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]

Saturday 20 May 2017

Ben Tirran (NO373746; 896m)

Fri 19 May

The author of my Corbetts guidebook based his route description on a visit to the hill in 2010. He describes an indistinct track and a ruin. The current reality of that track is that it is such a scar that it is clearly visible from where I am now sitting, which is exactly 4 miles from where it joins the road. The current reality of the ruin is that it is a shooting hut/open estate bothy.

Bright and early this morning I cycled the 4 miles to which I referred above, ignorant until I was over 3.5 miles in that there is now a large walkers' car park provided by the estate much nearer to my objective. Never mind - I'm sure the extra exercise did me good.

The track, whilst being a jarring scar, did give quick and easy passage up the hill, until it ended at the shooting hut adjacent to Loch Wharrat.

In this snap the hut is but a dot to the left of the loch

There my phone rang and I sat myself on a rock next to the hut to talk to Mick, not wanting to get any closer to the tent I could see on the lochside. We'd been chatting a couple of minutes when it occurred to me that the hut might be occupied, in which case chatting outside would be a bit ignorant. As I stood to peer through the window (it was empty) I realised the tent I was being careful not to disturb was actually the upturned hull of a rowing boat. I thus continued on up the hill ... and promptly lost phone reception.

After the petering out of the trod I initially followed, through heather of various stages of its life cycle, I felt sure I had missed the obvious line up the hill, and so I had - as I found out when I spotted it just to my right only a few handfuls of paces later.

Higher up, particularly up on the plateau, heather gave way to short vegetation which was crisp and crunchy underfoot, giving more easy (and very pleasant) walking all the way to the trig point.

Last time I was up on this plateau, in 2009, the cloud was down and visibility awful (but I did find a £5 note caught in a patch of burnt off heather!). Today there was a bit of haziness, but what little thin cloud there was gathering was high. In most directions there were lumps and bumps but over to the east I could clearly see the sea.

In my shirtsleeves at just a touch under 900m at 9am; it was another nice morning.

As much as I would like to see Loch Brandy (we walked within yards of it in 2009 and saw not a glimpse), I wasn't feeling enthused for the road walk back that would be necessitated if I went that way. I didn't quite retrace my steps, taking instead a more direct line down the side of the hill to rejoin the track at the lower end of its steep section. That was probably a good move as the bit of track I did walk on my return seemed twice as long as it had on my outward leg.

The stats for this one were all coincidentally round numbers. The walk was 4 miles with 650m ascent and the bike was 8 miles.

1 comment:

  1. We wondered if anyone ever found our £5 note. :)

    We are coming over to walk the river Wye in late July.
    Why, you may ask, why not, we reply.