Footprints Across Scotland
Why not make a few of your own!
5th February 2011
Up and down the Ladder hills.
I think we all fancied a bit of fresh air, just as well really as we would find it in plentiful supply on the back of some strong winds. The narrow secluded road heading north from Bellabeg was icy in patches and the small lay-by just past the turn for Rhinstock required a bit of care when getting out of the van. After going back down the road a short while we headed up the drive toward the buildings at Rhinstock. Shortly after branching right and crossing a bridge we took a rising grassy path on our left underneath the shelter of the trees. This provided a pleasant start to the walk but soon had us on a wider forestry track. On the map the path looked like it crossed straight over the track but in fact we had to go left a short while before continuing on up through the trees. Leaving the edge of the forest the blue sky contrasted nicely with the snowy white of the hill tops. In the lee of the hill we were all starting to feel quite warm and debating whether to lose some layers. We did begin to wonder whether the winds were going to be as forecast, however we soon had our answer as we reached the bealach between the Hill of Rhinstock and Moss Hill. After following the path onto the shoulder of the hill we headed out over some peat hags on to the heathery moor. Our main destination Carn Mor was now in view but first we needed to make tracks toward Little Geal Charn.
Carn Mor from Moss Hill
Travelling north-west we ignored the track at a bealach crossing a small top before a steadier climb lead onto little Geal Charn. We didn't linger long on the rather exposed rounded top and pushed quickly onward.
Little Geal Charn from Moss Hill
At the next col on the way to Dun Mor we came across a frozen lochan, Stephan decided he would play a game of dare and walk across it centre.
Stephan testing the ice
We made steady progress as we rounded the lower slopes of Letterach before making the top of Dun Mor. Testing a rocky windbreak on the way unfortunately failed to give enough protection for a lunch stop. A maze of some more peat hags provided the last obstacle before reaching the broad ridge of Carn Mor. The hags happened to be well spaced for the most part and a covering of firm snow provided smooth and easy passage.
Peat Hags above Dun Mor
There was no shelter to be found on the top of Carn Mor either so after taking a couple of photo's we hurried across the short wind cropped heather onto Monadh an t-Sluich Leith.
Nat ways up the way down
After we had dropped down the south-east ridge sufficiently we took shelter near some grouse hides to enjoy an overdue lunch. Once down in the glen we soon arrived at the Hut at Long Moss Cross roads and from here we branched left in an easterly direction. Ignoring the path rising up the south side of Finlate hill we kept to the track following the river course but stayed on the north bank while the track made a number of crossings. A bit of a land slip looked like it may force us up hill away from the river bank but we managed to continue along the water’s edge. A wooden structure preventing deer from using the river to duck under a fence provided a sturdy enough bridge as we forded the river at Duffdefiance. From here forestry tracks lead us past Aldachuie and Firs cottage but in the darkening twilight we missed or intended turn and ended up at the main road. This added a little to the walk but it was only a short distance up the road before we were back at the van.
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