Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Monday, 27 February 2012

Grazing cages

Readers of this blog will perhaps remember that last October Lynne and I came across these structures on Glas Maol. See here.


Well, Rene van der Wal of the University of Aberdeen has commented on the post saying:

“These are grazing cages which I have erected with colleagues to determine the influence of primarily sheep grazing on the summit vegetation on Glas Maol. We are particularly interested in the fate of woolly fringe moss, or Racomitrium lanuginosum, which is perhaps best known as key habitat for dotterel to exist.” Very interesting and thanks to Rene for taking the trouble to provide this explanation.

Berghaus Mens Micro Stretch Half Zip Fleece from Simply Hike

My initial review of this fleece from Simply Hike Camping Equipment and Outdoor Clothing 
can be found here

-  I've now used this garment for two weeks on low level walks and on the hills although, because of the cold, wet and windy weather that has predominated, it has not been possible to wear it on its own over a base layer

- I could comfortably wear a buff under the collar when it was fully zipped. However the collar did not stand up as well as I would have liked when not zipped up, but this is really a minor point.

- when used on its own over a wicking base layer, I see no reason to suppose that the AT Micro fleece won't perform just as well as any other fabric used to manufacture this style of top; when worn this way the mesh-lined chest pocket will prove useful.

- I would certainly use this top on backpacking trips from April to October and, in winter, with suitable outer layers; I'll be taking it with me on a two week backpacking trip in May

- unlike other garments I've had, the elasticated hem and cuffs are not too tight.

- it has washed well

I'll add comments and a further review of this product when it has had more use.

At £40.45 from Simply Hike, such a well made product with its excellent fit is something of a bargain. It can be found on this page.

Note: I have no contractual relationship with Simply Hike and this review is totally independent of that Company.

Saturday, 25 February 2012


We've escaped the influence of the western weather by driving to St Andrews, a fairly regular haunt, where it's a sunny, invigorating day.

I love the place and spent some of the happiest years of my life here as a student.

We are now at the Museum of the University of St Andrews where there is, among many other things of interest, a cast of the head of Pedro de Luna, Pope Benedict XIII who granted the Charter of Incorporation to the University in 1413.Preparations are well underway to celebrate the 600 year anniversary.

From the viewing gallery I can see The Bell Rock Lighthouse built 1807 - 1811, 11 miles off the Angus coast. This is our first visit to MUSA and we'll be back - there is so much to see and learn.
Some coffee now then home after an interesting day out.

 Sent using BlackBerry®

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Friday 17 February - The Covenanters’ Glen and West Lomond Hill


West Lomond Hill

The traverse of the three Lomond Hills, West and East Lomond plus Bishop Hill gives a good day out, the Cairngorms being visible on a clear day. The group is easily accessed from various locations and today we took the minor road from Balgeddie to the small car park a short distance from the start of the walk. 

JKP (2)

Ahead on the left lies the sandstone outcrop known as John Knox’s Pulpit. It is said that local people in favour of the Reformation (Covenanters) gathered here in secret and that an angel with a drawn sword appeared above the Pulpit to protect the minister.

The protection needed today was from large blocks of sandstone precariously balanced on top of the outcrop and there were many signs of rockfall. I just had to have a look so made my way up and onto the platform.

The loose rocks can be seen at the top

John Knox's Pulpit
Precarious rocks above John Knox Pulpit
Shattered rock above the Pulpit

The rock was too greasy to risk going into the Pulpit.

Probably freeze-thaw action has caused the rocks to shear from the hillside. The same fate no doubt awaited the short rock wall I was standing next to, perhaps not imminently, but nonetheless I beat a hasty retreat.

Glen Vale is an attractive valley with its minature waterfalls, rock pools and white calciferous sandstone outcrops.

The Devil's Burdens

It's an easy climb from here to West Lomond's 522m summit passing the Devil's Burdens. The Devil's Burden Relay Race involving 34km and 1250 m of ascent takes place every winter (12 January this year) the record time for men being : 2:22:57 and for women 2:50:36 (both in 2011).

Lynne beside one of  the Devil's Burdens

 As we arrived at the cairn in the mist and rain so did a solitary walker from the Falkland side, the most popular approach. We exchanged greetings and while he took advantage of what little shelter there was available, we sought lower ground for our lunch.

..and on the summit

Here's the route and some numbers.

Friday, 17 February 2012

SSE plan £800m Hydro Scheme

Quick post before dashing out.. SSE want to build a hydro Scheme at Loch a' Choire Ghlais NN 228 951 near Kilfinnan. No decision on go-ahead from Scottish government until 2014 - interesting date.

See here

Thursday, 16 February 2012


As I write,Lynne is taking part in a BBC Radio Scotland programme about Beatrix Potter. It's one of a series called ' Amazing Libraries', today's programme being recorded at the A K Bell Library, Perth.

So here I am in Perth with time on my hands. I hate shops so am off to Perth Museum and Art Gallery to see the 'Strathmore Meteorite'. The fragment of meteorite is one of four that were found along a five mile line from Corston near Coupar Angus (about 7km SE of Blairgowrie) to Essendy in Perthshire, when it broke up over the Sidlaw Hills on 3 December 1917. The fragment in PMAG was found at Corston Farm and it made a 6" deep hole in the lawn.

Other than this little excursion and a visit to Morrison's to buy some English beer, I shall be obeying the Third of T Ratcliffe Barnett's Ten Commandments (of Walking) - Thou shalt have no programme'!

Well, the museum was closed (!) for building works so I had a pleasant walk on the South Inche in warm sunshine instead. Yesterday Strathallan was the warmest place in the UK and even warmer than North Africa. We certainly enjoyed soaking it up when we had lunch at 366m near the Upper Glen Devon reservoir after escaping the strong cold NW wind on the hills above it. Unfortunately the descent took us close to the Burnfoot turbines but luckily my hat and two hoods at least meant I couldn't hear them!

Coffee I think and then that beer !

Sent using BlackBerry from Vodafone

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Berghaus Mens Micro Stretch Half Zip Fleece from Simply Hike

Simply Hike Camping Equipment and Outdoor Clothing have sent me this fleece to review. Arrangements were finalised on Thursday and the product delivered on Friday but, as yet, I haven't had a chance to wear it other than indoors. Once I've used it for a couple of weeks I'll add to my first impressions given below. 


This fleece is part of the Advanced Thermals (AT) range which is a "collection of fleece fabrics developed exclusively for Berghaus". The RRP is £50 and is selling at Simply Hike for £40.45, a saving of 19%. The fabric, AT-Micro has a luxurious, soft velour feel which is quite different from my other fleece tops. The stretch panels are made from AT-Stretch. The manufacturer's product description and details are given at the end of this post.

Initial Observations:

- the item is manufactured to a high quality standard all internal seams being flat locked.
- the cuffs, hem and top of the collar are elasticated and the quality of the sewing here is excellent
- the collar is quite high compared with my other zip tops. I like this.
- there is a baffle behind the front zip and it has a chin guard.
- there is a small zipped chest pocket

Berghaus Active Fit

I would agree with the Berghaus Active Fit description as "Not body conscious, Not baggy. Just streamlined for every kind of activity." The medium size fits me perfectly (36" chest) worn over a base layer and although that suits my needs, some might prefer a size up if they want to wear anything bulkier than this under it.

The quoted weight on Simply Hike's web site is 346g

Thermal Insulation
0.6 - 0.7 CLO

Details are for a subsequent review but I expect this fleece to be used as a mid layer in pretty well any conditions in the UK. Even at this early stage I think I'll enjoy wearing this fleece in a variety of conditions.

Manufacturer's Product Details.

Berghaus Advanced Thermals Range

The advanced Thermals range is a collection of fleece fabrics developed exclusively for Berghaus to meet our exacting standards to ensure excellent thermal insulation properties, pilling resistance and great visual finishes.

- breathable
- lofted fibres trap air, retaining body heat

AT-Micro is a lightweight packable micro fleece made from 100% polyester micro denier yarns, designed to offer a comfortable velour touch. The micro fleece has a non-pilling face to ensure its performance and looks are retained after repeated washing.

- 4 way stretch: 93% polyester, 7% elastane
- breathable
- wicks away moisture
- lofted fibres trap air, retaining body heat

AT-Stretch Fabrics have excellent stretch characteristics to ensure a long lasting, great fit that doesn't restrict movement. The raised inner structures are designed to trap air to maximise thermal insulation whilst ensuring that moisture is wicked away from the skin to keep you warm and dry.

Berghaus Active Fit

Not body conscious. Not baggy. Just a streamlined cut for any kind of activity.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Can anyone help?

I'm thinking of blogging on our way across Scotland later this year but note that the Bloggermobile page says that only O2 and Orange are supported in the UK. I plan to post by email. I'm fairly sure I've seen posts with 'iphone or Blackberry at Vodafone' at the end of posts from mobiles but can't find them now!

Is there anyone out there using Vodafone? I'd rather use this because the coverage tends to be better than Orange in the Highlands.

Any help will be much appreciated and if I can ever return the favour on any subject I'll be more than happy to do so.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

January 2012–brief catch up (1)

14th January – Part of the Cadgers’ Yett.

Glen Quey (3)

A day of low cloud when layers were on and off at an irritating rate, except for my ME Astron hooded jacket (worn here) which has not disappointed. When I bought it I really envisaged wearing it from early spring to late autumn but it's proved to be very useful and flexible in the conditions we've had so far this winter. And, dare I say, I wouldn't be without the hood!

The whole of "the cadgers'", as I've always known it, runs from Auchterarder to Dollar but the section to Glen Devon via Borland Glen, the finest part of the walk in my opinion, has now been ruined by the turbines of Greenknowes Windfarm.


Why they can’t use the Scots word ‘Yett’ is beyond me.

15 January – a wander in the sun

There was a film of ice on the reservoirs in the early(ish) morning but the temperatures were climbing as we started to do likewise, up the grassy hills south of these waters.

Photograph below shows what for all the world looked like a torpedo streaking to its target. Of course it’s the refection of a jet’s vapour trail!

Reflection of jet