Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Reservoirs, Green Cleugh and Scald Law

Threipmuir Reservoir
To be honest, I wasn't going to write up this walk, because it was just an afternoon stroll with some friends, but yesterday I looked at the photographs again.  They were so lovely I thought I'd share them with everyone else.

Our friends live in Livingstone, and we went to stay for a weekend at the end of August.  For a Sunday afternoon walk, they drove us out to Threipmuir Reservoir near Balerno, and five of us set off for a short foray into the Pentland Hills, a 20 mile stretch of up and down off the South West corner of Edinburgh.

First we enjoyed the sights of Threipmuir Reservoir, (above), and Bavelaw Marsh, (below).

Our path took us up along a wooded track past Bavelaw Castle, which we didn't see anything of.  At the end of the track, a gate brought us out into the sun and gave us our first glimpses of the hills.
Scotland doesn't have Rights of Way, but the people in Scotland have the right to access most land and inland water including mountains, moorland, woods and forests, grassland, fields, rivers and lochs, coastal areas, most parks and open spaces day and night.  The only caveat is that walkers must do so responsibly.   There are loads of paths marked out on Scottish OS Maps, but you don't have to stick to them, and they aren't ROWs.
But you'd be daft to ignore them, all those walkers before you knew what they were doing when they pounded the track out with their feet.
Our way ahead.  The dip between the hills (Black Hill on the left and Hare Hill on the right), is called Green Cleugh.  The pointy hill at the end is the highest of the Pentland Hills, Scald Law, 579m or 1900ft
The path was relatively easy, which is good, since I hurt my foot last Sunday on High Cup Nick, and it wasn't even close to being healed. and I had to be careful where I stepped.  It was well worth it, the scenery was gorgeous.
Walking along Green Cleugh.  How gorgeous is that Heather?
We followed the track to see where it would lead us, and it led us to this.  The men, (boys), in the group insisted on climbing all over it.  I had to wait until they got down to get this photograph.
Logan Burn Waterfall
We followed the track a little further until we reached Loganlea Reservoir. 
Loganlea Reservoir. 
We were tempted to walk further, but we didn't have a map with us and weren't quite sure where we'd end up, and not only that, Peter and I had to start the drive back to Richmond that afternoon. So we turned around and walked back the way we came.   Now I can see where we went on the  WalkHighlands site, I know better, but I'll save that for future visits.

A wonderful afternoon with wonderful friends.  Thank you to Bob, Jenny and Fraser for making it so. 

6 miles and about 1100 ft of up and down. 

Friday, 7 November 2014

A walk abroad - Andalsnes, Norway

We were visiting Norway on a cruise ship and when the opportunity arose, we took advantage of the chance to climb a Norwegian mountain.  It was brilliant!  That chance came in Andalsnes, a small town north east of Bergen

The ship docked at Andalsnes around 8am, but we didn't get off until closer to 10.  Gusts of wind were hitting so hard, it could stop you in your tracks and the air was FREEZING.  It didn't feel pleasant at all as we came down the gangplank

Fighting our way through the weather I got to Tourist Info and grabbed a map.  I happened to notice a few walks outlined on it, and since it's "our thing", Peter and I decided to give it a go.

There's a steep little mountain right alongside the port, and the walk route seemed to be heading to the top.  Looking up, we didn't think we'd get any where near the summit, after all we were on holiday and just fancied stretching the legs a bit.  So we set off to reach the first view point marked on our map, which is quite low down on the hill.

And it was really easy to get to.  The Norwegians obviously feel that everyone should be able to reach these places, and a ramp had been installed all the way up, making it possible to get a wheelchair or pushchair up to the viewing point.
Looking out from the first viewpoint, An easy walk with a ramp to get you to here.  That's Romsdalsfjorden in front of us. 
Once there, we decided to continue going up.  The next stop is a lovely wooden shelter with benches and tables.   The wind howled through the trees tops occasionally, but we felt sheltered down underneath.
View from the log shelter.  That mountain across the river is called Varden (I think)
An we kept going up. As you can see, this little mountain has steep sides.
The Norwegians really do like to help people do these things, there were rails and chains on several parts of the walk.  If you look at the photo above, you can see a rail running diagonally just up and to the right of Peter.

There are boxes containing notebooks in which you add your name to the list of people who got that far.
And the Norwegians have installed rock staircases around many of the awkward bits.  We kept going up, stopping to enjoy the views time and time again.

The shiny patches you can see on the slope to the left are ice.
We knew there was another view point quite a way above us.  As we got higher, we met other passengers coming down, they told us what to expect. The last couple we came across told us about a platform that they'd seen from below.  We kept going up
Once we'd seen the platform, we had to carry on.  Bear in mind that I am wearing me jeans, and although we've brought some extra layers and we are both wearing decent walking shoes, we have no water or food with us.   We'd agreed that we'd keep going until 12.30, at which point we would turn round and go back down, and not worry about how far we got.  We were thirsty though, luckily there were loads of icicles about, and we also found a spring marked drinking water (we think) just a few feet below the platform.

Anyway we got to the viewing platform - 537 m above sea level, that's 1761 feet.
And yes I did walk out to the end.  I even walked on the scary bit where you can see through the floor, but only a foot or so.  I didn't like it.  The views were just as wonderful as expected though.

Anyway, we went a little bit further up - I reckon we probably added another 100ft or so onto the height.  It is easy to do because of the rock staircase our Norwegian hosts have built.  The only issue is that it's a little bit exposed.

But it was absolutely wonderful!  We were so lucky with the weather.  There was no wind, the sun was out, and it was glorious.  (I don't think I'd be sitting so comfortably if we'd have felt the wind like we did down on the port)

Looking out from the height of our climb.  I think the mountain we're on is called Nesaksla 
A beautiful day.  Just fantastic
We sat up there, enjoying the sun and the views for a good few minutes, and then we knew it was time to go back down.  Going down is easier than coming up of course, but it still took us a good hour or so.
We pottered around the town before going back to the ship, it didn't seem to have a lot to offer us during our quick look see, and then we were back on board, satisfyingly tired, in that good way you get. 

Here's a picture of the mountain, I've marked where the platform is (lower arrow), and my guess as to where I think we got to.  As you can see, we still had quite a climb to reach the top if we'd have continued.  Nesaksla is 715m or 2345 ft high.

Peter and I have decided that if we come this way again, and the weather is right, we'll do it properly and reach the summit.  A brilliant brilliant day.