Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Dumyat 418 metres. The Ochil Hills. Stirling Views. Ravens.

                                                 ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN

Just back after a wee holiday with my favourite flirty female, 'Belle.' Enjoyed it immensely and didn't miss the blog at all- a sign that there is a world away from computers and a life lived online.
Anyway, back to boy's stuff now. This is a day trip from a few weeks ago when overnight temperatures fell to minus ten degrees but it was dry and sunny during the daytime. This is frost on the windscreen- inside the car. Takes me right back to my bedroom in Pollok in the 1950s before central heating appeared in council homes when many bedrooms in winter looked like this. We did have a coal fire but only in the living room at the other end of the house and if you left a glass of water on the bedroom window sill overnight it would have a thin film of ice on it by morning during a severe winter. Always loved that effect... but not the freezing cold indoors. It was metal framed windows and single panes of glass coupled with severe condensation problems inside due to cheap  building materials at the lowest possible cost when most European cities were tight for cash after the Second World War.
Dumyat, 418 metres, just to the east of Stirling was our destination. This rocky and steep little peak, sitting directly above Stirling University campus, may be one of the smaller summits in the Ochil Hills range but what it lacks in height it makes up for in character and attitude. Alan had never walked anywhere in the Ochils before and I was more than happy to go back to this fine range of hills as they are delightful.  Frozen bramble leaves above. Alan's dog was with us as usual.
Ben Lomond from Dumyat. We parked in the free car park under Dumyat, just east of the former goat milk spa village of Blairlogie- a novelty tourist resort in the Victorian era and still thriving today... only minus the goats and the milk.
After a steep climb up a wooded gorge we came to a faint trail branching off the main path. I found this route years ago and it's still a cracker today. Whereas most folk head up the gorge to a easy level section then an uninspiring ascent to the summit slopes this path trends right at the first opportunity, weaving a cunning line between vertical cliffs on the steep front face. It's not that exposed and it's really just an airy walk or balcony trail with little in the way of scrambling but it is highly enjoyable with magnificent views over the flat flood plain stretching out into the distance, dotted with little towns and villages. Not a place to have a stumble though and care should be taken on this sheep trail that you follow as it is very narrow in places with steep drops below.
After half a kilometer or so of pleasant sideways travel across the front face, skirting between the cliffs, an obvious opportunity arises to follow several easy grass gullies to the upper tier, avoiding any scrambling or vertical walls and staying on the grass. By now you have left the path behind but just keep weaving upwards until you reach a higher level of flat ground. From here the summit should be visible on a clear day and it's a simple broad track now (the normal tourist route) to the top.
As this is the rockiest peak in the Ochil range with steep cliffs all along its southern flank we were treated to close up views of the local ravens.
 Beautiful birds and like all the corvids, highly intelligent. They can communicate with each other and with other animals like foxes, wolves and wolverines, often using predators to kill meat for them by pointing out prey animals deliberately in winter from an elevated vantage point then getting a share of the bounty once the larger toothed predator has dispatched the victim and done the hard work of opening up the body.
It was a calm still day and any smoke or steam from chimneys lingered long in the air before eventually dissipating. A pastel paradise.
This white halo effect was actually just smoke from a small garden fire and a couple burning cleared vegetation in a minor scale operation, but it drifted for miles over the flood plain like a gently flowing snake of silvery substance with a life all its own. The River Forth in the distance.
River Forth getting wider around Kincardine.
A zoom of a microlight aircraft and the power station chimney.
Wallace Monument at Stirling. An iconic tower that could easily double for Dracula's Castle.
And a wider view of Stirling Castle behind and the wooded ridges they sit on.

Good beat, great song, stunning voice. Pop perfection. Posted for a girl who always loves colour, imagination, bright sunshine, and sparkling new ideas as much as I do. "Je vois la vie en rose."


Anabel Marsh said...

Only climbed Dumyat once when staying at Stirling Uni for an OU Summer School in 1986. It would have been the uninspiring route! One woman did it in flip-flops. Eek!

Rosemary said...

I used to love the frost patterns created on the bedroom windows as a child. I would see magical fairylands in the designs - the worst part was having to get out from under the cosy eiderdown into such a cold room to get ready for school.

Linda said...

Beautiful views and lovely birds! Your posts are always enjoyable and fascinating.

Linda W. said...

Wow! What fabulous views you captured! Love the early morning frost too.

Carol said...

Believe it or not, we've got a house in our village called Dumyat! Was one of my Mum's favourite hills I think - she did much more in the Southern Highlands and the Lowlands than I ever did - might catch her up one day though...

That path looks well scary but you've made me want to go and look for it. And I love the chimney smoke photos - strange as I wouldn't think I'd love something like that but it's a great capture.

Didn't know that about ravens but I know they're intelligent so I'm not surprised. Fascinating though...

Russell said...

Did my 1399th ascent of Dumyat this morning.

Above link is a wee report I did of your route on a walking forum a few years ago.

Happy New Year.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Anabel,
Nothing wrong with that way up as it's a fine hill from any direction.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Rosemary,
It's surprising how many of the little things from that era you forget which is why I liked Back in Time for Christmas shown on TV recently. One of the festive highlights for me along with Saving Mr Banks and Frozen.(didn't think I would like this last film but it's really good at any age)

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Linda.

blueskyscotland said...

Thanks Linda W,
There might be millions taking photos on their smart phones every minute but I still get a kick of pleasure when I capture a good image myself and you will feel the same.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol,
Yes, you would like the Ochil Glens- very steep and scenic but with easy paths built in the Victorian era up the gorges. Nothing else in Scotland like them. Steep walls and deep gorges facing south- moors and tedious slopes without much interest on the northern edge. If you are ever going there pick the Blairlogie to Dollar side of the hills. About five good day walks on that side up the different glens so enough for a long weekend.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Russell,
Wow, don't know if I like the hill that much! You must have carved your very own path up it by now :o) Nice photos. "spent years talking to people that never listen to anything I say".... in my case-- they are called best friends :o)
The thing I love about that front face route is that it's still little used... many of the other more popular peaks in Scotland now are mud laden ditches where they used to be beautiful grass carpets and a joy to walk across. Many of Glasgow's parks are getting to be in a similar state with the increase in rain and visitors.
Happy New Year Russell.. and everyone else.
It's not something I usually celebrate. Used to always go to a bothy to avoid it every year.

Ian Johnston said...

Great stuff Bob - I've always liked the view from the Ochils, you can see a sizeable chunk of the country from the whole ridge. A very happy New Year to you - here's to more adventures in 2017!

Lux G. said...

It's been a wonderful year full of beautiful sights and posts.
Happy 2017!

Robert Craig said...

Great post. Happy New Year!

I love that you know the smoke came from a couple's garden clearance :)

blueskyscotland said...

Hi R.C.
No Sherlock super sleuth deduction required I'm afraid as we passed the garden couple clearing bushes on the path up the hill- could see them from the cliffs above toiling away next to the fire- and then passed the smoking remains of a small bonfire of burning foliage on the way down.
Happy New Year.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Lux G.
Happy New Year to you and Best Wishes for 2017.

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Ian,
Same to you on your travels.

Anonymous said...

I'll second (or third) the comments about the superb images of the smoke and chimneys. I always enjoy views from mountains or hills down on to a more occupied landscape if that's the right word