The web site, Caledonia Hilltreks details my ascents of the Munros, Corbetts, Grahams and New Donalds all of which are above 2000 feet. This blog will contain an account of my ascents of the hills below this height as and when they are climbed.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Beinn Mhialairigh, Loch Hourn.

Beinn Mhialairigh

Beinn Mhialairigh, Loch Hourn. Section 10A.
Height – 548 metres. Map – OS Landranger 33.
Climbed - 18 July 2010. Time taken – 5.25 hours.
Distance – 12 kilometres. Ascent – 1325 metres.
Trip Report Details:

My plan was to climb the Munro, Beinn Sgritheall from the west through Collie Mhialairigh. On studying the map, and my copy of ‘The Relative Hills of Britain’, I discovered there was a Sub 2000 Marilyn, Beinn Mhialairigh to the west of Beinn Sgritheall.

I drove from Glenelg towards Arnisdale on the single track road along the north shore of Loch Hourn. Opposite Eilean a’Chuilinn I located the cairn marking the start of the path to Bealach Rarsaidh. (NG818119) Just to the west of this cairn there was a passing place where a single vehicle can be parked off road.

Waterproofs were donned before I set off up the path which was initially like a wee stream as water was running down it. The path was quite eroded, muddy in places, steep in sections and at times difficult to follow as it wound its way through bracken and silver birch trees which were growing close together. I was glad of the waterproofs as I pushed my way through this wet vegetation.

It was hard work but on looking back I had views up Loch Hourn to Barrisdale Bay. Eventually I came to a deer fence where there was a stile (NG817124) and after a bit more climbing reached Bealach Rarsaidh and its lochan of the same name. Low cloud was floating around and it was a bit windy, however I found some shelter for a coffee break.

A small cairn marked the start of the path up the west ridge of Beinn Sgritheall. The walking was relatively easy, although I was being buffeted by the wind, and there were no views due to low cloud. Higher up the path was steeper and stonier and I was a bit more exposed to the wind. There were also a couple of easy rock steps to scramble over before I reached piles of stones and a broken trig point. Due to the weather there was no point in remaining at the summit so I returned to the Bealach Rarsaidh. As I descended the cloud base rose and I had some views.

On the west side of Lochan Bealach Rarsaidh I crossed the deer fence by another stile and commenced the ascent of the west ridge of Beinn Mhialairigh, firstly climbing over Creag an Taghain where a couple of grouse took off. Beyond this small rise it was a relatively easy walk, although the deer fence had to be re-crossed on this occasion without the assistance of a stile. As I approached the summit of Beinn Mhialairigh the cloud unfortunately lowered again and the summit was engulfed.

At the summit cairn I had lunch hoping that the cloud would lift again. There were a few breaks but not for very long. This hill would be a great vantage point on a fine day especially for the views down the Sound of Sleet and across to the Isle of Skye.

I eventually gave up and returned down the west ridge to Bealach Rarsaidh followed by a descent of the path through Collie Mhialairigh to my car.

The height climbed, distance walked and time taken includes the ascent of Beinn Sgritheall.

Photos taken on walk.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Meall Mor, Inverness-shire.

Meall Mor

Hill – Meall Mor, Inverness-shire. Section 9A.
Height – 492 metres. Map – OS Landranger 27.
Climbed – 16 July 2010. Time taken – 2.25 hours.
Distance – 8.5 kilometres. Ascent – 330 metres.
Trip Report Details:

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.

Photos taken on walk.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Cairn-mon-earn, Aberdeenshire.

Summit Cairn-mon-earn

Hill - Cairn-mon-earn, Aberdeenshire. Section 7.
Height – 378 metres. Map – OS Landranger 38.
Climbed – 13 July 2010. Time taken – 1.5 hours.
Distance – 7.5 kilometres. Ascent – 230 metres.
Trip Report Details:

It was a lovely sunny day in Aberdeen so in the afternoon I drove towards Banchory to climb this Sub 2000 Marilyn which would be an easy walk on forest tracks. I also noted that there were two possibilities, a north and south approach.

On arriving at the start of the northern route there were several signs regarding forest operations and access being restricted. I therefore drove further south onto the A957 Banchory to Stonehaven Road and located the southern access track where there was space for several vehicles to park beside a locked gate.

I set off up this forest track with views back to the Durris Television Transmitter and once some height was gained there was a brief view through the trees of the communication masts on the summit of Cairn-mon-earn. However there was no direct route through the trees so I continued along the track taking a left at the two junctions. A sign at the start of the second left hand track advised against using this route due to forest operations. However there didn’t appear to be an alternative route to the summit.

It was with some care I proceeded along this forest track, which in places was badly eroded, until I eventually came to the forest operations. There was no work on-going but a large area of the forest, to the north, had been cleared. I could see the track used if approaching from that direction where there was a large pile of timber awaiting removal. Aberdeen and across towards Donside were visible.

The track wound its way up to the masts, and beyond there was a large cairn with a trig point on top. I visited this before walking a few metres further west to a slightly lower cairn, where there was a seat, and I lingered here for a few moments taking in the views across to Banchory and Deeside. While there I heard voices and on looking back saw a couple climbing to the trig point. They didn’t stay long and ran off back downhill. I returned to my car by the upward route.

Photos taken on walk.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Hill of Nigg, Easter Ross.

Hill of Nigg

Hill of Nigg, Easter Ross. Section 15B.
Height - 205 metres. Map – OS Landranger 21.
Climbed - 3 July 2010. Time taken – 2.25 hours.
Distance 9 kilometres. Ascent – 265 metres.
Trip Report Details:

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.

Photos taken on walk.

Cnoc an t-Sabhail (North), Easter Ross.

Cnoc an t-Sabhail

Cnoc an t-Sabhail (North), Easter Ross. – Section 15B.
Height – 321 metres. Map – OS Landranger 21.
Climbed – 3 July 2010. Time taken – 2.5 hours.
Distance – 9 kilometres. Ascent – 225 metres.
Trip Report Details:

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.

Photos taken on walk.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Cnoc Ceislein, Easter Ross.

Cnoc Ceislein

Cnoc Ceislein, Easter Ross. – Section 15B.
Height – 523 metres. Map OS Landranger 21.
Climbed 3 July 2010. Time taken – 3.25 hours.
Distance – 11.5 kilometres. Ascent – 550 metres.
Trip Report Details:

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.

Photos taken on walk.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Burgiehill, Moray.

Summit Burgiehill

Burgiehill, Moray. – Section 9A
Height – 254 metres. Map OS Landranger 27 & 28.
Climbed 1 July 2010. Time taken – 45 minutes.
Distance – 4 kilometres. Ascent – 60 metres.
Trip Report Details:

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.

Photos taken on walk.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Arnaval, Isle of Skye.


Arnaval, Isle of Skye. – Section 17B.
Height – 369 metres. Map – OS Landranger 32.
Climbed – 16 June 2010. Time taken – 4 hours.
Distance – 9 kilometres. Height climbed – 440 metres.
Trip Report Details:

The weather forecast for Skye was for low cloud most of the day so I was looking for a hill without too much height and as I was staying at the Skyewalker Hostel, at Portnalong this Sub 2000 Marilyn meant I didn’t need to use my car.

I left the Hostel and walked west along the B8009 for around 300 metres to the signposted route for Portnalong Cemetery. I followed the cemetery road to its end where a cottage was located. Just before this cottage a vehicle track took me to a small forest where I climbed over the gate, entered the forest, and walked along the vehicle track which suddenly came to an end. I therefore had to clamber over a barbed wire fence and follow the edge of the forest to the bridge over the Ardtreck Burn. Obviously if I was following this route again I now know to avoid the forest.

Once across the bridge I followed the fence line until it turned left where I commenced the ascent of Cnoc na Coille-beithe and on towards Arnaval crossing a mixture of vegetation including some boggy sections. It was an easy gradient and I soon arrived at the summit cairn of Arnaval, with low cloud swirling around.

I sat here for around forty minutes as I kept thinking the cloud was going to lift but it never cleared sufficiently for me to get any views. While seated there a hawk type bird briefly landed around 30 metres away but on spotting me quickly flew off.

Rather than just return by the ascent route I decided to head for the rocky knoll, Dirivallan, which in the cloud necessitated me using the abundance of lochans to navigate my way there, avoiding the Arnaval Crags.

Once lower down I was out of the cloud and could see the route ahead. I climbed Dirivallan, which is a lump of magma, where I had views of Fiskavaig Bay and the Island of Oronsay. I descended to the crofts at Fiskavaig, finding a skylark’s nest before passing through a fenced off area which was overgrown and made for awkward walking. On reaching the road it was a short walk back to the hostel as the sun tried to break through. However the cloud never lifted off of Arnaval that day.

Photos taken on walk.