Marhofn 171.09 - May 2007

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Hall of Shame

Hall of Shame: Corporate Desecration

Carn a'Chuilinn (9B, LR34)

Andy Hyams: This Corbett is in the middle of the massive Glen Doe hydro project. I visited it in February 2006 just before work got underway, but subsequent expeditions from Glen Brein or the upper Spey to Corbett Tops further east brought home the vast extent of construction operations. I doubt access is currently possible up Glen Doe. The easiest route is probably along the Corrieyairack track and then across the River Tarff. I approached from Loch Tarff because I wanted to collect the tops to the north, but this would now involve crossing a new and busy haul road NE of the principal top. This road is to facilitate construction of a large dam across the River Tarff above the falls. I suspect water will eventually cover the entire area between Meall Caca and Carn Easgann Bana.

Hall of Shame: Get Off My Land

Cruach Lerags (19A, LR49)

Colin Crawford: The approach along the track from Gallanachbeg is denied by lots of GOML notices, but if you sneak through the campsite you can follow the forest edge and join it further up. The cattle-chewed path lands you by Loch Gleann a'Bhearraidh, whose shores are a bracken-covered labyrinth. It's then relatively easy to follow the forest edge up to the summit area, which has not been planted. Feasible, but very awkward.

Seager Hill (38B, LR149)

Tom Read: I approached from the track SE of the summit, marked for riding club members only. This soon became entangled in prickly undergrowth which left its mark on my legs. As we left the trig point, we were approached by a Land Rover in the field. We were asked which way we had come up. When I told them, they replied 'Just make sure you go back down the same way then'.

Hall of Shame: Heather Terrors

Torr Achilty (12A, LR26)

Jimmy White: Serious under-estimation here, of both terrain and time. My route from the house at NH454553 looked like a quick sprint through a narrow margin of deciduous trees. What the map doesn't show is the hidden Jurassic jungle on the ENE ridge all the way to the summit. Audrey Litterick's description of the terrain on Mullach Mor, Rum (Marhofn 153) sums it up nicely. Fortunately, there is a better descent route south over fairly open, stony ground to the power station. Ascend this hill any other way but north and you do so at your peril.

John Ward: This proved to be a tough summit for its height. I have an orienteering map of the area but had left it at home. I followed the track on the southern side of the loch. Much of the forest here has recently been felled. Once I had left the track the walk involved high, wet autumn bracken. I soon found a fence, which separates the area of semi-open forest to the east from the plantation to the west. The fence eventually drops down towards the power station. At this point a small wooded valley has to be crossed before the final walk up to the summit. Here I sat reading comments left in a bottle by earlier summitteers, whilst a stag roared from somewhere near the dam.

Beinn Bhreac (19A, LR 50/55)

Jimmy White: Beguiled by the short road walk and the apparently easy forest tracks, I started from Malt Land just north of Inveraray. After clearing the forest I knew I would be walking against the grain of the country, and so it proved, in spades. No tracks, just purgatory moorland with knee-deep heather and bracken, and endless roller-coaster ups and downs. I'm sure that an expedition (that's what it was for me) could be better taken from Three Bridges on the A819, following the grain of the country via Sron Reithe to the summit.

Hall of Shame: Big Boring Bogs

Muirneag (24A, LR8)

Alan Dawson: It was 6pm by the time I got to the embarkation point at NB532486. With mist down to the road and intermittent rain, it took immense willpower to get going, but I had nowhere to stay and nothing else to do. The first 500 metres along the track-cum-pier were fine, but after that it was a grim wade, with an odd glimpse of distant land ahoy as Muirneag loomed out of the mist and loomed back in again, never seeming to get any nearer. When land was finally reached the going was even worse, and the muddy mess at the summit was a fittingly filthy anti-climax, though I did find two full cans of coke amongst the piles of rubbish. When I landed back at the car several days later (31/2 hours in all but it felt like a week), I was confident that I had the worst Marilyn behind me. North Lewis was redeemed by Beinn Bhragair later that night.

Beinn Mholach (24A, LR8)

Alan Dawson: The relentless and tedious lumpiness made me long for the wet flatness of the approach to Muirneag.

Jon Metcalf: Arid solidity compared with reports, while still being rubbish north Lewis going. Mercifully unlike tortuous torture by Muirneag though.

Hall of Shame: Excess Tree Density

Law Kneis (28B, LR79)

Jon Foote: As I put on my boots I nodded to the Deephope farmer, who nodded back in a not-unfriendly way, before I crossed the girder remains of the footbridge. Many damp and desperate compass-less manoeuvres in the forest later, which must have taken me fairly close to the top, I was on my way back defeated when I saw a ride leading to the open fell. It is the one with the old fence leading up it, a clue I might have spotted earlier. I followed this fence up to the top and, not to be outdone by this Knasty hill, went down by the route I had initially tried to ascend.

Cruach Lerags (19A, LR49)

Ken Falconer: By far the worst hill of the year was what I thought would be a gentle evening stroll up 252m Cruach Lerags, south of Oban. I got attacked by a pig going through the farm at Gallanachbeg, then stuck in a bog sprouting head-high bracken and stinging nettles whilst skirting the loch, then ended up scaling a near-vertical crag full of loose rock and heather. There must be an easier way!

A pig waiting to pounce

A pig waiting to pounce

To crown it all, what had seemed quite a nice evening turned into heavy rain. It was a relief to get back to the youth hostel in time for the last few minutes of the World Cup final.

Peter Collins: I encountered a shepherd sitting down, waiting for the mist to clear so that he could see the sheep to be rounded up. Definitely got to the top this time, using a route from the mast at Gallanachbeg. The top is completely clear of trees.

Alan Dawson: The track from Cologin to the east, shown on my 1992 map, has disappeared from more recent maps, but it's still there as a good path that takes you to within 500 metres of the summit. After that you're on your own. Be prepared for some serious hood-up, head-down twiggery pokery. An old raincoat won't ever let you down, and some stout knee pads might help too. If you think you're on the top but surrounded by trees you need to look further. But it's quick, and fun in a way. Nice pub at NM853260, with handy show-jumping course.

'Congratulations on a terrific Marhofn last year. It gets better and better.' - Chris Peart

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