Hostelling Holiday in Scotland

By Chris Falshaw.

My oppo, Nev Thompson and I left Bristol on 16th. July, and after spending one night in that fairest of all cities, Manchester, reached Glasgow.

Sunday 18th. July.

We were woken at 8.10 by cups of tea, rather comfortable.  After breakfast we bid adieu to our host and boarded our MT, a 1952 Morris Minor, and made for the Campsie Fells.  These are situated about ten miles north east of Glasgow, and consist entirely of Volcanic Basalt.  The gen. book says it is not good for climbing.  This view we endorsed, as ‘it comes away in yer hand when you ain’t looking’.  Eventually we reached the said hills and climbed to the nearest trig. point, Holehaid, 1805ft.  We had intended to climb to The Earl’s Seat, but the sun was hot so we lay down in the heather and told the Earl what he could do.  Reached Fintry Hostel at opening time, i.e. 4pm.

Monday 18th. July.

After breakfast we took the road to Callender, stopping on the way to take some photographs.  Stoked up with grub, then continued via Falls of Leny, Loch Lubnaig, Loch Earnhead and Glen Ogle, here we climbed Meall Burhdie, 2,000ft. and geologised and photomogenised to some extent.  Nev ruined the film in the process of trying to get 39 exposures on a 35mm. film.  After this we returned to the Hostel Balquhidder.  A very enjoyable evening was spent futhering Bristol/Edinburgh relationships.

Tuesday 20th. July.

Said our farewells to Edinburgh and took the road to Inver Loch Larig, the reputed home of Rob Roy the Highland Rogue ‘Our Hero’.  Here we parked the car, donned boots and smoked a farewell reed.  We struck up the glen following the stream (burrrrrrrn) and commenced to climb Benmore, 3,843ft.  We stopped at the watershed for dinner - orange and cake -.  There was a cold wind blowing so we did not dally but started to climb seriously.  Entered cloud at 2,800ft. and the going became easier.  Reached top after four hours, and thumped each other on the back.  This was our first Munro (for the uninitiated, a Munro is a mountain over 3,000ft. high).  The wind on top was literally knocking even skittles out of us, so we retired behind a rock and ate Penguins.  We retraced our steps getting well and truly soaked in the process.  Arrived at the car three hours later nearly dead through lack of our favourite alkaloid.  Returned to the Hostel and played Solo all evening.

Wednesday 21st. July.

A rest day.  Went to Callender to review the local talent and also some Roman remains.  Practiced bird photography on some willing seagulls with telephoto - Bakewell tart was used as bait - this was very potent; after eating it the birds became grounded for about ten minutes.  Returned to the Hostel and again played Solo.  One bod, insisted on reading Hamlet.  His oppo threw it across the room.  This invoked strange, words from the owner.

Thursday 22nd. July

Left Hostel early intending to climb Cruoch Ardrian but were struck by a fact that it was fine.  A fine series of waterfalls provided and ideal excuse.  The route was up fairly easy, somewhat reminiscent of Swildons Wet Way, in flood.  Also spent some time geologising and photogenising and then retuned to the Hostel.  Spent the evening watching a bod fishing.  Nev was locked out.

Friday 23rd. July

Did some shopping in morning in Callender and Killin.  Stopped outside Killin for dinner and saw Ian Dear and Mervyn Hannam dicing in the other direction.  After dinner we pottered round a hydro-electric station that was under construction.  There was a great many of these dotted around the countryside; pylons providing endless fun when taking photographs.  Returned to the hostel at Killin and spent the evening discussing geological problems i.e. basalt on Mendip and unconformity in Highland geology, there being no general dip or related phenomena as experienced in more civilised parts of the county.

Saturday 24th. July.

Spent a very un-energetic day walking miles up Glen Lochy.  The first part of the Glen is over Loch Tay limestone, a type of crystalline marble.  After about 3 miles this gives way to crystalline schist’s, mainly mica and some very black graphite.  We also found some iron pyrites associated with mica schist’s, the crystals were moderately good.  We were once again struck by the complicated nature of the folds observed: they were all of the cascade variety, none of the gentle folds seen under Mendip.  Spent the evening furthering Anglo-Dutch relationships.  We were kept awake in Dorm by a fat type who snored; upon poking he just turned over and snored all the louder.

Sunday 25th. July.

Left at a high rate of knots in search of nicotine; none to be found in Lawres so pressed on to Aberfeldy where we managed to get supplies before dying of grievous exhaustion.  After recovering we decided to climb Schiehallion 3,547ft.  Crossed Wade’s Bridge and left Aberfeldy, reached Schiehallion and ascended to a subsidiary shoulder on to the main ridge.  The weather was superb and we took several photographs from the summit.  Schiehallion is considered by many to be the most beautiful mountain in Scotland.  Seen from Kinlock Rannoch it seems to be a perfect equilateral triangle.  On the summit Nev announced that he had brought the fags so we sat down and made hogs of ourselves.  On the way down we disturbed several ptarmigan, these are really invisible and fly up only when trodden on!!  Returned to Garth Hostel for the night.

Monday 26th. July.

We spent the day geologising in Glen Lion.  Numerous hammer marks were observed by the side of the path.  Garth is the centre of the Scottish Field Studies Association and Glen Lion is supposed to be a geologist’s paradise.  Judging from the state of some boulders, these will not remain so for very long.  We joined in the fun and proceeded to throw stones at the road in an endeavour to break them up.  We were apprehended by a lanky steak of a fellow with a 410 gun who inquired brandishing his weapon, “Hae ye found ana’ gold?”  We replied in the negative and he stumped off down the road discharging his gun in the air.  Dinner consisted of the same ritual of cake and an orange.  We retraced our steps toward the Hostel.  After about two miles we were rapidly overhauled by a hunk of a fellow.  He informed us that he had just climbed Schiehallion.  Judging by his pace, about 6mph, he had not.  After about half an hour of this breakneck pace, we spied a likely looking boulder and murmuring ‘technically impossible’ and ‘couldn’t gat a lay back in that crack’, announced our intention of climbing it.  As out friend disappeared down the road we sank on to the bank and has a smoke.  But such bursts of energy are not to be encouraged.  The evening was pent furthering Anglo-Dutch relationships.  At this point entered the local Young Farmer’s Club, a merry shower.  They entertained us well, Scottish airs, corny sketches, squeeze boxes and bagpipes.  This was at least a change form previous night when we had a non stop performance of the Ash Grove sung in Welsh by a crowd of botanists.  -  tres agreeable.

Tuesday 27th. July.

Had coffee in Aberfeldy, then on to Kinloch Rannock, where we ran out of petrol, and were directed to a posh looking hotel.  We clumped into the main entrance, were frowned on by a butler and directed to the rear, where we were served grudgingly with the necessary.  After taking some shots of Schiehallion over Loch Rannock we visited the pass of Killiekrankie – quite spectacular but very ‘tourised’.  Returned to Strathtummel Hostel for the night.  Improved Anglo-Dutch relations AGAIN!!

Wednesday28th. July.

Drove down to 'Dallmally stopping at Crianleric (?ed.) on the way.  We had tea in the Café.  This place is not too good; we contemplated pinching various articles of furniture, but were prevented by the stern eyes of the maid who did not appreciate our idle patter.  We then repaired to Dalmally.  After supper we climbed a monument to Duncan Ben Macintyre the Highland Bard.  It looked impossible, but yielded to our endeavour, and much pushing from the rear.

Thursday 29th. July.

Went into Oban in the morning and had an encounter with a French car that nearly hit us.  Had a look at climbing the Falls of Cruachin (??ed.), but a route could not be found.  In the evening we pottered down to Kilchurn Castle, built by the Duke of Argyll in 1440.  We sat in the remains of the Duke’s fireplace and smoked a contemplative weed.  Walking back across the marsh a curlew wheeled and called overhead, adding to the ghostliness of the place.

Friday 30th. July.

Left Dalmally intended doing the Cobbler, but the weather did not permit it.  This is a good stock excuse for inactivity in Scotland.  We then went in search of the Fairy Loch.  We ascended the hillside on the banks of Loch Lomond, and eventually found it a miserable puddle six feet square, but of very definite blue colour.  This colour is supposed to be due to the laundering activities of the ‘Wee Folk’; it appears they must use a certain modern detergent!!  We returned to Inverbog Hostel where we spent a very enjoyable evening improving Bristol/Preston relations.

The Saturday and Sunday were spent in returning to Bristol.

If anyone in the Club is going to this part of Scotland next year I can supply them with 1” O.S. Maps and several gen. books.

Chris Falshaw.

Personal

WALLIS – JACKSON.

The engagement is announced between Raymond M. eldest son of Elliot and Isobel Wallis of Grappenhall, Warrington, and Frances Mary, elder daughter of Percy and Helen Jackson of Great Sankey, Warrington.

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Owing to pressure of space it is regretted that the answers to the first set of ‘Can anybody tell me why?’ cannot be included in this month’s BB.  However they will appear next month without fail and I hope you will find them as interesting as I have.  Here is this month’s set of questions; this time the subject is Geology.

Can anyone tell me why?

  1. “The Hillgrove/Wookey Hole ‘Master Fault’ is proving so hard to confirm, as there seems ample indication that the major system based on this fault does really exist?”
  2. “Why is Wookey Hole in Dolomitic Conglomerate and not Cheddar?”
  3. “Why are the lower limestone beds so much richer in fossils than the upper ones?”
  4. “Why do the above fossils remain in the rock in which they are embedded has dissolved?”  “It is realised that obviously the fossils are harder, but is not the limestone composed of fossils in toto?”

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One article has arrived for the ‘centenary’ issue of the BB.  I am hoping for may more.  So pull up your socks and send your contributions to the Editor at the address below.

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BB95-hat.jpgWhilst caving deep neath Mendip land
Among the rocks and bats
A ghastly looking stal. was seen
Like one of Sybil’s FUNNY HATS.

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T.H. Stanbury, Hon. Editor, 48 Novers Park Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.
R.J. Bagshaw, Hon. Sec., 56 Ponsford Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.
A. Sandall, Hon. Assist. Sec., 35 Beauchamp Road, Bishopston, Bristol. 7.