Every April or May Team Butler (Anne, Bill, Meg or Molly) would go away on our spring holiday to Scotland. This used to involve a two day drive to reach our eventual destination when we lived in Devon, but now, following our move to Aviemore everything had become significantly closer.
Our 2009 spring holiday was unashamedly a hill bagging trip and we returned home footsore and weather beaten. Bill has decided that next year I will be allowed to drive him round on a week long distillery bagging trip.
I think not.
For the first week of our trip we were staying in a cottage in Achriesgill in the north of Sutherland with the beautiful beach at Oldshoremore Bay just down the road. The field next door to the cottage was full of new born lambs which didn’t go down too well with Molly, the world’s most useless Border Collie. She is scared of sheep.
Brown Cow Hill – 829m 9th January 2009 Distance: 8 ¼ miles Ascent: 500m Time taken: 5 hours Weather: Dry and sunny with strong winds Two Feet Four Paws: Anne, Bill and Molly
Big round grassy hills often get a bad press, especially for those who like their mountains pointy. But this big sky country with an endless sense of space and freedom. This is definitely a hill to leave until the ground is frozen or snow covered unless you have a particular fetish for peat hags.
We parked at Corgarff Castle after the rollercoaster drive over the Lecht from Tomintoul. Corgarff is on the legendary Tomintoul to Cockbridge road, its closure always heralding the arrival of the first snows of winter.
The track up past the castle had a good covering of crunchy snow which made for quick and easy progress. The track passes a small area of forest and doesn’t go through a large plantation as indicated on the OS map.
Beinn Each – 813m Hill classification: Corbett 17th October 2008 Distance: 4.5 miles Ascent: 700m (approx) Time taken: 4 hours Weather: Dry, warm and cloudy Two Feet Four Paws: Anne and Molly
I had been suffering from a horrid virus for the last couple of weeks so rather than stay at home feeling hot, sweaty and sorry for myself I thought I should go and climb up a hill and get hot, sweaty and probably very wet. Having a quiet day on the sofa with Molly around is not an option. I needed something short and sweet and Beinn Each fitted the bill perfectly, it wasn’t too far to drive, didn’t have too much ascent and was a short day out.
I have to admit, I pleasantly surprised with this walk. The majority of Corbett’s involve a degree of bog trotting, bush whacking and tussock hopping. However, this hill proved a pleasant surprise as there is a path all the way from car to summit. A real treat for those who are not navigationally gifted.
There was plenty of parking in a lay-by on the A84 by a Scottish Rights of Way Society signpost. The walk started up a tarmac driveway to a shed where a large footpath sign directed us uphill through deciduous trees beside a fence to a small gate.
Beinn Trilleachan – 840m Hill classification: Corbett 14th October 2008 Distance: 5.5 miles Ascent: 1, 070m Time taken: 5 hours Weather: Dry and warm Two Feet Four Paws: Anne and Molly
We left Helensburgh in the dark and completed the caravan crawl up Loch Lomondside accompanied by the rising sun and tantalising glimpses of clearing skies. However, it was all change at Auch – low cloud and drizzle, but ever the optimist I hoped it would clear by Glen Etive. It didn’t. We arrived at the head of Loch Etive after the two hour drive raring to go. The car park at Gualachulain was closed as there was major forestry clearance taking place but there were still plenty of places to park along the roadside near the edge of the forest.