Saturday, 7 January 2012

The Ochils, Whitewisp, Tarmangie and Innerdownie

When I worked, I cursed if the weather was good during the week and knowing it would probably deteriorate by the weekend. Now I hope the weather is good during the week and Im not too bothered if its good at the weekend. Weekend walking is too busy on the Munro's for my liking, even in winter.

Im not antisocial or anything, its just that I like my walks on the wildside to be just that. I enjoy the challenge of the wilderness and refuse to take mobile phones, electronic GPS and personal locator beacons with me. Perhaps its the risk factor that keeps me returning to the hills ?

Im not knocking those that like to take all those gizmos for peace of mind.. its personal choice.. and its my choice to go as I have always done. A map, compass, lunch, camera, plasters for blisters, bog roll and waterproofs are all that I carry in my rucksack.

However I also consider myself sensible and choose my walks with care. Today the forecast was for sunny spells and wind. I decided to keep off the high tops as the wind has been so strong lately. I chose to go to the east end of the Ochils and take in three "Donalds" (hills over 2000ft). I knew the wind would be slightly behind me for most of this route, or if it got too strong, I could drop into the glens for shelter

I parked at Castle Campbell in Dollar Glen while the locals still slept. I like an early start.

The sunrise was a little disappointing. Just a brief glow on the clouds above Saddle Hill. I decided not to walk on its ridge as the wind was bitter. Instead I zig zagged up the steep sheltered side of this hill on my way to Whitewisp.

The atmosphere was a bit hazy today and although the views were good, I couldnt see far. Dundee and Edinburgh were lost in the haze although the Lomond Hills were clearly visible.

Eventually I had to walk on the ridge between Saddle hill and Whitewisp and the wind was mo surprise. I could hardly stand in the squalls as they created "waves" in the tussocky grass which seemed to quickly flow across the hillside. It took me several attempts to hold the camera steady to take this photo looking over to King's Seat hill.

I made the summit cairn of Whitewisp by walking at a 45% sideways angle into the wind, or at least it felt like that. I was glad I wasnt trying to battle my way to a Munro summit, especially if there were a lot of crags around the route. The top of the Ochils are almost either flat or round.

This photo is of Whitewisp cairn at 643m high, looking along the flat ridge towards Innerdownie Hill.

But first I headed due west, straight into the gale force winds, and made my way to the second "Donald" of the day. Tarmangie Hill at 645 m high. The cairn did not appear to me to be the summit so I kept going 50 yards past it, just to make sure. This shows the view looking back at the cairn and towards Innerdownie Hill in the distance.

From Tarmangie Hill, I headed straight towards Inverdownie Hill and found the going very easy as the wind was almost directly behind me now. In the middle of no where and not near any tracks or paths, I came across a fence post with some kind of "aerial" stuck to it. There were no cables or wires so I spent the next hour walking and wondering what on earth it was for ? Eventually I gave up as I have no idea at all.

I was now walking along beside the wall between Whitewisp and Innerdownie hill. Looking back to Tarmangie Hill, the clouds were starting to roll in.

It was with great difficulty, I finally managed a photo of Innerdownie Cairn. I was concerned my rucksack was going to get blown off the hill and end up in Dundee. The wind was relentless.

The hills looked lovely in the sun, photos dont capture the wind, it was bitterly cold too.

Enough is enough and I decided to drop down into Glenquey to get out the wind and have some lunch. As soon as I was out the wind it felt like it was a day in spring.

The hillside to the east of Innerdownie has been planted with broad leaf trees which makes a very welcome change from evergreens. I made my way through them on my descent to the Glenquay Reservoir

It doesnt take long to get down from the summit of a Donald and I was at the reservoir before I could think about that "aerial" thing again.

Then it was just a case of following the track through Glenquay and back to the car at Dollar. I covered around 7.5 miles and climbed around 2000ft in all. A good walk for a blustery day.

I only met one other walker on the tops too.. Peace and quiet..I love it :-D


Russell said...

Nice report and photos, Donny. I did these three just before Christmas. My walking companion had a GPS and confirmed that the Tarmangie summit is actually about 50 yards away from the cairn at the fence. However, it is only a matter of a one or two metres.

Donny Wilcox said...

Good to see you again Russell. Yup..I thought that was the case Im glad you confirmed it.

Its a Donald in the bag for me :-D