Blairdenon Hill in the Ochil Hills is a hill that is less frequented than its neighbour, Ben Cleuch. It has a sense of remoteness as well, especially if you take the time to explore some of the other tops in the area.
The day 14th July 2020, started promising as I left Minstrie, lots of sunshine and clear views, As I reached the 1st summit of the day Colsnaur Hill, the wind speed increased and I was grateful of the small quarry at the summit to shelter in. I spent a good 30 minutes there enjoying the view towards Ben Cleuch in perfect solitude.
Crossing Minstrie Moss en-route to Blairdennon Hill left me exposed to the wind and the occasional shower that quickly blew through, but pleasant views in all directions remained. The summit of Blairdenon Hill is marked with the convergence of three fences. There is no shelter from the elements, so I moved on to explore Kidlaw Hill, Big Hunt Hill and Little Hunt Hill before returning to Minstrie.
One of the most striking things about this walk was not the solitude it offered but the vast variety of wild flowers in full bloom. They are everywhere, adding a dash of colour to the hillside and giving me a good opportunity to expand my knowledge of the flora and fauna of the Scottish hills.
I've visited the Ochil Hills many times now and usually I have enjoyed low cloud, rain, zero views and more boggyness than a boggy thing that is boggy.
It was a pleasant surprise for once to enjoy sunshine, views and relatively bog free walking when I visited these hills earlier in the month, 13th July 2020.
We set off from Tillicoultry in Clackmannanshire, making our way up through Mill Glen to King's Seat Hill, a fine view point. Then bimbled over to Andrew Gannel Hill before ascending to the high point of The Ochil Hills, Ben Cleuch.
Our descent was via Ben Ever, a broad grassy ridge that allows you to make the most of the views before descending back into Mill Glen.
Another pleasant wander, with the hills to ourselves. Andy, 22nd July 2020 🙂 ... See MoreSee Less
I've been spending time exploring hills I would not normally consider walking recently. And so far I have been pleasantly surprised by just how many options there are and the variety of walks available. Ranging from gentle strolls along the canals surrounding Glasgow to forestry walks and short hill days.
On the 7th July 2020, I went to the Carron Valley and walked Meikle Bin from Todholes. It is the 1st time I have done this hill from this side, I usually combine it with Cort-ma Law and Lecket Hill walking in from the Campsie Glen Waterfall car park. It turned out to be a very pleasant wander through the forest to the summit of Meikle Bin. I returned via the shores of Carron Valley Reservoir to give a pleasant 14km circular walk.
Just off the summit of Meikle Bin is the remains of a Fairey Firefly war plane which crashed into the summit in January 1950 killing the pilot as he was en route to HMS Sanderling Navel Air Station.
As some of you may have guessed most of my recent posts were scheduled back in April when the COVID-19 pandemic 1st started.
Without a shadow of a doubt it has been a turbulent time here at Aspect Mountaineering and I have had to consider making some very difficult decisions to protect my business and hopefully the long term prospects for my business.
With restrictions across the UK now easing Aspect Mountaineering is open for business. We will be offering bespoke guided hill walks, navigation courses and rock climbing activities to small groups and to family groups.
Aspect Mountaineering will continue to follow the government guidance and guidance from Mountain Training Association. We will continue to update our services as the restrictions continue to ease.
The website aspectmountaineering.com/ has been updated with a new pricing page to reflect the changes Aspect Mountaineering has to make in light of the present situation. Hopefully 2021 will see a return to normal and the events page will return. In the mean time please use the contact page on the website or email email@example.com or drop us a message here on Facebook if you would like further information about the activities we can offer at present.
My last Munro before the COVID-19 crisis was Ben Lomond a wintry day back in November 2019. It only seemed right to me to pick up where I left off last year, so with restrictions now lifted I returned to Ben Lomond and it felt absolutely fantastic to be back in the mountains of Scotland. It was also fantastic to see so many folk enjoying the day from all walks of life, especially all the family groups.
Last but not least, I would like to say thank you to all the folk that have been in touch for friendly chat or to offer support during these challenging times, It means a lot to Aspect Mountaineering. Thank you! 🙂 I would also like to say thank you to all of you that continue to support my page and to those that have recently liked my page. Thank you! 🙂
So far during the month of June these posts have looked at some of the many classic ridge walks and scrambles here in Scotland.
Almost one year ago, July 7th 2019 and what a day... I can honestly not think of any other place I would rather be right now than Skye and The Cuillin! 🙂
The weather was perfect for this classic round of scrambling taking in Sgurr nan Eag, Sgurr Dubh Mor and the highest peak within the Cuillin, Sgurr Alasdair.
Starting from Glen Brittle this classic round winds its way into Coire a' Ghrunnda. Once you reach the loch, stop and take the time to survey your surroundings, it is an incredible imposing landscape.
Continue with care onto the summit of Sgurr nan Eag, from here on a clear day you can see the entire of the Cuillin ridge. Re-trace your steps and then continue to Sgurr Dubh an Da Bheinn a munro top.
From Sgurr Dubh an Da Bheinn descend towards Sgurr Dubh Mor, be aware the route is not easy to find and care will be required to find the correct route to the summit of Sgurr Dubh Mor.
Return to Sgurr Dubh an Da Bheinn, again good route finding skills will be required. Descend and cross the scree towards Sgurr Alasdair. The route to Sgurr Alasdair is not obvious, good route finding skills is required and it does involve some serious scrambling.
Once you reach the summit of Sgurr Alasdair, take a deep breath and admire the view, it is truly spectacular view point. Again the descent from Sgurr Alasdair towards the Great Stone Chute involves good route finding skills. Descend the Great Stone Chute with care down into Coire Lagan.
This is a truly memorable outing that involves some serious scrambling, good route finding and head for exposure! All detailed in the SMC, Skye Scrambles Guide or the new Cicerone Guide to Skye's Cuillin Ridge Traverse by Adrian Trendal.
April 2015 and similar to April 2020 Scotland was enjoying some fantastic weather.
It would be rude not to include possibly one of the classic ridge walks of Scotland, The Aonach Eagach. Made up of Meall Dearg & Sgorr nam Fiannaidh two fine Munros. Technical in places with just the right of amount of exposure to make this an unforgettable experience that will live you for a life time.
I have completed this ridge now on numerous occasions, summer & winter, in pouring rain, gale force winds with zero visibility and seldom seen views like the views I enjoyed on the 18th April 2015.
These pictures say it all, I hope you enjoy them... Andy, 24th June 2020 🙂 ... See MoreSee Less
Looking forward to this.... Canny wait...! 😁No news yet. We just wanted to let you know that we still do not have any firm indication of when we will be able to reopen. We are hoping for July, but that is based on pure optimism. In the meantime, we have been re-setting, working on capacity planning, social distancing and getting everything ship-shape so that we can open promptly - as soon as the government will allow. We will shortly be sharing new protocols that all of our visitors must adhere to. They will be sent via email to members and shared on social media, so please keep an eye out for that. We miss you. ... See MoreSee Less
Back to Kintail and another classic ridge walk, Beinn Fhada, via Bealach an t-Sealgaire (The Hunter's Pass) a classic grade 1 scramble detailed in the latest Scottish Mountaineering Club guide book, Highland Scrambles North.
As usual it was blowing a hoolie on the 13th February 2016 when I completed this walk. The snow and ice was been ripped up by the wind and blown across the ridge at around 60 mph! Later in the day when I reached the plateau it looked almost like mini tornado's blowing across the plateau when it fact it was clouds of spindrift and ice particles.
This route starts from Morvich, the walk in is pleasant. Gain the ridge of Beinn Bhudhe and pass over numerous Corbett tops. Descend from Sgurr a' Choire Ghairbh into the notch of The Hunter's Pass. Great care should be taken especially in winter, it is steep. Continue over Meall an Fhuarain Mhoir a Munro top and then cross the vast plateau to the summit of Beinn Fhada which has a trig point at its summit.
This scramble especially in winter gives a fantastic feeling of remoteness, adventure and a sense of accomplishment. Andy, 21st June 2020 🙂 ... See MoreSee Less
Glen Strathfarrer, a wild, remote glen that offers some fantastic ridge walking for those seeking solitude. This awesome ridge walk is made up of Sgurr na Ruaidhe, Carn nan Gobhar, Sgurr a' Choire Ghlais and Sgurr Fuar-thuill, four Munros.
This ridge walk has been on my winter "to do" list for many years and on the 26th November 2016 I thought my luck was in and I would achieve a winter tick of this route.
As always the Scottish winter had other ideas, and when I started out, it was looking like one of those days best spent at home under the warmth of a duvet.
It was pouring with rain, blowing an absolute hoolie and I was sinking up to knee deep in bog in places, none the less. I stuck with it, I am glad I did. Towards the end of my day the weather calmed and I enjoyed some spectacular views making all the hard work worth while.
I hope you enjoy the photos from this wild adventure, Andy 18th June 2020 🙂 ... See MoreSee Less
So far during the month of June my posts have been about classic ridge walks within Scotland, you might recall earlier in the month that I posted some pictures of a winters day on Buachaille Etive Beag. This post is all about Buachaille Etive Mor a fine ridge walk made up of two Munros, Stobe Dearg & Stob na Broige.
These photographs were taken on the 23rd November 2016 on what was looking like a day that would end up being a complete wash out. It was cold, raining, blowing a hoolie and the cloud level was pretty much down to the road.
The ascent to the summit of Stob Dearg was pretty grim and it was looking like one of those days to turn around and go home. But fortunately for me the cloud started to break and the odd fleeting view appeared.
I decided to continued my walk over to Stob na Doire a Munro top with ever improving conditions, but it remained cold. By the time I reached Stob Coire Altruim another Munro top I was enjoying fine views in all directions and I continued to Stob na Broige before descending and returning to my starting point. ... See MoreSee Less
Ben Nevis via the CMD Arete is a classic must do ridge walk for any keen mountain enthusiast. I have completed this ridge walk numerous times now and been lucky enough to guide this walk as well, it never disappoints!
On the 13th March 2013 there was not one single person insight and I had this spectacular walk and day all to myself with only the wildlife for company.
I have reached the summit of Ben Nevis over 300 times now only to see Red Deer twice on these mountains, this day was the 1st time I had seen them on either Carn Mor Dearg or Ben Nevis.
Considering how many times I have visited the summit of Ben Nevis, this is the only day I have enjoyed the summit to myself, well excluding the Crow and Snow Buntings. 🙂
The Cluanie Southside, one of the classic ridge walks of Scotland and a firm favourite of mine.
This immense walk is made up of seven Munros, Creag a' Mhaim, Druim Shionnach, Aonach air Chrith, Maol Chinn-dearg, Sgurr an Doire Leathain, Sgurr an Lochain and Creag nan Damh.
For those that seek an easier day, similar to the Mamores this ridge can be broken down to give easier more leisurely days. For the really keen Munro Bagger it is a good haul and an obvious target to get the Munro numbers up!
The walking is straight forward with little difficulties during summer conditions, during winter conditions make sure you are prepared for a long day and you have the fitness to succeed.
It is worth while speaking to the owner of the Shiel Bridge campsite/petrol station or the owner at the Cluanie Inn to arrange a pick up at the end of the day. Alternatively you can chance it and use the City Link Coach service.
These pictures were taken on the 28th February 2011, the winter that never stopped giving. Andy, 9th June 2020 🙂 ... See MoreSee Less
Making the most of local venues for local adventures today...
Today I cycled from home to Milngavie to pick up the West Highland Way, I continued onto Glengoyne Distillery where I locked up my bike before making an ascent of Earl's Seat. On the return I ascended to Dumgoyne.
After collecting my bike I cycled along the road to Strathblane to pick up the John Muir Way and cycled this trail passing through the woods back into Mugdock Country Park, continuing to Mugdock Reservoir into Milngavie and finally home.
Another great adventure enjoyed within the government guidelines, Andy 7th June 2020. 🙂 ... See MoreSee Less
Another spectacular day 20th January 2011 and another of my favourite ridge walks, The Grey Corries.
I started early morning from Corriechoille and walked in through the forest to gain the broad north facing ridge of Beinn na Socaith a munro top, passed over another munro top to gain the summit of Stob Coire an Laoigh a fine munro.
Continuing my journey I passed over another three munro tops to gain the summit of Stob Choire Claurigh, a munro and a splendid view point.
This was certainly one of those days I did not want to descend, the views in all directions were spectacular. But unfortunately for me as the sun dipped so did the temperatures and its was time to descend.
One of my fondest memories walking the Munros of Scotland, enjoy the photographs. Andy 6th June 2020. ... See MoreSee Less
More local adventures today, this time along the canals that surround Glasgow.
We cycled along the Kelvin Walkway to Maryhill Lochs onto the Forth & Clyde Canal, stopped off at various wildlife reserves including the Possil Marsh.
Visited the site of Roman Fort, which was part of the most northern frontier of the Roman Empire, The Antonine Wall which ran from the Firth of Forth to the Firth of Clyde covering 39 miles. The wall was made of stone and turf with a ditch running along its course. The wall was built by Emperor Antonious Pius, construction started in AD 142 and took 12 years to complete.
Our journey finished at Auchinstarry Quarry in Kilsyth where we enjoyed some bird spotting and a picnic in a hail shower! 🙂 Before returning to Glasgow.
Much colder today, although very pleasant in the sunshine when sheltered from the wind. Andy, 5th June 2020 🙂 ... See MoreSee Less
One of my favourite ridge walks is the classic beginners walk of Glen Coe. Buchaille Etive Beag made up of Stob Coire Raineach & Stob Dubh two excellent munros.
These photographs were taken on the 21st December 2010 on a day I would have to describe as spectacular. The clarity was astonishing.
I made my ascent of these hills from the Beehive car park just off the A82 within Glen Coe. I ascended to the bealach and then moved onto Stob Coire Raineach to enjoy the views towards Ben Nevis, descended back to the bealach before continuing to Stob Dubh.