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]

Monday 28 May 2018

Cairn-mon-earn (NO782919; 378m)

I'm going to have to cast my mind back a bit here. Somehow this* is the first time I've found since last Wednesday to pen a few words about what turned out to be the final hill of this trip. (*'this' is as we are driving past Stirling on our way south, with Mick just having taken the wheel.)

Wednesday 23 May
Distance: 1.4 miles
Ascent: around 140m
Weather: overcast but dry
Start: Large layby on A957 at NO 77914 91027

On paper, Cairn-mon-earn looked to me like one of those hills that someone would only visit if they were a hill bagger, which is, of course, exactly why I found myself there early last Wednesday morning.

Appearances can be deceptive and it turned out to be a nice little hill, if you overlook all of the communications masts and equipment on the summit and the line of power lines on the way up.

It was certainly a quick and easy one. Shunning the forest track that takes an indirect route from the A957 around to the back of the hill, before approaching the top from there, I opted to go straight up the break through the forest, which I accessed directly opposite the layby.

Initially it was a tiny bit boggy (I lost both feet in gloopy peat at one point, which was careless) and it occurred to me that in a few weeks the bracken would probably be an impediment...

...but I'd not ascended very far before picking up a well-trodden line that took me all the way to the top.

Standing at the trig point, which sits atop a pile of stones, the outlook to the north west and south were pleasant.

Looking west(ish)

It was to the east that it all became too industrial:

Returning via my ascent route, I got back to Bertie having spent 21 minutes going up and 11 minutes getting back down (plus and unknown length of time on the top). That left me plenty of time (or about 3 hours more than necessary) to drive to and through Aberdeen to pick Mick up at his TGO Challenge finish point...

...although I wasn't quite able to manage that as harbour extension works had the road at Girdle Ness closed, so he had to walk a short distance back out across the golf course. I joined him for that short return section and did offer to carry his bag once his Challenge was officially completed, but he declined.

There was one more hill I intended to visit on my way from Aberdeen to TGO Challenge Control at Montrose (Hill of Garvock). The only thing that potentially saves this middle-of-a-field from falling entirely within the 'pointless summits' category is the presence of a tower atop it. I'll have to reserve judgement, as having driven to my start point, which sits about 1 mile and 30m of ascent away from the top, and having attempted approaches via two different fields, I left it unbagged due to overly frisky cows, with young, and an overly interested bull. I'm not generally too fazed by cattle these days, but these exceeded my tolerance level for bovine behaviour. I shall have to return to this one in the winter months sometime.

The view on the way to Hill of Garvock

That's it for Marilyn bagging for the time being. I think my final tally for the trip was 46, bringing my overall total to over 440 (but under 450; I don't know the exact number off the top of my head).


  1. Looks like you ascended from the strangely named The Craigs of Slugs (See OS 1:25)

    Best wishes and congrats. to Mick for his finish.

    1. So I did. I'd downloaded the 1:25k map onto my phone for this hill, so that I could see where the break through the forest lay, but had completely overlooked the name.

      Just after I arrived in Aberdeen, I got a text from Mick to say that he had stopped for a break at Milton of Murtle - another fantastic name.

  2. I agree with the ‘LMP Specialist’!?
    Good to see you in Montrose, and enjoy your next trip. Hope to see you in Matrei or maybe the Dolomites.

    1. I nearly left the Spam comment above, just so that the reference to it in your comment continued to make sense, but on principle, I felt obligated to delete it.

      It was indeed excellent to catch up with both you and Sue in Montrose. It had been far too long.

  3. Ah yes, Conrad. This "Slug" business - one for linguistic pedants! Here we go. Slug (a feminine noun, pronounced sloog) is one of the very few Gaelic words that have passed into English. It describes the kind of dark, sticky, gloopy morass that will suck off your shoes before you've had time for breakfast.

    And there's more. It's little sister is a slugan. And if you're a guzzler, a glutton or a gannet - why then you're a slugaire,! Note: this is a masculine noun, for obvious reasons . . .

    1. Well that explains the bit early on in this walk when I lost both feet in gloopy peat! (Well, it doesn't explain why I failed to notice what I was walking into, nor why I continued forward after losing the first foot, but it explains why the gloopy peat was there.)

  4. I wish I'd copied that LMP Specialist Spam!
    Good on you HMP3, we all need a bit of intellectual input from time to time, even if it is a bit slugish...