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]

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Tom an t-Saighdeir, Carn Duchara and Cruach na Seilcheig

Wednesday 3 May

I opened Bertie's door early this morning to find a glorious blue-skied day outside. What better incentive to get an early start? So, leaving Mick in bed, off I toddled back along the road for:

Tom an t-Saighdeir (NM972162; 303m)
In all sense, I should have stopped as we were passing this one yesterday afternoon, as a 1-mile walk back along the road took me to a good pull-in, where Bertie could have been left. It was in that pull-in that I shed my outer layers before stepping off the road and heading steeply up through the well-spaced trees of an old forest.

At the top of there, a short (but nasty) felled section landed me on a forestry track. Landing on the track, did I go mildly downhill for a short way to seek out the concealed entrance to a long-abandoned track that my information said was there? Did I take 10 seconds to check out what the 1:25k map said? Nope, I worked on the basis that the 1:50k map said that I was standing dead on the line of an old track, and it looked possible to get through the youngish trees on the slope ahead of me, so I went straight on.

Will I ever learn? It was rough and the area strewn with the debris of an old felled forest, but I took heart in the fact that the line of the track, whilst not evident in any way on the ground, was marked regularly by bits of white tape tied onto tree branches:

All was going acceptably until a blow-down appeared in front of me, initially giving no hint of a way through or around. But I could see the obvious track tantalisingly close, on the other side, so with a prickle and an ouch I forced my way through the horizontal tree's still-growing branches and popped out the other side smelling like a pine air freshener.

Of course, having visited the summit (and I couldn't have asked for a more perfect day for such a viewpoint)...

...I didn't force my way back through the blow-down on my return leg. Instead I strolled easily down the rest of the grassy track and, would you believe, it came out at the exact grid reference I had for it. The junction turned out not to be concealed at all. As well as the obvious trodden line there was even a little cairn marking its start. It was at that point that I checked the 1:25k map and found it slightly (but, in this case, significantly) at variance with the 1:50k upon which I had based my earlier decision. Hey ho.

(3.2 miles, around 260m ascent)

Carn Duchara (NM892102; 491m)
I expected this one to be tediously slow going, as I picked my way up through an old felled forest.

A forestry track led me the first third of a mile, whereupon I had to descend steeply through old trees, stumps and discarded branches before starting to climb again, alongside a deer fence.

As is so often the case, a good deer trod was evident alongside the fence with, to my pleasant surprise, only a few patches of slow picking-my-way-through-hazardous-detritus. Even with the accidental and unnecessary inclusion of a lump in the landscape, I was at the top, admiring views of the west coast, within an hour.


A smidge over an hour and a half after setting out, I was back at Bertie, having covered 3 miles with 350m of up.

Cruach na Seilcheig (NM854110; 380m)
Last week we enjoyed having so many hills close at hand, enabling us to tackle eight hills over four days, from three locations which were only a small handful of miles apart. We're now back into the usual situation of needing to move location for each new hill, and within five minutes of getting back from the previous hill we were on the (remarkably tiny, and mainly badly surfaced) road again .

My chosen start point for this one wasn't as close as we could have got, but it did have the advantage of being a good parking place for Bertie. One of the most spectacular he's been in to date, I would say:


That gave me a bit of a road walk to start, but soon enough I was beyond the loch and could see an obvious line up the first part of my hill. In fact, it turned out to literally be a line, in the form of a good trod...

... which took me a good distance towards where I wanted to be.

The final half a kilometre gave me a yomp through soft tussocks, but the reward at the top were views like these:

Superb!

Whilst Mick didn't fancy any of today's hills (and I don't blame him, considering how the going looked on paper), I did find him walking towards me as I dropped down towards the road, to accompany me back along the lochside to Bertie.

(2.9 miles, 230m)

6 comments:

  1. All looking rather fun 😊

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All the more funnerer for being unencumbered by waterproofs!

      Delete
  2. I'm enjoying reading about your bagging exploits. Conifer plantations, both standing and felled are the bain of the Marilyn baggers life!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The bonus is that when you do find a hill with a good path it seems so very easy!

      Delete
  3. I'M STILL ENVIOUSLY WITH YOU; I EVEN ENVY YOUR FOREST THRASHINGS - THEY DON'T GO ON FOR EVER, BUT AS YOU SAY, WILL WE EVER LEARN?

    TYPING WITH CAPS IS SIMPLER. HOSPITAL YESYERDAY, I CAN SEE THIS BEING A VERY LONG JOB - RELEVANT POST HOPEFULLY LATER TODAY. AM NOW INTO NUMBER FOUR OF SHARDLAKE, THE BEDLAM ONE.












    9

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Envying thrashing through forests? Oh dear, that's not a good state of affairs!

      Delete