From noon on Saturday 21 May until tea-time on 27 May my time was spent mainly in the Kinnaird Room at the Park Hotel in Montrose which, during two weeks every May, turns itself into the TGO Challenge Control Room. In my first few days there, I would have had no problem with finding time to pore over maps and Marilyn lists, and yet it was in the hour before the final Challenge event (dinner on Friday night), by which time Challenge Control was closed, that I sat myself down (cross-legged on the floor) by a plug socket in one of the lounge areas of the hotel, to fire up the laptop and consider which hills we were going to squeeze into our final day and a half in Scotland.
Saturday 28 May
Norman’s Law (NO305202; 285m)
This hill (along with the next two) lies just south of Dundee and only a short distance off the Fife Coast Path. In spite of having good information about following the unmapped track which leads to the west side of the hill, we followed the Coast Path as it headed east, which worked fine, except for the need to cross two fences. We came back via the west side of the hill, which also involved two fences, but this time furnished with gates.
With a big layby conveniently located right by our start point (NO 31031 20950), Mick joined me on this one, so there was no need for a bad selfie from this nice little summit, which boasts good views over the Firth of Tay.
1.8 miles, 500’
Mount Hill (NO 33094 16479; 221m)
If I’d listened to the chap we met on the top of Norman’s Law, and if I wasn’t so intent of collecting these hills, I might have given this one a miss, on the basis that the tower was in such a dangerous state that it has now been fenced off such that it is no longer possible to get to the summit.
The reality is that I could see absolutely no evidence of disrepair in the tower, and the deer fence was easily crossed by using the gate provided. Really, some people…
Approaching the tower my hope was that it wasn’t open, as if it had been I would have felt obligated to climb it. Happily, the door was firmly padlocked, so I made do with standing on the highest bit of earth outside and taking a couple of snaps:
Oh dear, another bad hair day.
A tree by the tower; I’m not sure those baubles are naturally occurring…
2.1 miles, 450’
Cairnie Hill (NO280155; 229m)
I found evidence of many waymarked footpaths in this area, yet very little parking was available. After looking for parking by a couple of other (longer) possible approaches to this hill, Colin was finally squeezed into a gateway which clearly hadn’t been used for a very long time. Even so, I’m convinced that if we ever left him unattended in such a position, that’s precisely the time when the once-in-five-years access would be required, so Mick happily sat this one out whilst I made an easy job of the upward direction, fortuitously finding my way around the pheasant fences and through the woodland to pop out onto a grassy, gorse-clad summit:
Another bad-hair selfie
The downward leg didn’t go quite as smoothly, with the pheasant fences this time becoming obstacles, along with a particularly dense bit of the woodland, but as the whole outing was so short, it didn’t take me long to get past the obstacles and back to Colin.
1.3 miles, 500’
Steele’s Knowe (NN969080; 485m)
After Friday’s very late night, I was tired the moment I woke up on Saturday morning and only mustered up the energy for the three planned hills on the basis that they were small. Indeed, on my way down Cairnie Hill I’d been looking forward to spending the rest of the day curled up with my book and maybe having a bit of a snooze. Instead, over a very late lunch, I looked at the three hills that I had on the agenda for Sunday and realised that 15ish miles of walking, with 2200’ of ascent, may be a little too much when there was also the matter of a 300-mile drive home.
With the sky now clearing, the obvious answer was to bring one of the hills forward and take an evening walk up the wind-farm road which would lead me to this hill.
I clearly remember walking up Borland Glen, just a few hundred metres to the east, and looking up at this wind-farm during one of our long walks (Lowestoft to Ardnamurchan, I think). Now I was walking through the farm (discovering as I went that I like walking under whirring turbines about as much as I like walking across bridges over motorways), which took me very easily to within a hop, a skip and a few dozen jumps to the trig point, from where there are fine views, if you ignore the turbines:
A hat – a very good tool to hide bad hair!
5.4 miles, 1000’.