Archive for Glen Tilt

Rounding Beinn a’ Ghlo

Posted in Cycling with tags , , , on August 16, 2016 by Jinja Coo

It was far too windy for an original planned outing on the hills and I perused books and maps looking for low routes between hills as an alternative. Good fun in itself and I have plenty of new ideas for trips in future, but I settled this time on rounding Beinn a’ Ghlo by way of Glen Tilt, Glen Loch and the more open ground to the south of the hill.

I have cycled up Glen Tilt on two previous trips including a full traverse as part of cross-country jaunt and part way up on a bike n’ hike taking in Carn a’ Chlamain to the north of the glen, and really enjoy time spent there.

It is such a varied glen with interest along the way in numerous waterfalls and in the changing scenery as the glen rises and narrows. The River Tilt is formed by the coming together of the Tarf Water, Allt Garbh Buidhe and Allt Feith Lair, then just below by the addition of the waters from the An Lochain, the latter of which is fed by Loch Loch, which lies within Glen Loch, my second low pass of the day.

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Having first detoured for lunch at the idyllic spot of the Falls of Tarf, I returned part way down Glen Tilt level with the mouth of An Lochain, to cross the river and continue onward up and through Glen Loch.

I had chosen to go clockwise to get to this crux point before the harder work of the day as route descriptions suggested this crossing could be difficult / impossible when the river high and given the amount of water lower down and the colour of the water, I had been thinking I might not get to ride the full loop. However, this high up, the river was just passable with the bike coming in handy for stability as I made my away across the swiftly flowing water.

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Winds, which had pushed me up Glen Tilt, were now against me and with funneling were causing me to work hard to stay balanced. Not so much of a problem early on as I largely pushed the bike, but once on better tracks, the winds made cycling (and even standing) quite tricky. Long before I set eyes on Loch Loch, its presence was evident by huge spumes of white spray whipped up from the surface by the stronger squally gusts.

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Despite the breeziness, I was keen to enjoy a swim having earlier been pleasantly surprised by the relative warmth of the river on my crossing. The narrows gave me a chance to get a spot out the wind to enjoy a second food stop and here I braved the waters, albeit very briefly. Refreshed and refueled, I continued on and was surprised to hit easier cycling sooner than expected as a new bulldozed track leads up to the southern end of the loch.

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A few of the ruins that the area is known for lie at the point where I turned westwards to cycle below an increasingly gloomy looking Beinn a’ Ghlo. Wetter weather was definitely pursuing me on the way out, but thankfully I made it back to my start point dry at least, though muddier than I’ve been in years. It is a good route, hard earned, but I wonder what changes are ahead (if any) necessitating the newly extended 4×4 track into Loch Loch.

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Interestingly I noted my arms being sore on my previous, shorter cycle up Glen Tilt, but this time on a different bike with front suspension and bigger wheels, I was blasting along rough tracks with little discomfort at all – much more enjoyable.

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Wintry Bivvy in Gleann Mhairc

Posted in Hiking, Hills with tags , on February 23, 2015 by Jinja Coo

Inspired by a previous bivvy and a more recent walk passing by Gleann Mhairc, we headed for the pleasant confines of Gleann Mhairc for another night under the tarp and the stars.

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Glen Tilt

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Gleann Mhairc

Memories and photos had hinted at useful places to get pitched up, but it took as a fair bit of wandering about to find something that would actually work well at keeping the tarp off our faces and give us a comfy and dry sleeping surface.

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As expected there was a very fresh breeze and we worked to engineer a setup that would keep us sheltered from the wind at one end, quite successfully as it happens, and with no trees used for high anchors, we managed to get a decent amount of head room with just one pole.

That done, we opted to explore further up the glen rather than ascend the adjacent hill, Carn a’ Chlamain. Sunlight and a little warmth were savoured at every stop, and there were a lot of them. We didn’t get all the way up and after a couple of hours headed back to base.

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Still a good bit of daylight left, was it too early to get the fire going or would we regret that later with fuel burned up too early? We hung off a while till the dropping temperature made the decision for us. Dinner on, fire on and every layer on too. A very pleasant evening feeding the firebox with kindling and coal to stay warm. Every short venture away from the fire resulted in shivering, which was resolved by close proximity to the fire.

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A gorgeous starry night and the Moon, Venus, Mars and Jupiter were all out for company too.

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Fire, Moon, Venus and … glostick

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Firebox warmth beneath the stars (Orion above)

We should have started the fire sooner after all, as we ended up being defeated by tiredness, but good to know how far just a little coal will prolong a fire for future reference.

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A good night’s sleep had, we awoke as forecast to grey skies, but not quite the heavy snow forecast. A quick breakfast and camp struck before retreat back down Glen Tilt had us back in good time for a hot bowl of soup, lovely!

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West to East Cross Scotland Cycle …

Posted in Cycling, Trips with tags on July 31, 2012 by Jinja Coo

Well, partially! I missed the first leg of the traverse from Oban to Kinloch Rannoch which included a stretch on the train from Bridge of Orchy to Rannoch Station. Instead, I cycled in from Pitlochry to meet the others close to Kinloch Rannoch at a nice B&B.

Loch Tummel from Queen’s View

Up early next day, the five of us headed off after some heavy rain first to Blair Atholl on quiet roads before a slight delay for second breakfast then our off-road section began with a pleasant ride up most of Glen Tilt.

Early on in Glen Tilt

Glen Tilt

On to the single track section

An unexpected delight – the Falls of Tarf and a refreshing swim and lunch.

Bedford Bridge at Falls of Tarf

Glen Tilt is a really nice place and our cycle through it was mostly pleasant but once the single track, higher up the glen, got rough enough, cycling became impractical and pushing, carrying and stumbling along took over. At this point the weather also turned – double punishment – but that may have helped keep us a bit cooler despite the additional effort required.

A change in weather and carrying and pushing commences on rougher terrain

Walking along I became distracted by the increasing number of times I was going over on my ankle. At first I thought this was just the awkwardness of walking with a bike on a narrow track on a slope but soon it became clear my shoe was the problem. Both were falling apart but the right one vastly more so, age seems to have degraded the material and glue significantly. It was easier to walk barefoot which I did till cycling resumed and the shoe lasted the cycle out to Braemar where all pressure was on the front which thankfully was still holding up.

Very inconvenient wardrobe malfunction with 70+ miles to go

Happiness is reaching tarmac!

Pints, food and chat followed in Braemar after a hard day.

Our final day was all tarmac and took us from Braemar, through Ballater, Banchory and on to Aberdeen. A stunning cycle on thankfully quieter-than-expected roads but a heavy spell of rain had us chilled and dreaming of soup on the approach to Banchory.

Typical roadside views on Braemar to Banchory stretch

Traffic, red lights and people were bit of a contrast after the miles of quiet leading to Aberdeen but we were all happy to have made it and with plenty of time to fit in showers, pints and a well-earned curry before a train back home.

Always carry duct tape! My shoe was taped up round my foot almost to the point of making it waterproof and it successfully held together for the last day.