Five Lilidots met in glorious winter sunshine for a walk around Fauldhouse led by Carol.We began by walking to the north through the village and then out on to Fauldhouse Moor and were the village of East Benhar once was. We turned south and back to Fauldhouse and past the Greenburn golf club before heading past the quarry and up to Leven Seat trig point at 356m. We had fabulous views over the central belt, the Ochills, Trossachs and beyond. Back to the golf course for tea and coffee and a fabulous cake that Carol had organised. I should also mention Carol's hens who were lovely and the many requests to pose for photographs thanks to Carol's photography course- may make for some unusual walk photos for the website!
Three Lilidots (one first timer) set out from the Inverlochlarig car park in fine weather. The ascent of Beinn Tulaichean was a bit of a slog but the views in all directions made it well worth the effort. It was pretty windy on the summit but otherwise fine. Descended to the col with Cruach Ardrain and then down into the glen and back to the start. The day was rounded off with spectacular meringues in Mhor 84.
On an overcast Saturday, 6 dots embarked on what was supposed to be the annual bothy weekend. Is it still a bothy weekend if you don’t actually STAY in a bothy? We went to one – we had lunch in one – we took a lovely group shot in front of it. But the central heating fell out, the hairdryer was sending out sparks and the Jacuzzi has seen better days so... A day walk to Allt Scheicheanan it was! Only one dot ventured further afield, eventually bagging Beinn Dearg but the others aimed to avoid the rifle range in Glen Tilt and a lovely day was had nevertheless!
Another lovely weekend courtesy of Dot and Brenda, proprietors of Jessie Mac’s Birnam. On Saturday the majority of the group headed off on a long but flattish circuit from Dunkeld round Loch Ordie and back. Although windy, it stayed dry and the views were beautiful. One group decided to add in a small hill to get a better look at the views, while the others continued. There may have been some regretted their decision when only the first group made it back in time for last orders in the scone shop! A few contributions below from the other weekend activities:
Four Lilidots headed up the A9 to make their way to Glen Tilt carpark on the outskirts of Blair Atholl. A windy forecast and heavy grey skies kept us low but we already knew that we were in for a treat in one of the most beautiful glens in Scotland. The actual walk through the glen is a 10 miles roundtrip. Heading up on the left of the River Tilt (which will eventually run into the River Garry), we crossed some woodlands before emerging on moorland (and a rifle range...) with stunning views in both directions of the glen. We sat and watched some river kayakers almost drowning themselves in a high flowing, peat-coloured Tilt and we could only hope that there was a happy end to their story. Passing Marble and Fisher Lodges, we peaked inside to reccie future walking bases but simply had to continue as the sun started to shine and we could fill up on essential Vitamin D! A lovely walk at any time of the year!
Carn a Chlamain
A small select group of 2 of us (Mary D and Sue) decided to do a spot of Munro bagging from Jessie Mac’s on the Saturday. Slightly paradoxically others might have joined us but were concerned about a lack of winter gear. Sadly we took ours, but did not need even our ice axes.
Our target was Carn a Chlamain in Glen Tilt. What would have been useful was bikes which we didn’t have. The walk therefore involved a 2 hour trek up the glen, enjoying beautiful scenery and a roaring torrent beside us. That brought us to the foot of the hill. Ascent was quite easy, making use of numerous tracks. Thankfully the snow conditions were great- a bit soft allowing us to kick in on the way up and to saunter down the snowfields on the way down. On top we saw two pairs of very plump ptarmigan, in full winter plumage. As usual we didn’t quite get the view from the top, but we did have impressive sight of the snowy flanks of Beinn A Ghlo across the glen. The walk out, it has to be admitted, was quite long, enlivened by a brief sighting of brave kayakers going down the river below us. Still the drink in Blair Atholl and especially the bath (!) at Jessie Mac’s were most welcome at the end of a long day, as was our usual great collective feast including a pudding tapas.
Cademuir Hill Forts and the Tweed, Peebles
The weather remained changeable throughout the 3 hour walk, at times it was raining hard and at other times the sun shone brightly! We stopped for lunch in the woods on our return to Peebles and managed to get some beautiful photos of snowdrops in the forest. Spirits were high on our return into Peebles, for some this was due to the prospect of hot chocolate at Cocoa Black and for others due to the ‘wild’ turnips found along the route.
Overall a good day out and perhaps next time we’ll make it up into the hills for the spectacular views.
A large group of Lilidots braved the wind, rain and low cloud to venture up into the Campsies from Clachan of Campsie. An initial steep climb exercised the legs, and after that it was a fairly level ramble to the first and then second summit. The weather improved as the day went on and views ranged from the snowy peaks further north to the runway of Glasgow airport! Jumping over the bogs added a certain steeple chase quality to the event and we all felt well limbered up for the festive period ahead. A leisurely coffee and mince pie completed the day in Clachan of Campsie coffee shop.
On a cold misty atmospheric Sunday morning 5 conscientious Lilidots gathered from all corners of the central belt, 10 others thought about it but were no shows, possibly the thought of a start at 650 feet above sea level and a temp of -3 and no Munro to go home with at the end of the day was perhaps off putting for the softer members of the team .
The group left the village square at a prompt 9am and headed up through the forest where many true life stories were told, including those about murders, bombs that were dropped during the war and where remnants of the mining days were following the decline in the 80's.
Upon leaving the forest the group picked up the disused railway and headed down past the golf course and headed up the moors past Levenseat sand quarry, which supplied specialised sand for the whisky distillers and brick makers. The climb to the top was around one mile and rewarded with a fantastic view from the trig point near the village of Fourth where sea life fossils have been were found at 800 feet above sea level!
The views from the top over looked Tinto and the borders in the south and to the north as far as Perthshire.
The walk was planned to last 3-4 hours long but ended up being nearer over 5 hours. A great time was had by all and concluded with a visit to the Fauldhouse zoo (ok 4 chickens and a cat in some auld wummins cooncil garden) on the way back to the cars!
After a somewhat disorganised start to the day –naming no names (since I was one of them) 5 dots headed to Peebles in the one car. Arriving in Peebles to meet another dot, with some reorganising within the car, we played a game off ‘how many dots can you fit in a Honda Jazz’ -6, and with a few accusations off inappropriate hand placements later, we were kitted up and on route from Glen Road to take on the Glensax horseshoe.
A nice easy start to the walk in surprisingly pleasant weather given the weather report, we headed up Kirk Hope Law. Here’s where we found out just how accurate the route descriptions were re the boggy ground…Understatement!!! Ankle deep we went negotiating our way through parts that looked waste deep to Dun Rig.
Heading back via Hundleshope Heights, we eventually found the trig point after a slight detour, and a newbie dot breaking what should be a rule –asking a passing bloke for directions;)
Last part of the walk through the farm and back on solid ground the rest of the way back to the car, time for round two with the Honda Jazz…Back to Edinburgh for a quick refreshment.
There was no opportunity for a warm up as we had no sooner started walking when the climb began! However, we took a gentle pace and did indeed warm up as the sun made an appearance and the wind wasn’t nearly as strong as expected. A clear path put paid to any need for serious navigation and we enjoyed a chat and fantastic views along Loch Voil and over the Crianlarich hills as we headed upwards. After a stop for first lunch on route, and the gradient lessening as we got higher, we reached the summit all agreeing that this was indeed a very nice route to go up Stob Binnein. Second lunch on top and we headed back down and finished the day off with a wee scone and coffee stop in the Mhor84 hotel at Balquhidder.
3 new Dots(welcome to them!) and 4 old timers set off in 2 cars for an adventure on Fife’s mini via ferrata! First part of the walk involved a gentle hike along the beach from Lower Largo car park.Rather than get our feet wet as the tide was just receding,we then walked through the caravan park and along a grassy path to Kincraig Point and the start of the real fun.
A steep descent to the warning plaque that tries to put people off doing it-think the coastguards get fed up rescuing people who get caught out by high tide-and a lovely first lunch sitting on the cliffs watching and listening to the eiders and velvet scoters. Then on with via ferrata or cycling gloves and we pretended we were in the Dolomites.
Up and down cliffs hanging on for dear life to the large heavy duty metal chains then onto the trickiest bit at the end traversing along the rock on a too loose chain that had us swinging out alarmingly. Trick seems to be to plant feet flat against the wall as though abseiling rather than try to get them into the footholds.
Scorching beautiful day with lovely views across to Edinburgh and East Lothian all the way. All very glad to get our feet in the water at Earlsferry to cool off . After a second lunch on the beach we walked in to Elie to have coffee and get bus back to the start of the walk and the cars.
10 legs made their way from Auchlean to the Landseer’s Bothy. The weather forecast was mixed with some gusty winds on the tops but the day turned out better than expected. With heavy packs (do we really need all that stuff?!) we embarked on what was going to be a gentle walk with minor river crossings to the clearing where sits: Ruigh Aiteachain.
We were glad to discard the heavy packs at the bothy and head up into the hills – the aim: munro Mullach Clach a Bhlair. A straightforward landrover track took us past the last snow pockets of the glen (we should have tried the sledging quality of it…) and Coire Garblach with stupendous views into its base and across Carn Ban Mor. The ridge gradually leveled out, the wind picked up and we stood on the top, wishing we had brought some gloves and determined to find a more inspiring way down. We dropped down SW of Druim nam Bo towards its wee lochan and were just about able to resist a skinny dip (only kidding), then it was heather surfing all the way back to the bothy The bothy was under siege by a Duke of Edinburgh group who were on their gold award assessment with tents all around it – gotta love bothying on a weekend. After getting the massive wood burning stove going, we sat in t-shirt till well into the night, putting the world to rights, G&T or wine in hand (we did it in style!!). A bit of a restless night for all of us which turned into a lie in with a slow start into the day with having breakfast al-fresco and the challenge of fitting everything back into our bags again (ah yea, and Karen got stuck on the top bunk J) (editorial note – it was very high up!!). But we could already smell the coffee and the wonderful cakes at the Inshriach Nursery. After the walk out, we treated ourselves to both, sitting amongst a sea of flowers, enjoying the sunshine.
The weekend came to a close with a lovely loop around Loch an Eilean – Rothiemurchus is such a magical place.
All of us were already contemplating about the next bothy adventure! Who’s coming?!
Jessie Mac's, Birnam near Dunkeld. http://www.jessiemacs.co.uk/
Despite the Siberian weather conditions, we had a lovely weekend staying in Dot and Brenda’s new bunkhouse in Dunkeld. How nice it was to be sitting by a coal fire in a comfortable lounge eating home-made muffins and drinking red wine with the snow falling outside. In fact, I think we have been so spoilt by such fantastic accommodation, that we are going to want to have every spring weekend in Birnam! Anyway, we did venture out too although given the avalanche forecasts, all walking was low level. The added benefit of being in Birnam was having several lovely low level options on our doorstep. One walk involved a circuit of Loch Ordy right from the door of the bunkhouse and a second, a trip to Loch of the Lowes, home of the webcam celebrity ospreys!
As one dot had brought a small sledge (borrowed from their children!) some descended quicker than others down to the path. We all then re-grouped and took the path west around Capelaw and on to Bonaly reservoir. After a short break to refuel, we then walked through the woods and eventually back to Swanston.
Afterwards we all headed into the local golf club for some refreshment and a blether.
Brilliant blue skies warm/dry conditions meant several stops on the way up the first steep section to discard layers and catch our breath.
Early lunch at the top due to a good pace but heavy cloud dropped the temperature so didn’t linger too long. Mind you a wee drap o’ McCallan’s from one of the Dots’ hip flask warmed up those of who partook!
A bearing was taken off the top but the cloud soon lifted to give us glorious conditions again and wonderful views with the Autumn trees showing off their colours. After crossing over the top of Ben Ever a SW path was taken to lead down into the Woodland Park and back to the cars.
A visit to Tilly’s Tea Shop in Tillicoutry finished off the day.
Meall Buidhe (Glen Lyon)
It was a lovely walk, and quite near the summit of the hill 3 met 1 and then 2 coming down met the other 4 going up to the summit (it’s a little confusing I know) Introductions, hallos and chat ensued for a short while but the weatherman had once more let us down and the clouds were rolling in with the wind blowing cold and icy blasts. We said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. The proverbial photo was taken at the top by a couple of guys just finishing off their sandwiches and we tried to work out which stones they had been sitting on so they would be warm to sit and eat our snacks. We did have great views now and then which made it all worth while. We then set off back down the hill. The boggy bits (of which there were plenty) lived up to their name, but we all got down unscathed. It is a lovely hill and it was great to meet 2 new Lilidot ladies. This would be an ideal hill for a winter walk but access could be very difficult by car if there was lots of lying snow.
Lovely day all round!
Well, it was actually just Creag MacRanaich in the end.... A party of eight set off to climb firstly Creag MacRanaich. The weather turned out much better than anticipated and all winter gear was left in the car. A long walk in was followed by a fairly sharp steep ascent and the summit was reached in time for lunch. After enjoying the sunshine, we headed back down again with the intention to head to the second summit of Meall an t-Seallaidh. However, as the first outing the of the year, the legs were started to get tired, the time was passing, there was a slight ankle injury, and a collective decision was made that one summit was adequate and that we would head back to the cars and arrive back in Glasgow/Edinburgh at a reasonable hour.
Five Dots (two from Blairgowrie, two from Edinburgh and one from Cupar) tackled Ben Vrackie. One turned back before the steep climb to the top (tired from walking the day before) and the other four made it up and down in good time. The weather was good (as was the company) with a bit of snow underfoot and clear views until quite near the top where we were enveloped by cloud. A bit of group sundancing near the summit led to the hillfog clearing (works every time!!). Glorious views on the way down included a magical wisp of mist shrouding the glen floor. We were back in good time for drinks and a blether in the local pub before driving home.
Great turnout for our first walk of 2012 and to celebrate Judi and Mary’s 10 year anniversary of their LD debut.
Good mix of Edinburgh and Glasgow girls though unfortunately the West Coasters brought the mist and drizzle with them.Spirits and enthusiasm were high, however,despite the dreich but mild weather and this turned out to be the shortest Dot walk in living history, zapping up and down in just over 2 hours. No dallying at the top except for the obligatory hoody picture in the mire and a coffee stop just off the ridge cut short by cold bahookies.
We caught up a slightly late arrivee and her pal on our way down, they having already been up and back down off the summit. Then back to the car park, views of Loch Lomond appearing eventually just before we re-entered the woodland, and a quick sandwich before going the local hostelry for coffee and soup.
Great to see old and meet new friends on the walk - a warm welcome to our new Dots and hope they will venture out with us again.
Happy New year to those who did not make it and looking forward to seeing you on future walks in 2012.
Sunday 4th December dawned bright and clear and all looked promising for this year´s Auchnafree Hill attempt. Two cars set off from Glasgow, one from Fife and one from Edinburgh. An hour later, literally from nowhere a blizzard started! We sat in a layby with the car disappearing in snow thinking will we carry on or will we go back. Then the blizzard vanished as quickly as it had come and we carried on to Crieff. Again, everything looked hopeful...There was a phone call from the Edinburgh party to let us know that they were stuck in traffic on the M90 and were going to be late but we agreed that we would shorten the walk and that everything would be fine-or so we thought. On arriving in Crieff, the sun was shining and the snow melting, so we blithely set off up to the reservoir and the start of the walk. All started off fine but as we climbed higher up the road the snow from earlier had compacted and one of the cars got stuck. We all got out and pushed and nothing happened. Some time later and with the help of other walkers all keen to offer `advice´, the car moved off but we decided not to risk going further in case it snowed again.
So plan B. We would go and have a coffee in the distillery, await the Edinburgh group and then do another walk in the area. Several coffees and cakes later another phone call from the Edinburgh group - they were still stuck! Given the way the day was shaping up so far we decided that we had better not try anything too ambitious. We set off for a couple of hours walk round the Knock, initially feeling a bit odd for wearing our full gear for such a straightforward walk, but then being quite glad we had, as we tramped through the snow. We kept thinking that the Edinburgh group would catch up. Little did we know that a horse box had over-turned and that they would end up spending over 5 hour stuck. At least they had plenty warm clothes and food to keep them going, and I believe that there was also the Archers omnibus, but not much fun. The views from the Knock were lovely, the sky blue and the company good so all in all we enjoyed the walk even if it wasn´t quite what we planned. However as far as the Lilidots are concerned Auchnafree Hill seems doomed not to happen! Maybe next year we´ll schedule it for mid summer!!
In glorious weather 11 Dots including two new-comers met to climb Meall nan Tarmachan. It was clearly the place to be and getting parked proved tricky but once we were on the hill it wasn’t too busy.
We made steady progress to the summit of Meall nan Tarmachan enjoying fantastic views of inverted cloud over Loch Tay and summits in all directions. After a bite to eat everyone continued along the ridge to the summit of Meall Garbh, then a short spell of scrambling before walking back up on to Beinn nan Eachan before descending to join the track in Coire Fionn Lairge. From there we followed the track back to the car park as the temperature dropped. The great weather lasted all day and we met Finnan a rescue dog in the car park just heading into the hills to practice his skills.
We all then headed for the Bridge of Lochay Hotel for a hot drink and scones before heading home after a great day.
Ben Arthur, The Cobbler
Low level or shall we just go for it?’ That was the dilemma facing five Dots on a dreich Sunday morning who assembled at the car park at the head of Loch Long. Not ones to let a low cloud base and persistent drizzle put them off, the decision was taken to head for the Narnain Boulders and decide what next from there. A well-made path made for easy walking –steepness aside – and five women, who didn’t know each other at the bottom of the hill, were soon sharing stories and hill walking experiences. The wet but warm day and the initial uphill soon saw layers being stripped and it was a glowing faces that sat down at the Boulders for a quick bite to eat. The rain had eased by this time and, having come this far, it seemed remiss not to continue on to the top of The Cobbler. A short distance from the Boulders, the path cut across the stream and began a steep climb into the corrie, the three peaks of our final destination still shrouded in mist. A bit of navigational dithering (exacerbated by the mist and a dodgy compass) and a realisation that we weren’t quite yet at the col between the Centre and North peaks, momentarily slowed progress. We eventually reached the col and needed to head SW to the top of The Cobbler but had another dither thanks to a compass being 180° out of kilter! Anyone got a magnet? Shunning the North Peak, we headed along a broad path to the summit rock. The views were….non-existent thanks to the mist and returning rain. Whilst a couple of Dots poked their heads through the needle of the summit rock, no one felt like threading it given the slippery conditions and being unable to see exactly what was on the other side. Home beckoned and so it was a steady descent down the rocky and, at times, slippery path back to the more solid footing of the main path by the Boulders. The lusty bellows and grunts of rutting red deer stags, filtering through the mist from the corries below Beinn Narnain, accompanied us on our way. It was downhill from there, overtaking a group of litter-picking teenagers and a few other walkers, back to the lochside car park. As always – even given the weather – it felt good to have done it.
Three Dots made it to this walk, and as expected the start was steep, through woodland then then beside a waterfall, but having slogged up we were rewarded with great views which stayer with us all day – no rain, what a treat! The route over the peaks was a mix of grass slopes and slabs, very few paths and no direct routes between the peaks – so in poor visibility this would have been a very heavy navigation day. We spotted a family of Phartmigan camoflaged in the rocks – 4 birds, so possibilty the adults with this years chicks, managed to get quite close to them for a look at their feathery feet. There was a big height difference (114m) between the two main peaks, the first was was rocky on top and steep sided while the second was grassy and a long slope. It all made for a varied and good day out with plenty of tea stops! The walk back thorugh Glen Ceitlien did seem to go on for ever, but we made it back to the cars in good time for the trip home.
Nine Dots planned to go on this walk and we had cars and gear planned – however the weather was to intervene. 2 brave Dots got as far as Crianlarich but the forecast for cloud base at 50m turned into a wet reality so they too turned back. What a shame as the weather on the days either side of this were lovely. However, we’ll put it on the diary for next year and hope for better weather next time
Seven Dots came on this walk. All of us got to the top of the first Munro (Carn Liath) despite the boiling heat and the stiff gradient. For one of us it was a big celebration as it was her first ever Munro (she took the brave decision to tackle it as no-one else wanted to join her on the low level option up Glen Tilt). She and two others (perhaps wisely given how hot it was) turned back after this and went back down whilst the other four continued to the two other Munros. It was a beautiful walk with stunning views of the Cairngorms and Grampians all around and the lack of need to navigate or deal with any other hazards (good path all the way) made it really relaxing. The full three Munros took 9 hours to complete but all of us had a great day out.ragraph. Haz clic aquí para modificar.
Setting off from the car park of the now non-existant Visitor Centre we walked up through the nature trail, gradually warming up as we reached higher ground. The weather was dry and remained so all day but there was a pretty cold breeze at times and the mist covered the top of Beinn Ghlas ahead of us.
Fortunately as we climbed the mist rose and the view from the top of Beinn Ghlas was pretty good. We had to make our way along the sharp ridge and down to the col before finding a spot sheltered enough for lunch.
The mist continued to rise giving a clear summit again on reaching Ben Lawers. We had made good progress allowing time for some botanising among the rocks below the summit. Several interesting specimins were sighted, some which still remain unidentified, inviting another visit further into the flowering season.
The return route from the col skirted the north west slope of Beinn Ghlas where acid flushes provided further flower spotting opportunities and an inviting boulder had to be scaled.
As usual another great Lilidots walk was had by all!
As this was only my second walk with the lilidots and with little experience thus far in hill walking I was very pleased that two other well experienced lildot walkers managed to make the walk.
The three of us met at the Bridge of Orchy Station. The weather turned out to be absolutely fabulous, sun shining with clear blue skies. So much so that a quick slap dash of sun cream was required before starting. In inticipation that the good weather would hold we eargerly set of with much enthusiasm and content to absorb the warm rays of the sun. Progress was good and a steady comfortable pace was maintained. The climb was a bit steep in places and mostly we were able to negociate our way round the bits that were a bit boggy. It was lovely to stop and chat to other walkers we met on our way and although a bit breezy when we reached the top the views were stunning with not a cloud in the sky. Shelted from the wind and in the warmth of the sun we sat a wee bit further down from the top and enjoyed a very relaxing well earned lunch break. Re-fueled and well rested we eventually decided that it was time to get going and made our way back down to the cars.At this time one lilidot was indeed a bit relieved to remove her boots( ah that's better), as a niggling condition on the day did cause her a bit grief!!! We rounded of what was a great day by sitting outside the Orchy Hotel in the sunshine where we enjoyed some time to catch up with some chit-chat and a rather refreshing soft drink. Well done lilidots for another most rewarding experience and I do hope a volunteer can be found in time for the next walk schedued for June.
BEINN NAN AIGHENAN (960m)
After introducing each other, we put on our waterproofs and set off in the clag. As in good Lilidot style the heavens opened and it poured, but only for about 10 minutes. We trudged on up the path which was pretty good in most places and it took us almost up to the bealach at 767m on the ridge above. By now it had snowed slightly, rained and the sun had come out so we were playing the game of clothes on, clothes off (if you get my drift). We managed to spot 2 ptarmigans on our way. The visibility was a bit poor at times so good navigation was extremely important, especially for the next part of the route. We made a downward traverse south east past a few wee lochans to the next bealach at 618m, which was 2km from the top of the hill. By now we were keen to get to the top and start making our way down again and so followed the rocky ridge to the summit at 1100m. With a great view we had and after a quick bite to eat and some chat we set off back down the boggy path. It appeared we had walked past a stunning crevasse on the way up, and now that the weather was much better we could actually see where we were going and it was stunning. The cameras came out and the proverbial photos were taken. Then it was back down to the cars, a hearty cheerio was said by all and off we went home. Another fun day out and photos for the album!
Beinn Dubhchraig and Ben Oss
LILIDOTS WINTER SKILLS WEEKEND - BRAEMAR
Once a suitable slope was found, various techniques were used to examine the stability of the snowpack before they all donned their helmets and practiced kicking steps and using their ice axes. Then arms were linked and the group started flying down the slope to create a suitable slide!
For the next couple of hours, Lilidots were witnessed in all sorts of positions and styles as high speed was generated on an ever faster and icier slope!!
The main ice axe arrest techniques were covered however some thought they would adopt their own style which was apparently quite effective also! The group could be heard for miles... well their shrieks and laughter could (although, it's believed a lot of that was down to Carron!).
All that remained was crampon practice and, with only one set of goretex trousers ripped, it was deemed relatively successful also!
Good fun was had by all and trail was broken once again as they headed back to the bunkhouse at the end of the day.
Other Lilidots spent the day relaxing or on a lovely walk through Glen Quoich.
The weather prevented activity on Sunday.
Initially it was a cold but clear and sunny day and a healthy group of Dots looked forward to some great views at the top of Beinn Chabhair. The route was steep to begin with and indeed boggy in parts, but the real bog began as the ground levelled out a bit and we followed the “path” along the Ben Glas Burn to just before Lochan Beinn Chabhair. We stopped there for a well earned lunch, trying to keep warm as the weather closed in and the mist began to build up.
Getting up to the ridge helped to get the blood flowing again and once on the rocky ridge there was no mud, only icy patches to avoid.
On reaching a prominent cairn we hoped we had reached the top but fortunately quickly realised there was just a bit further to go before the actual summit of Beinn Chabhair which by then was totally shrouded in mist.
The pace down was so quick that we managed to slightly loose the path in the boggy section but good navigation helped to keep us on course. By this time the light was quickly failing but well equipped with head torches we were able to make the final steep, winding and slippery descent.
Most of us took the opportunity to warm up and refresh ourselves in the Drover's Inn in the company in what must be the world's largest collection of Scottish stuffed animals. Another great walk was had by all and coming down by torchlight added that extra excitement and challenge to the day.
Write Up 2:
8 Dots in 2 cars from Edinburgh and one solitary one from Glasgow travelled up to lovely Glen Falloch to climb Ben Chabhair.
A beautiful journey up with bright sunshine accentuating the autumn tree colours. Very cold initially with cars reading 4 deg below zero so everyone got well happed up. Thanks to the sun though, within ½ hour of starting climbing up beside the Ben Glas Burn, many of us were packing outer layers into our sacks.
The ground was quite well frozen fortunately, making the potentially very boggy walk much more pleasant. Once we reached more level ground above the falls of Ben Glas burn, we could get a good stride out.
Hunger set in soon and the elusive lunch spot at Lochan Ben Chabhair was a long time in appearing.
Revived after lunch, we set off north east of the lochan to reach the North West ridge at the bealach between it and Meall nan Tarmachan. This was an easier route than was taken in 2005 by the Dots when we went up the south face.
The sun had been replace by fog and strong winds at this stage and we were all glad to see the summit cairn - except it wasn’t and we fought the gales to reach the real summit just a short way further along. We are grateful for Mag’s astuteness and determination really -though it didn’t seem so at the time! There was a quick retreat to the bealach to get some shelter and a quick hot drink before heading back down to the lochan and a splash through the bog in now blowing snow and gathering dark.
On with the headtorches and then quite a tricky, but exciting, descent, with the lights below to guide us. A great day, made more so by the changing weather and by coming off in the dark. And by, of course, great craik covering all subjects… including the significance of the Oedipus complex with regard to ‘Goldilocks and the 3 Bears’.
Sgorr Dhearg and Sgorr Dhonuill
The group assembled at 10 in the appointed car park just outside Ballachulish - that is the group minus the leaders. Some fifteen minutes later, the leaders appeared - navigation difficulties in locating the car park had hit! Off we went, pleased with the conditions as the clouds lifted and the sun started to shine.
Three routes were available to us and we carefully made our selection, debating the merits of steep scrambling, dense forest or boggy ground. However, the forestry commission obviously had other ideas. Felling in the forest sent us off following a diversion sign and several miles and twists and turns later we found ourselves on one of the routes we had decided against. Oh well, the best laid plans... Anyway, adaptable as ever, on we went, following the forest track and then setting off up a steep (?vertical) slope to reach the ridge leading to our first peak. Having got ourselves to this point, the going became much gentler and we had the opportunity to marvel at the unusual occurrence of being on top of a Munro with absolutely no wind blowing whatsoever.
After a stop for lunch on the first peak (and some very generous donations from fellow Lilidots when I remembered that my carefully prepared sandwiches were still in the fridge at home), we had great ridge walk over to the second peak which makes up the Ballachulish horseshoe. The views were spectacular with Loch Leven shimmering down below and our ridge just narrow enough to be exciting rather than terrifying.
We took the photographs of peak two, enjoyed the fantastic views, snacked a bit more and then started our descent. Pleased with our achievement, we made our way down. Probably only 90 minutes back to the car we thought. We're making great time. Tales were told of internet blogs about the unnavigable dense forest with no tracks but we had avoided that...or so we thought.
An hour or so later, picking the pine needles out of our hair, we emerged. However, Ray Mears watch out when Lilidots are about! GPS's were checked and we were exactly where we thought we were.
Back on the path again we enjoyed a final descent in the sunshine back to the car park, and a general well done to ourselves for a good day out
Beinn Tulaichean & Cruach Ardrain
These two hills lie in the heart of Rob Roy MacGregor country. Rob Roy ended his days at Inverlochlarig, near the start of this walk, and is buried in the church cemetery in Balquidder.
Unlike the famous Jacobite rebel, Lillidots have access to the Mountain Weather Information Service (MWIS). So while Red MacGregor would undoubtedly have happily joined us on a raid against the Duke of Montrose, the majority of dots appear to have been discouraged by the heavy rain, 60 mph winds and miserable 10% chance of cloud free munros.
And so it was that two brave (or stupid) dots set off alone through the pouring rain, determined to enjoy a good day in the hills regardless of the conditions.
The Inverlochlarig burn was in spate with the vast amount of water streaming off the hills and was even close to overflowing the bridge at the start of the walk. Pausing only to check no river crossings would be necessary later, we headed up the track towards the south east slopes of Beinn Tulaichean.
More by chance than design, our route climbed the leeward side of Beinn Tulaichean, allowing us to avoid the full intensity of the weather until gaining the ridge. We made full use of any feature affording some modicum of shelter as we wound our way up the steep hillside.
The MWIS had called it correctly with respect to the wind which was consistently strong and with some gusts that made it difficult to maintain our progress. Fortunately, the rain did cease and the cloud lifted such that we could enjoy views of neighbouring hills Ben More, Stob Binnein and Beinn a’ Chroin.
After taking the easy ridge walk from Beinn Tulaichean to Cruach Ardrain our weather window was abruptly slammed shut by a truly evil looking black squall bearing down from the north. We actually broke into a run in the attempt to return to the col ahead of the storm but it swept quickly over Crianlarich and we could only laugh as it engulfed us in driving rain and hail. It was a relief to reach the col and drop back over the leeward side from where the descent was relatively easy down grassy slopes.
The storm passed and we walked out via the farm track alongside the Inverlochlarig burn having had an enjoyable day but grateful for the dry clothes waiting in the car.
Ben Lui (1130m) and Beinn a Chleibh (916m)
Already fortified by coffee and freshly made scones at the Green Welly and still dry and intact after negotiating the twin hazards of the river and the railway line, we made good progress up the delightful forest path to the sound of waterfalls and a cuckoo’s call. However, by the time we reached the stile at the top of the forest, the humidity and the midges’ onslaught were beginning to take their toll.
Reaching higher ground, we managed to escape the midges and find a slight breath of air and an apparently suitable spot for our first lunch, however we soon found we had entered the territory of the (June) Mayfly and this encouraged us to keep moving.
Once on the ridge the slog was over, although for the height we were at there was still not much of a breeze. The ridge involved some interesting scambley bits and we came upon the highlight of our day – a ptarmigan with 5 young chicks. They scurried along the path ahead of us for some time before veering off to the side and down into the mist.
The views on top of Ben Lui were still pretty impressive despite a not entirely clear day. Off to the north we could see some rain clouds and expected the forecasted thundery showers before the end of our walk. Despite this everyone was up for Beinn a Chleibh and after our main lunch we set off for our 2nd Munro. The views again were splendid and luckily the weather held out all the way back to the cars.
As we headed back to Tyndrum for some “Real Food” at the café of that name we could see by the wetness of the road that we had indeed been fortunate to have had a dry day which was an extra bonus for what was a great and companionable walk.
Meall Corraniach (1069m) and Meall a Choire Leith (926m)
Undaunted by a heavy snow dump earlier in the week, five dots travelled to Ben Lawers to tackle these two neighbouring peaks. With the aid of some helpful men with snow shovels we managed to drive past the NTS visitor centre but the road was completely blocked before the normal start point for this walk. Fortunately a quick look at the map yielded an alternative route and we set off up a long spur of Meall Corranaich. Classic Scottish conditions prevailed, the low clag and poor visibility necessitating detailed navigation until the first summit was reached.
To our delight the cloud lifted shortly afterwards and the stunning snowy landscapes reminded us all why we love being in the hills, our mood transformed as we traversed the short ridge before descending and climbing Meall a’ Choire Leith.
It was a long walk out from there to our unexpected parking place but if spirits were diminished we soon perked up with fabulous fish suppers in Callander.
Whilst the rest of Scotland basked in early Spring sunshine, 6 Dots met in the Inveruglas visitor centre café looking forward to the day ahead…in drizzle and mist! The walk up the glen towards Loch Sloy gave the opportunity to catch up with the gossip and wonder at the view, mainly of pylons leading from the transforming station! However, the rocky, south eastern shoulder of Ben Vane displayed a healthy dusting of snow and crampons began to be discussed. Unfortunately, one of the group elected to stay low level and headed towards Loch Sloy as the 5 remaining Dots struck up the series of rocky platforms and knolls that make up Ben Vane. Soon the clear path became hidden under soft snow and the rocky knoll swirled in and out of view through ever thickening mist. We felt like the cast of “The Land That Time Forgot” and wouldn’t have been surprised if a pterodactyl had swooped out of the mist! As the slopes steepened and the snow hardened, crampons were excitedly clipped on and off we stomped to the top (verified by GPS as we couldn’t really see very much by then!). The subsequent descent was made memorable by much sliding and the clearing of the mist to give great views along Loch Lomond to end a lovely day on the hill with great company.
Geal Charn and / or A' Mharconaich (Drumochter)
If you were looking for a nice spring walk with a bit of sunshine and fabulous views you’d have been disappointed. On the other hand, if you were looking for a chance to play in the snow, test your navigation to the limits, get a bit of wear out of those crampons and actually put your ice axe to use – you’d have loved it. And we did.
Three of us turned up at Drumochter and had great fun even getting the cars across the car park. The walking itself wasn’t too strenuous but after half an hour the hill was starting to disappear into a white haze of snow and cloud. This was the start of 5 hours of compass reading and counting steps to measure distance. And we weren’t bad at it either!
Using the GPS to check how accurate we were at times, we spent most of the day testing our skills. It has to have been the quietest Lilidots walk ever because we were concentrating so hard. Highlights of the day had to be pretty much landing on top of our cairns on Geal Charn and A' Mharconaich when they loomed out of the white-out and the sight of each other with bad frosty hair. So by the end of all that, our heads were as tired as our legs – a great day’s crack.
Some of the Pentland Hills, including Scald Law
For half of the party that was more than enough to do the trick and they headed back down to the comfort of their car, the Flotterstone Inn and home.The rest of us decided to press on into the mist to mount and descend the shapely summits of the Kips (East and West). The views were limited but we could still see each other, just about, and although the rain did not abate the wind was less forceful making the walk more pleasant or at least more bearable.
We were then encouraged up to the top of Hare Hill with the assurance of a sheltered spot on the top for lunch. It was indeed protected from the wind but rather wet as the rain drops gathered to form very large drips from the overhanging rocks above us. We did not linger over lunch and headed down to The Howe on a rough and increasingly waterlogged path that was more like a burn itself. When we reached the real Logan Burn it was in spate and we were relishing the challenge of attempting to cross it, having been informed that there was “no bridge”. However this information proved to be incorrect much to our disappointment.
The trek up to the highest point of Kirk Road was pretty steep and a bit of a slog but having got there it was downhill all the way. We were lucky at the end of the walk to find that the path had become so completely submerged that there was no way round, giving us the opportunity to wade after all and get back to the cars with very clean boots.
Joined by two of the party who had been perusing the Sunday papers as they waited patiently for our return, our day on the Pentland Hills was completed by warming refreshments in the Flotterstone Inn and for some a complete change of clothing. All in all, everyone seemed to enjoy the battle with the elements and was glad they had gone but wouldn’t mind a drier day for the next walk.
Sgiath Chuil (921m, 6hrs 20mins)
5 Edinburgh Dots were lined up for the walk on Saturday. Sunday morning there were 3,one wee soul not well and one felled by exhaustion(slept in). Having lost their chief navigators the remaining 3 had to retire to a wee find of a coffee shop in Crieff to sup lattes and eat freshly baked fruitcake while they studied the route. Cafe Central to be recommended if ever up that way again.Very fortuitous as other Dots had woken on Sunday morning deciding to join us so the delayed start meant that they could walk with us rather than run to catch up. So the 5 of us set off along the side of Loch Turrett apprehensively watching threatening black clouds which blew over leaving us with a lovely warm, mostly sunny day. Quite a steep ascent beyond Lochan Uaine to reach the top and a steep trek back down heather covered slopes to meet up with the inwards track. Great day, good company as usual. Lots of tiny frogs, wild flowers and stonechats/wheatears(no book to identify them). Oh, and heelin coos with VERY big horns which 1 Dot (guess which one) had to shoo off the road ahead of the cars on the way back while the others very helpfully sat in the cars with the windows tightly rolled up. And of course the essential visit to a teashop-actually the Distillery-before heading home.
Beinn Narnain (hill of the notches) and Beinn Ime (hill of butter)
We set off uphill along a well-frequented forest path only to find after some distance that we were veering west and not directly up towards Beinn Narnain as planned. It appeared that the original path is no longer in existence, possibly due to erosion, and by the time we came out of the forest, we were well on our way to Beinn Ime. An easy decision was made to tackle Beinn Ime first before taking in Beinn Narnain on our way back (if we felt up for it!). Spurred on by hungry midges, we sought higher ground before stopping for our first lunch of the day, and to apply liberal quantities of sunscreen – yes, it had turned out to be that kind of day!
Heading off again we had good views of people heading up The Cobbler as we approached the Bealach a’Mhaim. It was then a steady climb up to Beinn Ime with the ground pretty good underfoot apart from a few boggy patches. One Dot, still recovering from a previous expedition (not a Lilidots one!) decided to head down before the top and enjoy the Sunday papers, while the rest of us made the summit and quickly consumed our second lunch. We also took time to enjoy the amazing views afforded by the clear weather, from snow on Ben Nevis to Ailsa Craig off the coast of Arran.
Arriving back down at the bealach, five Dots decided that they had had a good day but one mountain was enough, while the rest of us pressed on up Beinn Narnain, mindful that one of our party would not forgive us if she did not get home in time for the final of The Apprentice! The route up was steep without much of a path but suddenly we were at the top and took time to enjoy the views again, plus our third lunch of course, or maybe it was afternoon tea!
The way down was tricky to find and quite exciting as we picked our way between, and scrambled down (read “shined our pants on”!) the Narnain Boulders. The view of the Cobbler was particularly impressive from here, with its rugged and distinctive outline silhouetted against the evening sun
The walk was completed by the final trek down through the forest and, although weary by then, we were sustained by good company and beautiful views of the sun sparkling on Loch Long. We headed straight home but I hear the others fitted in the traditional Lilidots tearoom stop before going in their different directions
Meall an t-Seallaidh and Craig MacRanaich
Lilidots appeared from far and wide (Dundee, Stirling and Livingston) on a beautiful clear Spring morning in May. Some longtime Lilidots and some new, met in Lochearnhead, our goal two Corbetts, Meall an t-Seallaidh and Craig MacRanaich.
These hills can be climbed by a variety of routes. We chose to approach them via Glen Kendrum, which boasts (unusually for Corbetts) a handy track, all the way to the col between the two hills. Our first stop for refreshments was a sunny spot beside a tumbling burn. At the col, having walked past some fine crags (the nesting place of peregrines) we decided to ascend Craig MacRanaich. A rough zig zag climb brought us to the summit where wind proof and warmer clothing had to be donned. A fine view of snow capped peaks was enjoyed whilst we had a quick lunch break.
Knowing how lovely the weather had been down below, we elected, rather than re tracing our steps to the col and ascending Meall an t-Seallaidh, to descend to Glen Ogle. This proved to be quite a rough descent but brought us down beside a very attractive burn. Another stop in the sun, where some of us even stripped down to t-shirts, and then on to join the Killin – Balquidder cyle track back to Lochearnhead. We passed banks of primroses and were treated to a full rainbow, just before arriving at the beautifully restored old station.
A grand day oot! Fine company, fine walking and stupendous weather and views. We hope you will join us in June.
April Walks, Sunday 5th April
My partner and I went up Glas Tulaichean as there was a slight misunderstanding about the April walk and we didn't know that the walk had been changed. Anyway, we set off at 10.15 and had a pleasant walk up the track that takes you to the top of Glas Tulaichean. It was a warm day as we set off with plenty of sunshine and the views were wonderful. There was very little cloud so we could see for miles around us and there was plenty of snow covering the mountain tops around the Cairngorms. At the top the wind had picked up and suddenly it became very cold! So we sat long enough to eat, drink and appreciate the views looking towards Loch Nan Eun and beyond, until we could no longer tolerate the nipping wind. The descent allowed us to warm up again and we spent some time at the river before returning to the car. We were glad to have done this walk, as we had never done it before. A fab walk.
OOPS! Some women went up Glas Tulaiuchean (report above and some women headed for Beinn Tullaichean (which was a shorter day and not so far to go - sorry for the confusion). This was an outing to the southern peak linked to Cruach Ardrain that we did in June last year. There was the long drive down the beautiful Balquhidder road (it always takes longer than you remember) but there was plenty of parking available when we set off. It was a slow (especially this early in the season!!) climb up the hill to a line of crags, We made it round the boulders and had to keep out of the wind so stopped for lunch before going on the final slope to the summit. We had a beautifully clear day on the top and were rewarded to with views in all directions. We followed the path down to the col between the two then followed various water courses down to Inverlochchlarig Burn. From here it was a path all the way back to the farms where we met a loose highland pony and his young owner, walker friendly natives are always such a surprise! We stopped for tea at the very nice but "walkers welcome" Monachyle Mhor Hotel and were pleasantly surprised by the price of the drinks. We enjoyed our "Lilidots" tea and toasted the day in the sunshine in very pleasant surroundings. We had a lovely day out .