Tuesday, 4 January 2011

A New Year Hill

Hill bagging is a funny game. You slowly work your way through whatever list of hills you are bagging, and whilst reading your guidebook note in advance that some look boring. However, some day in the future, they Must Be Climbed. Why? Because they are on a list somebody made. No other reason. They wouldn't be on your own personal list if you thought in advance they might be boring.

Meall Tairneachan from Farragon Hill:


As it happens I do have a personal list of walks I fancy doing - I bet you all do - though Meall Tairneachan and Farragon Hill are not on it. These are two hills that have appealed, because they are easily accessible from the Central Belt and appalled because they look, well, a bit of effort and not especially alluring. But they are on a list someone else made - a fellow called J Rourke Corbett - and so, I suppose, were going to be visited some day. A cold, dull, day where New Year cobwebs needed to be blown off, was as good as any.

Farragon Hill from Meall Tairneachan:


Hamish Brown has a saying: 'There's no such thing as boring hills: only boring hillwalkers.' The hills are easily accessed by a track for a barytes mine and we saw a mountain hare, buzzard, some red deer and cool icicles.

Descending Meall Tairneachan:


Billy also has a phrase about boring hills, though not one to be repeated in a family blog...

On Meall Tairneachan:


As usually turns out, the hills were enjoyable just for the simple act of getting out and about in the fresh air and wilds. If they hadn't been on a list, perhaps I would have whiled the day away in the house. The company was good too: Graham from the island peaks race had already blown away his cobwebs on the Loony Dook, and Dave had blown his away the day before on Ben Ledi. But in the end, bagging these hills provided a good motivation for him to get out two days in a row. He had attempted them before from Pitlochry - 21km each way over difficult, hummocky terrain - and had had to turn back due to a time limit imposed by train timetables. Bagging is much easier with the option of using a car!

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