Monday, 30 September 2013

A Walk In Glen Artney. Beinn Dearg Horseshoe.

Map. OS Sheet 57. Stirling and the Trossachs.
Four of us headed off from Glasgow to the wilds of Glen Artney to do the Beinn Dearg horseshoe. It's a Graham that lies in the wild lands between Crieff and the well known Munros of Stuc a Chroin and Ben Vorlich. I had not explored Glen Artney before and had no expectations of great scenery lurking in its depths but in its own fashion it's a highly enjoyable and scenic day out. A wild one though with few paths.
Straight out the car I spotted this buzzard landing in a nearby tree. A good omen.
This is the horseshoe we intended to do from the left spur to the summit on the right. Myself, Alex, Graeme and David. It turned out to be a longer day than intended and was hard going in places through knee deep summer grass and vegetation.

We parked in the ample car park marked on the OS map near the head of this very scenic glen then crossed the lovely Water of Ruchill via the minor road past Dalchruin then turned down left through a gate just before the large farm which took us over a bridge across this river. This stretch was a beautiful and unexpected treat.

From here we followed a land rover track up towards Dalclathick where it petered out, then we took to the open hillsides just above this spot where this photograph was taken. From this point onwards the walk was completely pathless but fairly easy to follow through long grass and vegetation. South facing and warmed by a golden autumnal sun these slopes were alive with flies, bugs, butterflies and reptiles. A wildlife treasure of a hill.
Halfway up we discovered two large adders sunbathing in the grass. This one was easily the biggest I've seen yet and was obviously enjoying this great summer of 2013. As it didn't appear threatened by our arrival I had bags of time to bend down to take this photograph. Adders aren't aggressive snakes and will only bite if stepped on or if they are handled or cornered but I maintained a respectful distance just the same, alert for any change in its behaviour.
A chirping cricket. Prey item for young snakes. There were loads of these around as well. Not so welcome was the usual summer gauntlet of clegs, biting flies and midges but you cant have one without the other I suppose. I'll miss their tiny kisses of blood when they are gone for the winter :0) It was not too bad a way up with plenty of interesting activity underfoot.
Higher up the grass was much shorter and the impressive array of surrounding peaks captured our attention instead.
Beinn Odhar, Uamh Bheag and Meall Odhar all looked wild and untamed encircling the head of the glen. The vanes of a wind farm could just be seen peeping up on the other side of the col between these first two peaks but thankfully they do not feel that intrusive. Hopefully Glen Artney will stay the remote and tranquil glen that it is. In some ways it's good to get better known because if it's threatened with development more people that love the wild places can fight its corner. It already has a large out of bounds 'Danger Area' cordoned off around Ben Clach at the start of the glen but this doesn't affect the area from a scenic point of view the same as the drastic 'right in your face' impact of a wind farm.
If it's a local project benefitting the community around it I'm all for a few turbines but too many wild areas have already been lost to this creeping blanket menace while the same rich profit hunters that attempted to cover the flow country in commercial pine forests as a tax dodge a couple of decades ago yet again hide under the green eco banner pretending it's an environmental solution. It's all just spin and greed dressed up in a new costume with the same old purring fat cats beneath. . tp://
In twenty years time will the ordinary punters yet again be expected to remove these eyesores, like the conifers before them.
 A view of Stuc a Chroin and Ben Vorlich from the Beinn Dearg Horseshoe.

The wild lands around the summit ridge.

A zoom to the summit of Ben Vorlich.

A small moth that jumped out the grass onto my hand. A great walk in an area alive with nature.
When I got back to my house I discovered this fox asleep in my garden. 
This fox was probably sleeping because it had gobbled up most of the young frogs that had been happily hopping around the garden until its arrival. 


Neil said...

Its a great area that Bob. One of the best bits of Scotland for seeing adders. Got to watch your feet though. I almost stood on one in the middle of the path on one visit.

blueskyscotland said...

I was very impressed with the area Neil.

The Glebe Blog said...

Looks like you got a good day for it Bob. Well done with all the wildlife pictures, I'm impressed.

My sentiments exactly on the creeping menace of wind turbines. I was once an advocate of them, but when local objections are being ignored on almost every occasion then it's really time the Scottish government were called to account. The folks up in the Doon Valley are up in arms over a new application for 50 x 150 metre high turbines in South Kyle between Dalmellington and New Cumnock. This is the most deprived area of the country now they've closed all the coal mines. All they can hope for is tourists. Fat chance of that if this goes ahead.

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Jim,
I'm concerned with the UK as a whole at the moment. Every time I watch the news or see the television it's to find this current government putting the boot into the poor yet again while rewarding the rich. According to them the poor caused this global downturn and have to be punished accordingly. It's like Robin Hood in reverse despite increasing evidence from teachers UK wide that increasing numbers of pupils are turning up hungry and poorly dressed for school. Food banks are now a familiar sight in nearly every town and city in Britain yet benefits are still being cut while the multi million pound bonus culture in the city of London is back like it's never been away.
I don't agree with anyone claiming benefits if they are not entitled to them or are cheating the system but many people out there have lost their jobs through no fault of their own and are struggling to find a new one. Others are on buttons thanks to zero hours contracts which is an ever-growing trend.
I normally have no interest in politics or politicians as I think they are all a bunch of self serving individuals nowadays, out of touch with ordinary people, hooked on there on fixed agendas.
There is something about this lot though that push my buttons. It's like watching a school bully pick on someone twice their size repeatedly, punching them just because they can, and I never liked that either.
It's just like being back in the 1980s under Thatcher with the exact same ideas though even she didn't have the unemployed working full time for no wages. Great idea. That will soon have Britain back on it's feet again.
Rant over and out.

Carol said...

Fancy finding a fox asleep in your garden! Is it one of those 'town foxes' we have nowadays? Did you feed it, shoo it away or leave it to it?

I wish I'd seen an adder this year - I was hoping to in the very short sunny spell we had but no luck :-(

I'd like to see Glen Artney sometime but am more likely to re-visit Vorlich and Stuc a' Chroin that way rather than start on the Grahams I think!

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol,
I always leave nature alone apart from a photograph. I don't have a hen house and the fox keeps the cats away as they pee in my garden all the time when it's not there. I don't believe in feeding foxes in urban areas though I do feed small birds and they probably feed the fox instead.