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Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Confessions of a TGO Chally Groupie Part Deux

me dogless with lowering dark clouds on craigowl hill

And so it came to pass that I found myself in the car park by the church in Glen Prosen. I tried at the hostel but there was no-one there, so I tried at the warden’s house and there ws no-one there either, so I hung around for a bit and then decided to go and bag a Marilyn – one Corwharn.

I followed the unmapped local core path to Coremuir farm, meeting a transatlantic TGO challenger coming the other way. We declared the path to be a bit rough. Nevertheless, for anybody heading to Glen Prosen hostel, it knocks off a mile of walking from the road route and I expect it’ll improve with use.

summit of corwharn

After Cormuir, and on the hilltrack to Glen Isla I met a lady with her little dog, whom she declared to have run out of steam. They were waiting for a chap to return from his walk higher up the track.  The pooch was 18 years old and, apparently, suffering from cancer, so we had a chat about dogs and their ailments and how they don’t live long enough.

From the summit of the road, I followed the fence to the top of Corwharn and retraced to Cormuir farm, returning to Prosen village via the road – I didn’t want another go at that rough path.

The hostel was now occupied by a couple of senior members of Forfar Mountaineering Club who were cooking a meal in support of four of their members who were on their way from Glen Shee on the Challenge. Two more TGO challengers arrived, plus the four friends from Forfar, fearfully late and a convivial whiskycentric evening was had.

couternach ridge

In the morning I determined to walk the long ridge on the North side of the Glen, from the head of the Minister’s path to Clova to the Airlie Memorial.

Despite the gloomy conditions, and the apparently heathery nature of the hills, this proved to be an easy and enjoyable walk over several tops including the Hill of Couternach,  the Craigs of Lethnot with it’s cross and The Goal before reaching the ever-so-slightly decrepit Airlie’s tower.

cross on craigs of lethnot

Just before the tower, I met a local chap nursing a baby rabbit. he had two dogs with him and one of these, a lurcher-type had , apparently failed to kill the rabbit the day before and this man had taken it home to try to nurse it back to health, apparently succeeding in getting it to eat dandelions and hop around in a rabbit sort of way. Unfortunately, on releasing the poor thing this morning, it had apparently suffered a heart attack and was now in a semi-conscious, not to say moribund condition. And he didn’t quite know what to do with it next. The proper thing to do was probably to despatch it on it’s way to it’s maker as quickly and painlessly as possible, but he couldn’t do it. I sympathised with his predicament but I didn’t mention the obvious solution to his problem. Despite, or, maybe, because of his inability to do the proper, brutal thing, I formed the opinion that the world would probably be a whole-lot better place with more people like this and went off down the hill to walk the five or six miles back to the hostel.

airlie's tower falling to bits

Here, it was the turn of more TGO challengers to arrive, one of whom I shared a mince-and-tatties meal with and the other, Judith,  a well-known Tranmere Rovers fan and blogger extraordinaire who arrived too late for the scoff. Judith’s blog is here

upper glen prosen

In the morning I headed for Kirkton of Glenisla for the bagging of two Marilyns – Hare Cairn and The Crock.  This was after briefly visiting the upper parts of Glen Prosen on the look out for Paddy Burrows who should have been around here just now. I left a message for him with a Scottish Electricity bloke in a van to “get his arse in gear” and, aparently, this was successfully delivered some time later. In Glen Isla, I only managed one Marilyn, the second one proving a problem due to forestry harvesting and me running out of time, but the Hare Cairn went well enough, apart from the huge deer fence guarding the summit.

hare cairn deer fence

During the climb I had various text interchanges with Fight Club Hike Paddy and we arranged for me to pick him up in Kirriemuir and take him to the hostel in Glen Prosen and return him to wherever I picked him up from the next morning.

from creigh hill

So I collected him, a few hours later from the first open boozer he’d found in the middle of Kirriemuir. We collected “supplies” from the co-op and there was another convivial night in the hostel – this time, more beer and cider-based than whisky. I duly returned him in the morning and went back to Glenisla for the bagging of another Marilyn – one Creigh Hill which has two summits on steep heathery stuff just above Blackwater reservoir.

This was an easy bag and as soon as I’d finished, I went off to North Water Bridge to have a go at swapping my remaining ten ..er…eight [koff] litres of Bishop’s best for donations.

north water bridge

On a hot afternoon and a cool evening, the campsite duly filled up with TGO challengers and a small coterie or band formed around the picnic table I’d balanced the beer box on – and the beer just disappeared. Several people were very generous with their scotch and other spiritual liquids… 

moncrieff hill

On the way home, I bagged Craigowl Hill, another Marilyn, in the company of a local who climbed the hill almost every day, and Moncrieff Hill, by a route provided by Alastair Pooler and in rain, followed by getting hopelessly lost on Edinburgh’s road system, due to duff road-signage at the other end of the Forth Road bridge (the sign pointing towards Edinburgh actually does go to Edinburgh – well, dhuhhh….) finally arriving home at six-ish, ten minutes before my wife or loved one and superdawg arrived.

I didn’t know it at the time, but it was then that Bruno committed what was probably his final naughty act. He stole and scoffed, in secret, the three sausages I’d bought in Kirriemuir and which I’d not eaten, but had left in my box of food. I looked everywhere for those sausages, eventually finding the empty plastic tray this morning and, putting two and two together….  I’ve decided not to mention this to the dog at the moment….

And so endeth the TGO challenge stuff. I’d originally intended just to bag the hills around Glen Prosen, but then, I thought, I could do cafe akto as well.

And now I need some new money-raising ideas.

Not much change with the dog’s condition by the way. He’s slept more or less all day, but he’s had some, just a small amount,  of the very fine lamb stew I made in the slow cooker.

 

4 comments:

Reifyn said...

That looks a grand trip. I like the way that the you mention walking 5-6 miles back to the hostel and then a pic of that wonderful tower that's sadly falling to bits. I think having that tower as a hostel would be fabulous. The turret would be filled every night of the year.
Another nice post.

Meanqueen said...

I know I couldn't dispatch anything, though common sense says sometimes it has to be done. Nice trip report, good views.

Dawn said...

Looks a fantastic time was had Mike.

Alan Sloman said...

I thoroughly enjoyed your efforts at North Water Bridge, Mike.

Thank you.

Above and beyond, Sir.
:-)