Ben Chonzie

A 'proper' winter hillwalk

Beinn a' Chòinnich (mossy mountain)
24th January

Oh boy, was it windy!

Julie, Deirdre, Roni
Bill, Andy & David


Ben Lawers from Craggantoul

Ben Lawers circuit
Saturday 17th March

The Moray Club have had many Burns night celebrations -
but a weekend in March is a tad late

No camping this time -  but luxury accommodation
 on the shores of Loch Tay.
Craggantoul (stony barn) exceeded all our expectations
Craggantoul sits on the shores of Loch Tay.
 Ben Lawers looked fab with it's wee cap of snow.
Nice to be able to see the hill top from your house.
Brilliant blue skies
 There had been a keen frost, so the strong sunshine was welcome
gearing up in the sun....
 Bill, wrapped up was cold in the shadow it me or is it pretty cold?
 Elizabeth and Jim had plans for low level exploration.
'Aberfeldy coffee shop here we come'
 It was an effort to leave Craggantoul.
South facing, it soaked up the warm sun.
Craggantoul is no 'stony barn'!
 With an access track from our doorstep we made good speed to the
tiny dam in the corrie of Lochan nan Cat.
 We donned winter gear - the dam is at 2000 feet 
and it was cold in the breeze.
Julie, Dee, Ron and David
Ron and Dee gave instructions to each other 
on how best to cross the river!
Dee just loves river crossings
 Our first summit was Meall Garbh, looking an easy grassy walk.
Well it was, but we managed to find the craggy bits.
Its a unique skill to make an easy day more challenging.
David & Andy striding out to Meall Garbh
 We split into two (and a half) groups - 
with different walking speeds and objectives.
Julie, Roni & Dee formed the club ladies section
Who went where?
read on.....


Picture of the Month - December 2012

Loch Lomond

Open Canoe trip -
River Endrick to Balmaha
Andrew and Elizabeth
Late afternoon winter sun.
Cold, crisp and clear - perfect conditions for a trip on the 'lower' 
River Endrick  from Drymen Bridge to Balmaha


Trips during 1994

Pot Pourri

Photographs from 1994 can be found by clicking


On top of the world -
'The Buachaille'


Why do we do - what we do?

This video helps explain
our love of 'Outdoor Scotland'
John Muir Trust

Essential Wildness

turn your sound on and make the video full screen
you will not be disappointed


Picture of the Month - November 2012

Ben Wyvis

 Stairway to Heaven
(or Highway to Hell)

the path to An Cabar
A good moorland path followed by an amazing path to the plateau.
Our pre-dinner walk 2012


Glen Ogle to Callendar

-The final bit-
Balquhidder at it's best

Sunday 19th February

The old rail track (NCN7) we had followed from the head of Glen Ogle now joins the narrow 'B' road 
which runs the length of Balquhidder Glen.

From Easter to September this road isn't quiet - it leads tourist traffic to the Kirk graveyard
to view the last resting place of Rob Roy MacGregor who died in 1734.

Being February - it had very light traffic.

Although cold when cycling there was real warmth in the sun, especially when we sat in front of a white painted house wall....

It turns out that Andy has an 'old' friend who lives in the glen, so in the best Scottish tradition we decided to pay a visit.

As Donald was out, (or hiding from our invading horde) we had no option but to lounge on his front lawn.......
....which was covered by a mass of snowdrops.
We joked about the neighbours telling Donald about a group of cyclists making themselves at home.
Unfortunately we didn't leave at note - 
turns out he was told about us, but couldn't work out who we were!
This noisy group were also 'at lunch', no guessing the alpha female....
Our route to Strathyre passes through the small hamlet of Balquhidder and immediately turns south on a delightful quiet single track road. Hardly any car bound tourists come along here.
For 2.5 km it is 'pan flat' - this allows gab time, as not much concentration is needed....
"Are you talking about us"?
At this point we have looped back on ourselves, it's less than one kilometre from the Glen Ogle railway cycle route, the flood plain of the River Balvaig is the barrier. Pretty boggy!
Boys will be boys......
....pretty impressive boulder balance
Reaching Strathyre, we said goodbye to Ron and Elizabeth,
we never did meet up with Jim, but I suppose it's in keeping with our tradition!
Back in Callandar we puzzled over the masons marks on Ivy Cottage.
Any ideas? 
Answers on a postcard, or alternatively use the comments form......


Glen Ogle to Callendar

-The middle bit-
Freezing on the Freewheel
Sunday 19th February

The flipside of downhill cycling is you don't generate much heat.

So our plan of using the 500+ feet of descent for an easy and sociable day out meant clothing layers, and lots of them. 

Thermal vest, fleece shirt, double-sided pile jacket, warm hat, gloves, thick fact anything that stopped the 'cycling wind' cutting through you.

We were glad of the sun's weak warmth.
Bill, even with panniers over his rear guard, was covered in mud droplets.
Roni was even muddier, and accused Andrew of being the culprit!
Andrew took off through woodland, it was hard going, 
but did warm him up.
Views over Lochearnhead and Loch Earn are particularly good
Route 7 has a variety of distinctive waypoint markers, we've never managed to work out the local connections, any ideas on this one?
Elizabeth seemed to be studying Andrew....
...who was peering at something small.
It was cold after all.
Above Lochearnhead the track descends steeply 
in a series of hairpin bends.
This must be the cycling equivalent of a river kayakers waterfall.
Rapid, dodging obstacales and exhilerating.
  You have to be alert to other 'uphill' bikes, who are usually walking.
The track is gently undulating as it leaves the village,
winding it's way amongst woodland and crossing 
the memorial bridge over Glen Kendrum.
We had lost our covering of ice and snow, 
it was still cold but blue skies are fab!
The posts across the track signal the approach of the minor road leading to Balquhidder.
We had covered 6.5 miles from the top of Glen Ogle in under an hour.
Hardly the stuff of 'serious' cyclists... 
Mostly downhill & not terribly strenuous, but very enjoyable.
Time for some lunch.


Glen Ogle to Callander

-The top bit-
May the force be with us
Cycle route 7
Sunday 19th February
In case you are wondering about the title - it's all to do with gravity.

Most guide books describe the route from Callander to Killin, but knowledge of the terrain (or a look at a map) shows that the least cycling effort is from Glenoglehead back to Callander.

It's easy riding downhill......but make sure you have left a car at your chosen finish point or it's uphill on the way back!

The parking place at the top of the pass is around 950' and here the cycle surface is well engineered.
Its a super link piece, designed to keep cyclists safe from the A85 traffic, the road does have a poor safety record -  it's known as one of Scotland's five most dangerous roads.
Taking care crossing the main road, (it can be hair-raising)
we joined the old Callander and Oban Railway track bed.

The surface was frozen - the steep hillside keeping this part of the track in shade.
We left tyre tracks on the overnight dusting of snow, not many cyclists out today.
Further down the track the low winter sun just had enough warmth to melt the surface so that a fine mud spray rose from your back wheel. 
Lesson - don't cycle too closely or directly behind someone......
The Glen Ogle viaduct.
It gives great views and was a major 19th century engineering feat.

The bridge has 12 stone arches and is constructed with a concrete core clad in local granite

It is grade B listed and is a 'handsome' structure.

Glad of the railings..........its a long drop down....
This route has a few gates and animal grids on it.
They are wide enough to cycle through.
Roni didn't trust advice from Andy or her own judgement!
Andy being a gentleman held open the wooden side gate....
...... but Deirdre sailed over the grid with ease
(and had a grin on her face)
Must say very chic sunglasses......
......what Deirdre couldn't see was the back of her fleece.
Always was (and will be) a dirty girl.


Picture of the Month - October 2012

Ben Lomond

Grumpy Old Woman and Grumpy Old Man

Both were surprised to meet again.
Do Bill and his big sister not speak to each other about 
where they are going?

Bill's beard is almost as white as Muriel's hair!
What's with the jeans Muriel?