Thursday, 18 February 2010

High Ballagan waterfall

I was out looking for the jasper outcrop on the Campsies above Strathblane. I didn't find it but did stumble on this rather nice little sun trap.

I'd walked out to Ballagan Glen, crossed to the west side and walked up the fence just outside of the reserve. The freezing fog of the last few days is minimal today but some was still hanging about in the valley around Dunglass.

I worked from outcrop to outcrop, looking for the red and yellow band of crystal. No joy. Must be further East. Found lots of nice rock to scramble through though.

In the end I gave up when confronted with a vertical drop with no easy route down, plus the suspicion I was in the wrong place! So up to the open tops via sheep tracks and stream beds. Then down in to the very boring open valley of the Ballagan Burn

Except for this rather nice little waterfall

Up here things only thaw if they get direct sunlight at the moment. The fall gets very little except late in the day

The plunge pool is deep enough to swim in come the summer. Roll on.

Then back down the valley, through the reserve and back to the car in Strathblane for the drive home.

With a stop for some snowdrops I'd noticed the other day. Ballagan House grounds are now carpeted with them but these came out as a rather better image.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Strathblane Hills

Up on to the south edge of the Campsies today, Strathblane Hills. We looked at two houses at the foot of these hills before an attack of common sense had us buy a house within easy distance of the vet school... And a very nice house it is too, just 15 minutes south.

The walk out from Strathblane shows Dumgoyne as you might expect around here.

Once you clear the houses the track skirts the lower edge of the rough hillside and the view of the walk shows nicely. An easy one up the left skyline.

On the shoulder of the hills the view north opens up to Ben Lomond, the rest of the Trossachs and the Arrochar Alps. Solid snow above about 2000 feet from the look of it.

I think I could actually see the hills on Arran way off to the south west, that's really the mark of a clear day around here...

There is some snow still in pockets in the Campsies and damned unpleasant walking it makes too, more like packed ice...

The Daniel Stone at the top of Slackdhu

I had originally planned to walk around the full edge to Ballagan and back along the main road, but this grass slope between the crags tempted me and, as I was a little time pressured, bottom scooting was the way down. The route is just to the right of the highest point in the head picture.

The slope faces south west and the wind, bitter on the tops, was northerly so here it was totally sheltered and the moss was warm to the touch. In Strathblane gardens the snowdrops are in flower and the daffodils well above lawn level. Up here nothing is growing yet, but a few more warm days like this and the foxgloves, last year's biennials, will get some new leaves up and working...

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Northern Campsies

I've been wanting to have a look at the northern edge of the Campsie Fells for some time. Today I got the chance. It was a bit of a grey day in Summerston and you couldn't actually see the Campsies. This usually implies it's raining, but today it was just murky over melting snow from the flurry last night. Roads were clear so I headed north. It was worth it:

I parked at the distillery and things were looking a bit misty from the field you cross from the road to get to the open fells. That's the peak of Dumgoyne showing through the cloud.

Climbing up the fell it became clear that most of the mist was in the valley. That's the neat conical plug of Dumgoyach showing through

A little higher and you get that superb view on to the top of the fog with a brilliant blue sky above it. That sky is so blue. It's quite different from the blue over Heathrow!

Looking back past Dumgoyne. Too blue! With just a little mist still around the peak.

Then you weave through assorted small hills, climbing slowly all the time until you get to the small cairn at the top of Garloch Hill. This is just a selected area from the head picture.

Then back down.

I noticed this rather nice winter tree, even if it is an Ash. Ash trees have such nice jet black leaf buds all Winter. It's a pity they're the last to open in Spring!

The big thing I learned today is don't hill walk in wellies unless you enjoy falling on your @rse in the snow four times during the descent!