relatively easy to walk over, unlike the next section.

Once clear of the forest the ground was rough with a few dips and some sections of wet and tussocky ground. I spotted a stag and even he found it hard going running off in the awkward terrain. However as I neared the summit the ground steepened and the walking was easier. The summit cairn was reached with views of the City of Inverness and the surrounding hills.

I visited the South-West Top before returning to my car by the ascent route. There was now a slight breeze so the reflections in the loch had disappeared.

Stac na Cathaig first ascent 446 metres

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Beinn Mhor

22 October 2011

photos taken on walk

Map – OS Landranger 36. Time taken 1.25 hours. Distance – 5 kilometres. Ascent – 265 metres.

The start of this walk was the end of the public road in Glen Beg, west of Grantown on Spey, where an area of ground was capable of taking several cars. On setting off across the bridge over the Glenbeg Burn, I spoke to a runner who was out for a two hour circular route from his home.

The vehicle track was followed as it gained height before passing Glenbeg Farm. A junction of tracks was reached and I took the left fork, which entered the woods. I quickly came to second junction where on this occasion I went right. This route took me through the forest and to a locked gate in a deer fence. I climbed over this gate and was now on the open hillside.

I continued to follow the track as it swung round and over the east ridge of Beinn Mhor before re-entering the forest. At its high point I left the track and followed a muddy trail towards Beinn Mhor. The trail soon disappeared in the heather as I continued across the grouse moor, disturbing the odd bird. On reaching the summit trig point I had views of Strathspey and Grantown.

I returned across the moorland and on reaching the vehicle track took the south route back into the woods. This took me passed numerous bird feeders before I re-joined the upward route just north of Glenbeg Farm and followed the track back to my car.

Beinn Mhor first ascent 471 metres

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Knock of Braemoray

18 April 2011

photos taken on walk

Map – OS Landranger 27. Time taken – 1.5 hours. Distance – 4 kilometres. Ascent – 180 metres.

It was a sunny morning and I was heading home from a weekend based in Inverness. I decided to stop en-route and climb this Sub 2000 Marilyn which I approached from the south. Just after the Dava junction I thought I could see a track going uphill so parked beside another car at NJ007401. I never saw the occupant of this vehicle on the hill and the car was still there on my return.

I walked through what may have been an old sheep pen and into long heather. This led to a vehicle track which was shown on my map. However it was obviously old and no longer in use as it was in poor condition with sections of moss, pools of water and bog. I spent more time walking along the edge than on the track itself. What I thought was a vehicle track heading uphill was just different coloured vegetation.

Following the track was abandoned for the heather clad hillside. Although there were some deep patches of heather to walk through the ascent wasn’t unpleasant. I crossed an old fence line before making my way towards the summit which was an area of rough ground south-east of and a metre higher than the trig point. I wandered around the summit area for a few minutes to satisfy myself that I had reached the highest point as it was unmarked.

I then made my way over to the trig point with views south to the Cairngorms and north across the Moray Firth to Caithness. It was well worth the effort and I enjoyed a cup of coffee taking in the views.

The descent was more direct but lower down the underfoot conditions were a bit awkward with tussocky grass and a few wet areas.

Knock of Braemoray first ascent 456 metres

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Meall Mor

16 July 2010

photos taken on walk

Map – OS Landranger 27. Time taken – 2.25 hours. Distance – 8.5 kilometres. Ascent – 330 metres.

I had planned to head north and climb a Munro but the morning’s heavy rain in Inverness put me off that idea. I decided to wait till later in the day and see if the weather improved, which it did.

In the afternoon I made the short drive south from Inverness, down the A9, to the B9154 Moy Road. I read on Scottish Hills that there were forest tracks, not shown on my map, to the west of Meall Mor, which could be used to gain access to this Sub 2000 Marilyn, although it would involve using fire breaks to reach the open hillside.

I parked beside a gate on the west side of the B9154, around 250 metres south of the junction to Moy Hall, and followed a forest track in a north-westerly direction. I reached an area of felled trees and just beyond this a junction of tracks. (NH746370) I decided to continue in the same direction although having studied Memory Map beforehand I was aware this track came to an end. Well the map was correct so at the end of the track I followed what may have been firebreaks as they swung round to the south, the direction the other forest track had taken.

This involved a bit of wandering through the trees but I spotted a clearing. Unfortunately on reaching it I found that young saplings had been planted where the mature trees had been forested. (NH742368) I tried to keep close to the mature tress but the area was awkward to cross due to cut timber, some marshy ground and lying water from the morning’s rain. However I eventually managed to work my way to a fence at the edge of the forest.

Once across the fence and onto the open hillside I followed what appeared to animal tracks as they headed north-west towards the north-east ridge of Beinn a’Bheurlaich. I eventually left these tracks and climbed onto this ridge where I had views of Inverness, the Kessock Bridge, a cloud topped Ben Wyvis, the Black Isle and the Moray Firth.

The going was now easier although here there was a strong wind with the occasional spot of rain. Several cairns were passed before reaching the summit of Beinn a’Bheurlaich. I descended its south-east ridge to a wet area of ground before ascending Meall Mor. From its summit cairn I had views of Loch Moy, the busy A9 and to the Graham, Carn nan Tri-tighearnan.

I headed over to the east side of this Marilyn to plan my descent and saw a large area of cleared trees with a vehicle track beyond. I therefore descended steeply to a fence, topped with barbed wire, at the edge of the cleared area. (NH739356). I climbed over this fence and descended between the area of mature and cut trees. Initially the going was reasonable but lower down it was a bit more awkward and also included a small marshy area. However I just took my time and without too many problems reached the track (NH743356) which I followed north to the junction of tracks I came across earlier. The return was along the original forest track to the start.

Meall Mor first ascent 492 metres

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Burgiehill

1 July 2010

photos taken on walk

 Map - OS Landranger 27 & 28. Time taken – 45 minutes. Distance – 4 kilometres. Ascent – 60 metres.

I was en-route to Forres and came up with this Marilyn for a short stroll beforehand as it is definitely not worth a separate journey as there is very little height gain, it takes less than an hour and is contained within a forest.

The start of the walk was the unclassified Hazlebank to Middleton Road to the east of Burgiehill and shown on OS Map 28. I parked at the bellmouth of a forestry road diagonally opposite the track to Burgiehill where there was more room despite the fact another car was already parked there.

I crossed the road, walked round a gate and headed west along a straight track through the forest as a couple of jets and a nimrod aircraft passed overhead descending towards the nearly RAF bases.

The main track later turned south and I followed it, although my map indicated it came to an end. However on-line it was shown as going to the summit. The track soon swung right where it made a slight descent west before it turned right again this time on a gentle rise to the north. Not long after that I saw the radio masts and on reaching them found the summit trig point of Burgiehill behind a high fence and slightly obscured by bushes.

The return was by the outward route.

Burgiehill first ascent 254 metres

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Beinn Mheadhoin

14 February 2010

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 26. Time taken - 2.75 hours. Distance - 10.5 kilometres. Ascent - 370 metres

The start of this walk was the B851 Fearn to Fort Augustus Road at the junction with the unclassified road signposted Ruthven and Abersky where there is a red telephone box. (Grid Ref NH6070224504) There is limited parking beside the kiosk and from previous experience there isn’t many spots nearby to leave a vehicle.

I set off west along the B851 and soon came to the entrance to Dunmaglass Estate. I have used this route on a couple of occasions to access the remote Corbett Carn na Saobhaidhe in the Monadhliath range of mountains. I walked along this estate road and near the start came to a couple of impressive entrance pillars with bird statutes on top. Further on, beside the cottages at Achnaloddan, a sign indicated that the area was twinned with Warninglid in England. On checking the internet there isn’t a lot of information about Warninglid so I presume that is where the estate owner originates from.

Beyond the houses at Achnaloddan the route was sinposted and passed through a couple of fields containing sheep with lots of game birds flying around. At the second bridge I crossed the Allt Uisg an t-Sidhein where an animal trap was positioned as was the case on the first bridge. I’m not a fan of these devices.

A deer fence was reached with a gate and stile and once through the gate I continued up the track as the gradient increased. At a junction of tracks I took a left. The right hand track was the route to Carn na Saobhaidhe. There was some hard packed snow as I headed up Glas nan Gamhna and on approaching a slight dip in the track I left it and climbed the heather clad hillside but the walking was relatively easy as there were some animal tracks to follow.

I soon reached the summit cairn with views to the east and south of snow clad hills but with their tops in cloud. I had views of Lochs Ruthven and Conagleann and briefly saw the Loch Ness Grahams, Meall Fuar-mhonaidh and Glas-bheinn Mhor and the Glen Affric mountains.

The return was down the north ridge and over a small knoll. Later I went through a field surrounded by deer fencing before descending through some beech trees where the bark had been eaten by hungry animals. I went over a fence topped with barbed wire and tore my overtrousers which was annoying as I don’t know why barbed wire is used. I then crossed a small stream before passing through another gate and over a footbridge before reaching the track beside Achnaloddan and the walk back to the car.

Beinn Mheadhoin first ascent  556 metres

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