Monday, 28 September 2009

Lewis Hill

26 September 2009

On Saturday we walked up Lewis Hill (266m), a mile-long walk south of Stirling.

There was a major diversion of the traffic due to a wind farm being constructed, resulting in us having to drive the long way around.

At the start of the walk there is a layby large enough for 2/3 cars, but further up the road there is slightly more space to park, which is where we had to go.

The walk starts off through the woodland and has small sections of steep climbs. At one stage you get a good view up the Forth towards Edinburgh and the Pentland Hills. Eventually you come out above the North Third reservoir.

The path to the summit is easy to follow and takes you to a white trig point. We had a reasonably clear views to Ben Ledi, Stuc a'Chroin and Ben Vorlich.

North Third reservoir

View to the summit

Stuc a'Chroin and Ben Vorlich seen in the distance

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Ben Ledi & Beinn Ghlas

February 2004

We hiked Ben Ledi, the peak that dominates the skyline if you are heading to Callendar, in February 2004. Although there was cloud cover, the base was high enough to give us views of the surrounding peaks.

I was still relatively new to this hillwalking malarky and found Ben Ledi particularly strenuous, even though it's (just!) a Corbett.

We hope to have another go at this hill someday.

Up the steep path

View to the summit

Ben Lomond

Can't remember which way I was looking when I took this, but think it may be Loch Lubnaig

Beinn Ghlas, Lawers Range

It was extremely cold the day we hiked Beinn Ghlas - or rather tried to. I wasn't feeling particularly great that day and we only made it just above 900m, according to the altimeter ... and my other half wouldn't let me stop until we got over the 900m mark!

It started with glimpses of sunshine across Loch Tay, but black clouds loomed behind us. Despite the colour of the clouds, any snow that looked likely to fall never materialised at our level.

Frozen burn

View towards Killin

Heading up Beinn Ghlas

Loch Tay

Meall Corronaich - I've since hiked that one

A couple of photos of Loch Tay taken on the drive home

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Clunie Walk, Pitlochry

On Sunday we did the 7-mile 'Clunie' walk from Pitlochry. It's a way-marked walk, and pretty straightforward to follow.

It was quite steep in a couple of places, but the views towards the hills were worth it. A nice mixture of woodland, track, moorland and mountain views.

The dam and River Tummel

Perthshire isn't called Big Tree Country for nothing!

View to the munro Carn Liath

View to distant Ben Lawers, Perthshire's highest mountain

Not a bad view for our lunch stop!

Glimpse of Loch Faskally, right, and Ben Vrackie

Friday, 18 September 2009


I went for a walk along the river yesterday morning. I spotted what I thought was a swallow darting along the river, but then I caught a flash of the turquoise plumage and it looked stubbier than a swallow.

It was the first kingfisher I've spotted in Scotland!

Unfortunately, I didn't manage to see it again to get a photo, but it was a nice sight to see, albeit a very brief one.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Temperature Inversion, Morrone Hill

7 December 2003

We had an early start on this particularly cold morning, to head for the hill Morrone near Braemar. It was very cold and frosty by the time we reached Braemar, and the sunlight cast itself over the frozen landscape.

The higher we climbed, the thicker the frost upon the heather and rocks. The mist started to flow over the neighbouring peaks, finally covering the glens below but leaving the highest peaks poking above.

It was the first temperature inversion I had experienced and it was amazing. Standing on the summit of Morrone, we could hear people below in Braemar but all we could see was the cloud beneath us, a surreal feeling. The sun felt particularly bright, like when you are travelling high in a plane.

View to the Cairngorms

The Glenshee Hills

As we came down the side of Morrone, we went back into the cloud and it was like the colour had been sucked out of the landscape, everything was white with frost, giving the feeling you were in black and white.

It was a lovely day out and the weather couldn't have been better!

The Cairngorms

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Photos of Plockton

I was watching a programme on BBC Alba last night and they visited Plockton (Am Ploc - I love the Gaelic names). It's a lovely village and probably most famous for it's palm trees, rather than the midges!

We did a couple of walks: along the shoreline that goes to Duncraig Castle and another up behind the village. Also walked up Carn a Bhealaich Mhoir, which is the hill overlooking the village with the mast on top, on a glorious day at the beginning of April. We drove down to the village afterwards to find a funeral taking place, and there was no parking to be had anywhere and traffic chaos... but I still managed to dart out of the car and take a few snaps.

Just before I first visited Plockton a year ago, I read that the tv series Hamish MacBeth was filmed there. I had seen a couple of episodes when it was first screened in the mid-90s but couldn't recall any of the locations once I was there. So I started to watch it on one of the cable channels when I returned - suddenly I recognised so many now familiar places! So when I returned to Plockton in March/April this year, it was like walking into Lochdubh (Plockton's fictional name in the series). Instead of Wee Jock, I had Big Corbie with me!

Here's some of my photos I've taken of this lovely wee Highland village.

Muggy and overcast on this day:
That boat has seen better days!

Duncraig Castle

Glorious sunshine just four days later:
View down to Plockton from Carn a Bhealaich Mhoir

Probably the UK's most scenic, and underpromoted, railway - the Inverness-Kyle line


Memories: Snowy Tours of Grampian & Perthshire

December 2003

I encountered my first real snowfall on 19 December 2003. Coming from Hampshire, right on the south coast, we rarely got any snow of significance. A few snowflake flurries and that was my lot, no matter how much I willed it to get heavier.

We went for a drive into the Ochils and the higher we got, the deeper the snow. I was so excited, like a child at Christmas. Here was proper snow!

White out in the Ochil Hills

We ended up driving up the A9 to the Hermitage. The place looked beautiful, covered in its winter layer. As we were walking we heard a crack, then a crash. On our return, we discovered a fallen tree across the path! A narrow escape.

We drove onto Queen's View, nearly getting stuck in the carpark, as it's on a slight gradient to get out onto the main road and the car didn't like it and kept skidding. Panic! Thankfully, my other half knew how to drive in the snow and it didn't take long before we were free from the frosty clutches. Unlike some people who were reviving it as hard as they could back in the Hermitage car park, and were probably still spinning wheels a few hours later!

Not much of a view at Queen's View!

29 December 2003
We took a drive up to the Cairngorm mountains to do a spot of sledging - my previous attempt was some 13 years ago, so I was like a big kid again. Somehow it seemed a lot less frightening all those year ago!

Balsporren Cottage on the A9 near Drumochter Pass

The snow was deep, in places it was about 3 feet in depth. Coming from the south coast of Hampshire, I had never seen so much snow! The scenery was amazing, huge fir tree branches were weighted down by the heavy snow.

Meall a'Bhuachaille (left)

Loch Morlich

Sunset over the Grampian hills

The road to Tomintoul