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]

Wednesday 8 March 2017

Creag Ruadh (NN685883; 658m)

imageOn the 'old A9', which is now a minor road, running between Dalwhinnie and Falls of Truim, there's a nice big layby (NN 65049 87340) and it was there that we abandoned Bertie yesterday morning whilst we popped up Creag Ruadh, which sits the other side of both the River Truim and the current A9. Handily, there's a bridge over the river and a tunnel under the road.

The white dot is Bertie-the-Motorhome

Once on the other side of those potential obstacles, we opted to turn right, not left towards our hill, so as to make use of the available tracks. That resolution didn't last very long and having cut across country, back to the Allt Cuaich, we discovered a good ATV track which led us all the way to a gate in the deer fence (NN 66402 86761) that was protecting our objective. That was handy, as we felt uneasy with the thought of scaling the fence, given that there was an estate vehicle on the track above us, watching our every move (actually, he may have been doing something industrious and it may just have been a spot of paranoia to believe he was interested in what we were doing).

I'd expected this hill to be a heathery yomp, but again I was surprised. Beyond the gate continued the ATV track. On another day it could have been a mixed blessing due to its squidginess, but for us it was sufficiently frozen to give us easy passage - on the way up, at least. Where we did encounter unfrozen watery wallows there were even, on a couple of occasions, 'bridges':

The track disappeared just after we crossed the 500m contour and whilst we did see evidence of it here and there later on, it was as easy to just continue on our line in the right general direction. Easy that is until the depth of snow, combined with its texture, made me feel like I was on a Stairmaster. That was only the last little bit, until the nobbles which are the summit. I say 'nobbles' in the plural as this was another hill where I wasn't convinced that the summit feature stated in the Hill List was really the highest point. Both possibilities were visited, just to be sure.

That's Loch Ericht behind me

Retracing our steps, the day had warmed sufficiently to make the going less firm under foot - should have set out half an hour earlier!

This time we followed the ATV track along the burn all the way to the tunnel under the A9 and it was definitely the better route choice.

The stats were 6.4 miles walked with around 330m of ascent.

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