Tag Archives: Ordnance Survey

Mr Mhor Does A Fell Or Two Pt 2

It was time to head down from the Scafell Pike summit area as the cold wind which accompanied the rain and lastly the hailstones could return.

As we set off from the trig point, another horizontal hailstorm hit us straight on and this one was ‘stingy’ to say the least. Luckily it never lasted long and it was time to pick our way down through the rock strewn hillside, cairns are built at roughly 25m distances which are I imagine very handy in poor visibility. The path in places is broken but due to repaired sections  it makes descent easy and especially as you pass Brown Tongue where a stepped path was built. We soon exited the rough top section finding ourself on a good path which then zigzags down towards the Hollow Stone area.

It was time to make our way across this rocky area with a distinct path passing through and we decided to head down Brown Tongue and slowly we made time walking down what in places was a steepish grass ridge. Roddy had called me and pointed out a dismantled wooden hut lying piled up and one side being used as a ‘bridge’ across the nearby gill.

View N from Buttermere Moss

View N from Buttermere Moss

At our crossing point, it was time for a break and a last look back at what had been a day to remember. A Toffee Crisp and a swig or two of water then it was off back to our pick up and Patsy UPG waiting on us at the expensive car park. Looking towards Wasdale Head I saw a heavy shower quickly heading down our way, Patsy had noticed this and headed to the road end where we made the Discovery just in time.

On the drive back to Cockermouth, a reflection on the day spent ascending England’s highest top left a satisfying feeling, anything else this week would be an anti-climax but I was looking forward to our other intentions which included my favourite view in all of Lakeland, more on this later.

It was time to get the dirt and cold of the day washed out and after a preening session, it was a ‘where are we eating tonight ?’ and after a long day, we decided locally.

SOTA Activation of Dale Head G/LD 020 and Robinson G/LD 021 on 19/09/2012

SOTA Activation of Dale Head G/LD 020 and Robinson G/LD 021 on 19/09/2012

After finding a parking place, we headed towards the town centre and Roddy and Patsy got talking to a couple of locals who recommended the Tithe Barn and it was off to find it. A look at the menu plus a cold pint of cider ready to be devoured, the food arrived and this did not disappoint, excellent scran and we headed back the next two evenings as well. The Steak and Ale pie was excellent, give it a try if in the area.

Dale Head valley

Dale Head valley

A pow wow was had later that night when we returned to our ‘base’ and we decided that next day, we would attempt a ‘dual’ activation but with a twist, Roddy would get dropped off at Newlands Hause and ascend Robinson and I would be dropped at the top of Honister Pass and ascend an old favourite, Dale Head. Both hills have an ascent of just over 1,400 ft and Dale Head was straight up with no relief and as I headed up, the odd shower passed over and as I had a quick drink of water, I was joined on the ascent by another lone walker, this made the ascent more enjoyable as the main topic was local walking in the immediate area.

The summit with its distinct cairn was soon in sight and I said goodbye to the woman I had made the ascent with. I made contact with Roddy who was about to walk along the last ridge to Robinson’s summit cairn, at this point I was almost caught in a  downpour.

I took shelter hiding (yes, me!) behind the tall cairn and enjoyed a scran break. A couple appeared and started talking to me and the bloke started pointing out something about me and I thought..mmmmm? It transpired my Morton tammie made him laugh as he was originally a Greenockian and still followed the teams fortune from way down south.

The rain moved away as quick as it appeared and I got busy setting up the 4m JPole but first making the STS with Roddy. I made contact with Colin UXH and Sue OHH.

I then called out on 4m FM and instantly Geoff WHA from Penrith was in the log followed by Patsy UPG who had based himself in the valley below took a break from working HF to talk to me. Next was Clive FZH from the Isle of Whithorn across the border in Scotland. Colin UXH had called in this time on 4m before my last contact for this hill, John TDM in Penrith nipped in to grab the points. The weather by this time was starting to become showery as I packed everything away and I called Roddy who was just about to do the same.

Misty and rain heading my way

Misty and rain heading my way

I headed west along and dropped down Hindscarth Edge mulling over whether I should nip on to Hindscarth to activate the WOTA hill but I thought if the weather was going to come in that a quick activation of Robinson could be in order. Heading slowly down what was a good descent path and as I made my way past the path to Hindscarth,  clouds came scuttling up from Honister Pass.

I carried descending Littledale Edge. I met Roddy on the level section of this ridge and soon I left him to ascend and walk along the hilltop until I reached Robinson’s summit cairn. This was exposed to the weather which I could see racing this way so I huddled down behind the cairn.

I made contact with Roddy first and said I was thinking of working whoever I could then heading down to meet them at Newlands Hause.

As on Dale Head, I worked Colin UXH and Sue OHH before I headed to 4m FM. The aforementioned Colin called in and as on the earlier hill, Geoff WHA and John TDM called me from Penrith. Final contact was with Derek MIX whom I have spoken with from earlier activations, most notable was a STS from Ben Lawers to nearby Pillar which was hidden in the clouds to mejust to the SW of me. I called a few more times and had no come back.

I contacted Roddy and he was ready to head down and get picked up by Patsy and then head for me. I packed everything away but as this was a handheld only activation, it never took me long. I followed the path back off the summit and headed to find the path down towards what I was warned was a wet and boggy Buttermere Moss and even though I found the path through the moss, I found Roddy’s warning was correct…boggy !

Buttermere and Crummock Water

Buttermere and Crummock Water

The soggy underfoot conditions disappeared as I crossed High Snockrig  I followed the path until I could see Knott Rigg which was my mental guide, a steep descent found me waiting at the car park for my lift, I had come off the hill in what was fast for me and later I got picked up. The lads had not reckoned on me being so fast and had wandered into the Honister Slate Mine whilst the auld bloke got battered by wind and rain (dramatic effect). I had spoken with a cyclist who had climbed non stop up from Buttermere and I think his pal was swearing under his breath as he topped the hill.

Another day on the hills and with Scafell Pike done the previous day I had managed without any comeback a double activation, a first for me.

Back to base and after a hot shower and a change of threads, a decision made to head back to last evenings venue.

It was excellent and more cold cider to celebrate.

Thursday was looking looking poor weather wise so a day off…

Useless information…

Scafell Pike…originally one of the ‘Fells of Sca Fell‘ and was erroneously named on an Ordnance Survey map as Scafell Pike and we assume Wordsworth never ‘climbed’ it as no visitor centre on top (tongue in cheek, folks) although his sister Dorothy did !

Dale Head ? obvious if you look at the map

Hindscarth…’pass used by the red deer’

Robinson…allegedly named after a Richard Robinson who bought lands in the Buttermere area centuries ago.

More to follow…..

Boy ! I’m really kicking the erse out of this, please vow you displeasure below.

My thanks to all those sites I have linked to…a full thanks on the final post.

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A day out on the tracks

Low cloud and smirr isn’t a good start to the day but plans had been laid the previous evening to head into what is literally the middle of nowhere in the south part of the Muirsheil park area. Roddy 2MØIOB and myself had spoken of ‘exploring’ the area to the west and south of Hardridge Hill which lies 6 Km W of the town of Kilmacolm.

Roddy arrived and off we headed through country roads until we came across our first stop, the dark ruins of Duchal Castle.

Duchal Castle east wall

Duchal Castle east wall

The castle was built  at the junction of the Green Water and Blacketty Water, the ruins are at NS 334685. I have never visited the ruins and was pleasantly surprised to find there are still part of the ramparts standing, this castle was built with walls which must be approx 3ft thick in parts. The area is slowly being overgrown by trees but is well worth a visit during the day as there is mention of a ghostly monk and he is reputed to be an evil spirit who roams the castle area. Interesting part is that the ‘monk’ originally haunted Paisley Abbey and then made his way to haunt the ‘House of Duchal’.

The castle itself was built in the 13th century by Ralph l’Isle ( later Lyle) who had Norman connections.

The most famous incident at the castle took place in mid 1489 when King James the 1st laid siege to the castle and is reputed to have hauled the famous ‘Mons Meg‘ cannon to lay siege to the castle and reputedly on sight of this formidable piece of weaponry, the castle inhabitants surrendered. A second large cannon was ‘fired’ and was later renamed  ‘Duchal’.  A quick look on the NE side wall shows a ‘garderobe’, this feature was possibly either a medieval toilet or rubbish chute.

An atmospheric place to visit on a grey, misty day and of course a wandering spirit to meet although he is thought to have disappeared after a fatal tussle with one of the Lyle family.

Grouse Railway shed

Grouse Railway shed

Leaving the castle ruins, we headed to park up not too far from the tarmac single track road (we parked at the side of the road at NS 330682) which would lead us up to join the moorland track to lead us to the Grouse Railway and the track then heads westwards and leads out towards the base of Knockdal Ring and Laird’s Seat. This moorland has the Grouse Railway crossing it in many places.

Heading up the ‘Hardridge’ single track road, we passed through a gate which opens up on to open countryside occupied initially by ‘heilan coos’, the track rises steadily upwards and over to our left is the original engine shed of the Grouse Railway.

The Roddy fella

The Roddy fella

Roddy led us through deep mud as the local cattle have their feeding bay in the lee of the Engine Shed, the first track leads away towards Hardridge Hill and I stood on the remains of what seemed to be a platform. Tracks also headed west and as the OS map shows the moor is criss-crossed by tracks as we were to find out further out.

It was time to head out the track which was to lead us to a dead-end/turning point three miles further out, the track is in good condition with the occasional wet muddy area but is easily passable. This track shows on the 2010 OS map but not on any earlier edition.

Each sighting of the railway looked at and at NS 302675, a side track heads southwards towards the Muirsheil Mine track which in turn takes you to the Ranger Centre. The track we were to use was built to accommodate the transport of materials for the building of the railway although if baryte mining did take place in earlier times at Lairds Seat, a track may have previously existed.

Track over Blacketty Water

Track over Blacketty Water

Just next to the junction of tracks is a good example of a bridge crossing the burn and later on our return we looked at the north side of the track which has railway points etc. Occasionally on the moor a single stake would show the remains of a grouse butt. One mile on, the track ends in what is a turning area from which we headed towards a high spot to the west across knee-deep heather and a very wet mossy underfoot.

A quick look around from this hillock and a decision to head back to the turning area to enjoy some scran if the weather came in, this area is featureless and care must be taking if going off track. Just before we arrived at the end of the track, we heard and worked Bob AWV who was activating Cairn Table to the south of us in Ayrshire. Roddy later called out on fellow club member Brian who was in Howwood. Time to head back the three plus miles back to Roddy’s Land Rover literally it was all downhill from here.

We had a further look at the rail tracks we spotted and a couple of points systems still intact. It was not long before we headed across the wet and mossy rise to Hardridge Hill and its trig point, a look at the local landmarks which were visible but due to the grey misty and cloudy day, the further views were hidden so a return on a sunny day will have to be made. I did call out on both 4m and 2m FM but the usual response on a Sat afternoon, nothing. Heading back to the track and having a last look at the engine shed, we closed the last gate and headed down the tarmac road to the Discovery.

Further on to my mention of royalty visiting(or sorting out the locals) at Duchal Castle, I must add that King Edward VIII also graced the railway and no doubt more than a brace or two was flown in his royal direction. Thanks to my sidekick, Roddy for reminding me of this occasion.

A trip worth repeating on a better weather day.

Thanks to Roddy for transport and having to listen to me for an afternoon.

Yer man at Hardridge trig point

Yer man at Hardridge trig point

Further References..  

to Duchal Castle HERE

to the Duchal Grouse Railway HERE   (other links to same in article)

The bridge shown and the triangulation junction( N side of track) is at NS 301675

‘Duchal’ is translated in a few ways, first is ‘the black stream’ (reference to the Blacketty water) and from the gaelic word ‘dubh’ meaning black and as ‘between two rivers’. they all seem to fit.

Thanks go to Roddy for use of his images in this blog piece also again to Wikipedia and other information sources.

Please feel free to click on any image, the main blog post images will open to full size and the small thumbnails at the foot of the post will open up a ‘Gallery’. If you right click on the thumbnails, some browsers will allow you to ‘open in a new tab’, this will give you the full sized image.

The panorama from Hardridge Trig Point was taken when the day had brightened up and yes, it was windy.

 

‘Go West,Young Mhor’……so I did

An Ice day to go for a walk..

Blue skies, freezing temperatures and one GM activation alerted for…

It was time to decide where to walk this time.. ‘Go West, young Mhor’ was the plan.

Leaving home I headed down sheer icy pavements plus the road wasn’t much better until about 600m from home  I joined the cycle track at NS 323740 as expected the track wasn’t much better but I crunched westwards along towards Greenock, I had been working in the immediate area the previous day but no icy conditions just soft snow.

Signpost

Signpost

I walked along the tree lined path when all of a sudden a roe deer showed itself, its white rump patch showing as it bounded up the steep hillside at an amazing speed, sadly faster than I could get the camera phone out. It was above what is known locally as the ‘public park ‘ and the track I was walking was once the a branch of the ‘Greenock and Ayrshire Railway‘ .

This line was a most important rail supply link during the second world war and the area I was presently walking through was where they ‘allegedly’ sat the trains which were carrying some of this countries ‘valuables’ to a safe haven in Canada during daylight hours and moved them to unload during periods of darkness. Armed guards were posted along both sides of the train. Greenock and the Firth of Clyde was a most important deep water anchorage plus as the shortest sea route across the Atlantic to North America was important. Many a GI and Canadian Forces soldier passed along this track on their way to their placements.

I left the track and followed the path which then rejoins the old track at Devol Glen which once was spanned with a majestic red sandstone 480 ft long nine arch viaduct, it stood 100ft high above the Devol Burn. I remember walking across this after the railway closed but sadly the Army demolished this local landmark in 1970.  It was built by Sir William Arrol. Arrol worked on some of the country’s most famous structures including the rebuilding of the Tay Bridge, The Forth Rail Bridge and London’s Tower Bridge, lofty company for this red sandstone viaduct.

You can still see the remains of some of the red sandstone support bases.

Viaduct pillar base

Viaduct pillar base

Rising back up to the upper level was rather tricky due to an icy path but once on the level, I headed and as I looked northwards, excellent views of the Luss and north Cowal Hills began to show, the snow covered tops and some cloud clinging to the odd summit. I walked along behind housing schemes until I came to a small bridge where as a young ‘un I used to walk under to a flooded area to catch newts and take frog spawn home, this area was filled in in the 70s and 80s as a local landfill site. It is on the OS map as ‘Woodhead Quarries’ but we knew them as ‘the Puddocks’.

Within minutes I came across a local park area where soon I would leave and head upwards along local roads to meet what is locally known as the ‘Killie Rd’, the B788.

I reached the road after a short steep walk up icy pavements. A quick break for water then off turning uphill and east and now heading for home. The views now were spread out to the west and north. I could see Iain WJZ’s intended activation hill Ben Lomond which at this time had a cloud clung to its west flank. I continued up the roadside until there was no path and walked carefully on the road listening for traffic.

I reached the parking viewpoint at NS 307738 and another quick water break and some photos. A northerly breeze was blowing so I warmed up by heading not over the Dougliehill Rd which was my original intention but heading south on the B788, a few cars passed but the road although well gritted it was relatively quiet, I was bathed in sunshine now and started to feel the heat. I knew that I can pick up 500mw PMR traffic from the Rhu area in the lee of the hill that I should pick up a signal from Lomond with no problem..Passing the Devol Moor sub station, a car stopped and I was offered a lift and if I had known the state of the side road ahead, I may have accepted. I headed downhill and turned into what is one of the back roads which can take you to Kilmacolm.

Final approach to the summit of Lomond © Iain MM3WJZ

Final approach to the summit of Lomond © Iain MM3WJZ

The road was a sheet of ice almost the whole way to my next turn off . I turned left into the Green Rd (also known as Devol Rd), I had walked on a snowy verge until welcome relief on to a icy but crispy snowy track to head up and over the hill and as I reached the top of the track, Ben Lomond stood covered in white. I quickly dropped down the track to the golf clubhouse area where I eventually slipped on my posterior luckily on a flat section, I had just picked myself up and then heard Iain WJZ calling CQ. I quickly I headed to the nearby car park area which has been handy for working SOTA contacts in the past.

I waited as Iain worked all the QRO stations before I called in with my 2 watts, I had heard Iain telling Roddy IOB that he had ascended by the Ptarmigan Ridge and had been caught waist deep in drifts, my route and icy problems were nothing to this. I said goodbye to Iain and headed down a very icy car park then down a side road to home.

A cuppa and a hot bath was needed.

Just under 7 and a half miles so a relative longish walk under terrible underfoot conditions. I think it may be enough for the weekend but there again, who knows.

The summit of Ben Lomond © Iain MM3WJZ

The summit of Ben Lomond © Iain MM3WJZ

I did head out on Sunday.

Neil 2MØNCM had declared for Corse Hill so off I tramped up the local Trig point to ‘catch’ and as a bonus I caught Jack COX who was on top of Tinto.

I couldn’t resist the walk to the south end of the Green Rd and back, I made the mistake of heading along the fields where it may have been icy but in places, they were a mudbath. I sensibly used the track on my way back just going on to the golf course to avoid the icy section I slipped on the previous day.

My thanks goes to Iain MM3WJZ who generously supplied me with some images of his day on Ben Lomond. Copyright of these images is that of Iain. Another two images are included in the Gallery…

Further Interest…

The plaque at the Devol Glen Bridge

“The plaque reads:

“NINE ARCHES TO NONE ARCHES

In 1870 the Greenock Merchants built this railway, with this viaduct of nine
semi-circular arches 480 feet (146m) long and over 100 feet (30m) above
the Devol Burn.

The railway closed in 1966 and on 31 October 1970 102 Sqdn(RE) blew the
viaduct up. The debris remains on the site to this day.

In 1979, the Lithgow Y.O.P. team built a simple footbridge in the Glen below
and on 22 December 1993 the last planks were laid across the 80ft (24m) Bailey
Bridge by Sustrans four-man team.

Plaque dedicated by Sir Simpson Stevenson 27 May 1994.”

For a photo of the Nine Arches viaduct the best I can find is on this forum thread HERE

Newspaper clipping of the demolition HERE

Geograph Article on the old railway line ( Port Glasgow section) HERE

Found this online…

Devol's Glen, a ravine, traversed by a brook, in Green-
ock and Port Glasgow parishes, Renfrewshire. Com-
mencing among hills 794 and 682 feet high, and descend-
ing 2J miles north-eastward to the E end of Port
Glasgow town, it is rocky, wooded, and romantic. It
is flanked, near the head, by a precipice, called Wallace's
Leap, over which Sir William Wallace is fabled to have
leaped on horseback; and it contains two beautiful
though tiny waterfalls, respectively about 20 feet and
about 100 feet in leap.

The word ‘Devol’ ( originally Davol) derives from the Gaelic word ‘Diabhoul’ which means ‘the evil one’

Scottish region of Sustrans Cycle Network

Side Hill, The Pap and The Hill With No Name

I was heading out for a local walk and knowing that some SOTA alerts for GM land were posted I thought I better take in some high points on the route.

I left home and headed towards the cycle track to the east of me and then headed east towards Kilmacolm and just after 2.5 ml from home, I headed down what is called Netherwood Rd, I passed over the River Gryfe which is more really a stream at this point and at the road t-junction, I headed left instead of my normal right, I was looking for access to get to the Side Hill trig point and found good access at NS 340697. There are two gates next to each other, I found out after I got into the field and climbed over some barbed wire that I should have taken the east gate, in my defence I just hadn’t seen it until I was in the field.

Kilmacolm from trig point

Kilmacolm from trig point

I headed up a short but steep grassy field and then doubled back to the junction of two drystane dykes and then climb over an awkward wire fence. I started out in the direction I thought the trig point would be plus the ground was pitted where the cattle had been but I arrived at the trig in no time at all. Ordnance Survey and TP UK use ‘Side Hill‘ as the name for this trig point, I googled this and found no local mention of the name but for the blog post we will use the OS name which is funnily not mentioned on the map either….

Update : Roddy 2MØIOB has mailed me with a probable reason for ‘Side Hill’, there are 4 or 5 farms on either side of this ridge with have in their name the word ‘side’ or in one case ‘syde’

I took a few photos at the trig point before having a quick check of the SOTA website then I decided to head for the middle hill for a break but I found the underfoot conditions very soggy and had to make a few diversions to avoid swampy areas. Each drystane dyke I had to pass had a wire fence at the other side and with a little difficulty I eventually reached the ‘Pap of Kilmacolm’ NS 331696 as I have now christened this middle top. This top has a cracking cairn which puts some higher hills to shame, I had just put my rukkie down and I heard a CQ SOTA call and I recognised the voice it was Craig HCF, he then working a station in the Kirkintilloch area whom was strong to me. I called in and made the contact to Scald Law in the Pentland Hills, I never stayed long as Craig was intending to do some other hills so I packed my rukkie and off I headed and had my radio on watch.

Hill Of Stake From The Pap

Hill Of Stake From The Pap

I received word from Neil NCM who said he would be active in the next 15 mins so I headed to what I found later to be the highest of the three tops  at NS 325702. I had a quick word with Roddy 2MØIOB who was on the Greenock Cut then it was back to try work into the Galloway hills, I could hear Neil very weakly on occasion but sadly no contact made, I had only the 2 watt handie with me connected it to the IOB 2 element beam. I could see the rain sweeping my way from Cruech Hill so it was time to head off this hill to a nearby familiar bit of road which I had been on the previous day, climbing the gate at NS 322704 carefully. It was down past Mathernock Bridge then left at the farm until it was time to head over the Green Road towards the golf course and home. I reached the southernmost end of the golf course and could weakly hear Iain WJZ who was on Sgiath Chuil, I hurried up the rise to get to the top of the hill but no joy, Iain had gone. The OS map says a rise of only 13m, I thought a miscalculation but on checking the GPS this is correct although it feels and looks more..

Whilst heading down the track towards home , I heard fellow PARC member Brian HMZ  parked on a high spot to the south-east of me, I had a quick chat then headed home, muddy, wet and weary. I think this tramping about on muddy wet hilltops is best left for the summer months.

We have SOTA (Summits On The Air), WOTA (Wainwrights On The Air), CASHOTA (Castles On The Air) and many others so why not TPOTA or TOTA (Trig Points On The Air)…done in the same style as the WOTA system, one contact would be all that is needed…

I have started ‘bagging’ trig points although not in my usual fanatical way but as an aside to everything, if it is nearby I’ll nip up and bag it. This one was bugging me as I pass nearby on a regular basis.

Two chaser points collected but a satisfying day nonetheless plus to work three fellow club members.

The gate you should head through HERE

The gate you should leave at HERE

PS… it is a flattish area the hills mentioned are amongst the highest spots on what could be probably described as a extended plateau.

Since I wrote this I have seen an online reference to the Balrossie Ridge..mind you ‘Aonach Kilmacush’ kinda rings better..