The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Bengray and Bengairn

After a couple of overcast days, and all of yesterday's rain, it was a pleasant surprise to open the blinds this morning and find barely a cloud in the sky. Whether today's hills really were superior to those of the last two days, or whether it was just a matter of being able to see my surroundings in fine weather, I know not, but I certainly did have a good time today.

Bengray (NX630598; 366m)
I look forward to downloading my GPS track for my walk up Bengray, and seeing whether my route was as indirect and winding as it felt*. I had been unsure, as I set out (from the road to the west) whether to go via the shore of Loch Whinyeon, or over Benfadyeon. The up and over of Benfadyeon looked like the better route when I was standing in front of it, although it was difficult to see anything at all, with the sun peeping over its tops and shining blindingly, straight into my eyes. It continued to do so for most of my approach to my objective, making me think that this would have been a hill better tackled in the afternoon.
(*Here is that track – it is a bit more wiggly than it needed to be:
On my way up Benfadyeon, I found an ATV track, which led me up, down and around all over the place. I did abandon it a couple of times, but always to pick it up again further on.

The view from the top was lovely, allowing me to see the tops I've visited in poorer conditions over the last few days, as well as giving me more sea views:

Downwards I didn't follow the meandering ATV track for long, preferring instead to skirt the south side if Benfadyeon, with the thought of ploughing a direct line back to the car park from which I had departed. Thankfully, that side of the hill is well grazed by cattle and sheep, so none of the bracken was difficult to get through. Even so, my direct line didn't quite work out, as some boggy looking ground, combined with the obstacles of a couple of walls, had me skirt all the way around to pick up my outward route.

The outing came in at 4.6 miles and I know not what the ascent was. There seemed to be a lot of little ups and downs on my outwards leg, so there was probably quite a bit more ascent than I'd expected, but until I download my GPS track and see exactly what line I took, I can't count it up.

Bengairn (NX770545; 391m)
My notes for Bengairn, culling snippets from people's logs on, quoted the words 'wet', 'hard' and said that the path beyond the ruined farm of Foresthill may be difficult to find through the bracken.
I didn't encounter anything notably wet, but, even after taking a different route back down, I still have no idea where the path actually lies. As a result, I did find the 'hard'. I was up to my armpits in bracken when I received a text from Mick and was battling through heather and tussocks when I replied. For your amusement, this is the conversation which ensued:

In the grand scheme of things, the rough stuff was short-lived and I did finally find a useful path for my final approach. I took advantage of a rock, once out in the open, to deal with a hotspot on my heel, and was immediately set upon by midges. Urgh!

The summit was also a midgefest, but what views!

It was unfortunate that a layer of cloud was hiding the Lake District fells.

My return route to the ruins was longer but no better than my outward one, and from there the track sped me along, taking me back to Colin after 4.6 miles.

I would have gone on to another hill, but I arrived back to the news that the football, which Mick had thought was tomorrow, was actually today, so off we set in search of a suitable place to park with a TV signal.

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