Sunday, 4 October 2009
Deil`s Cauldron, Melville Monument and Crappich Hill
It was actually supposed to be Ben Halton and Mor Bheinn above Comrie today but Alex had a niggling sore leg and I was feeling a bit deflated and flat after Saturday`s salt drenched adrenalin rush.
Also,the main reason for picking this hill,Mor Bheinn, was I remembered it included a brilliant wooded valley walk through the grounds of Aberuchill Castle last time around. Alex ,font of all knowledge,burst our bubble when he found out,via the Internet,that it was now owned by someone else that wanted said grounds strictly private.The alternative route was a possible thrash through a pine forest or bare open slopes. Being a bit weary today neither appealed to us much.
Disappointment smothered us as we wanted to capture woodland splendour before it fell off the trees for another long winter.
So, for a change Alex was underwhelmed about bagging this new trig topped summit,nice though it looked under perfect blue skies.
This being the case our fate was sealed as soon as we drove down the main street towards the free car park beside the river.
There was a slim grey spire soaring above the main street holding all my attention.
"Oh look Alex".I exclaimed,"It`s a Monument!"
"Ah crap!" This from Alex as he knew what was coming next.You might as well present a bare neck to a vampire and expect a haircut and shave.
It was a lovely slim thing of beauty and I`d been denied two already on previous outings to do shabby little trigs.I would not be denied this time.
His apathy for Mor Bheinn and my unstoppable urge for monument bagging planned our day ahead.
We set off up the street and at its end entered Laggan woods on the way to the Deil`s Cauldron waterfall.
with only a token resistance.It proved a nice walk up a steep little gorge to the falls.
That done we headed for the main prize.My Monument.Soon we came out on the minor road and a decision had to be made.We could faff about looking for the path to the summit and might walk the wrong way up the road or we could attack it full frontal ,going straight up through small rock bands and terraces of vegetation.
I was all for the bold approach and with Alex still lacklustre of positive emotion I took that as a yes vote and burst through the first layer of undergrowth with gusto.
We headed upwards, thrashing mightily past head high bracken to surmount small cliffs using trees as handy climbing frames.All that was missing to make it monument heaven for me was my trusty bike strapped to my back.
We came upon a lovely grassy bald,a sun drenched dome of rock standing proud of the forest where I waited for Alex to catch up.
" This is brilliant" I shouted." If we`d went up the normal path we`d never have found this gem."
Its crap Bob! This from Alex ,unimpressed by the effort involved to navigate the lush slopes below."I need a trig. There`s no motivation for me in this stuff!"
"Bollocks ! Your just a lazy git.This is great fun."
"No it`s not. Its a nightmare."
I left his negative vibes behind and powered hand over hand up the overhanging carpet of heather above me to reach the summit.
Alex followed muttering darkly .Even the sight of two attractive female sunbathers failed to perk him up as he flopped down on the top and munched a pallid looking slice of squashed donkey paste from some dubious bargain bin outlet without looking up.
"We should have went up Mor Beinn." he said sadly, truth hitting him that he'd missed his chance through his own apathy.
I was feeling guilty now I`d bagged my prize and the fever of monument madness was subsiding.
"O.K. How about doing Crappich Hill then.It looks quite rocky and its just uphill from here."
Alex looked at the map with distaste."There`s no trig.It`s not on any of my lists.I need to get my quota every month to feel happy"
"Yeah, but we`re here now."
We strolled up what was a perfectly good little hill but Alex`s heart just wasn't it it. Funny that, the same hill with a wee concrete triangle he'd be bounding up it in the lead.
Not many people went up this fine hill.A very faint path up boisterous feet tripping heather led over numerous bumps. It was a rare autumn day.
For such a small mountain it had a surprisingly large number of false summits!
This was too much for Alex .He refused to go any further.
"It`s well named. I`ll give it that. You`ll be writing the blog then this week.I couldn't do this fine hill justice!"
I detected a touch of irony here.
Undeterred I slogged on over another bump to claim my prize- a view of the Glen Lednock dam and surrounding hills.
I returned leg weary to find him chewing grimly on what was left of his squashed donkey."Want one ? I`ve got an extra one here ... " His face wasn't selling it as a savoury item of food product so I declined.Cheap wasn't always cheerful it would seem in this instance.
We headed downhill both of us resolved to do better next time.Ah well,can`t always be brilliant.