Ben Vorlich - Loch Earn

Mhor of the same please 
Sunday 13th January

After the blue skies and stunning sunset yesterday, it came as a bit of a shock to see the snow had arrived 8 hours earlier than forecast.

Roni's meeting instructions were clear,
 'if you arrive at 9.00 - time for coffee, we leave at 9.30 sharp'

On this occasion everyone was on time!
Fear of Roni, or gasping for coffee?

We were first in the cafe, the heavy falling snow the main topic;
Dee said, 'should I stay or should I go?'

As usual, adventure and good company beckoned......
Mhor Cafe - get in early or be prepared for a wait
Callander was a ghost town, we've never seen it this quiet.
where have all the trippers gone?

The single track road along the south side of Loch Earn, passes the attractively restored 16th century Edinample Castle. Today all eyes were on the road in case of ice. Ardvorlich House - home of the Stewarts of Ardvorlich, is the normal start point up Ben Vorlich.

south Loch Earn road
The tree lined east driveway leads past the stables and farm.
From memory the garden in front of the wall always has interest, 
but in January!
What shrub is in prolific bloom?
East driveway - Ardvorlich Estate
Bill guessed an Azelea Praecox - flowering in the middle of January is highly unusual, it's normally Mid March and into April.
Wonder if the wet and mild spell over December has confused it?
Azelea -  blooming in winter ?
Ardvorlich Estate has always been walker friendly, a discreet sign pointing to the winding track beside the 
pleasantly wooded Ardvorlich Burn.
Ardvorlich is a category B listed building
Easy walking on the track takes you through scattered birches.
Powering on in front - as usual....
The trees were holding a fair amount of snow - the trick was to hit a branch just as someone walked under it..........
admiring the snowy trees.....
We had two 'friends' waiting for us, Highland garrons (ponies) who spend life on the hill.
'Garron' appears to be an English corruption of the Gaelic, 'gearran' meaning gelding - which, in case you don't know
is a castrated male horse .....
No matter what you call them, they are hardy beasts indeed.
Graham's be(a)st friends
With heavy snowfall the ponies have to clear snow 
to get to the vegetation.
Makes you wonder about the saying 'scraping a living'.
'I'm hungry'
It was very picturesque - but we knew that on the open hill, blizzard conditions were guaranteed.
fresh falling snow
At the track end and just before the Allt a Coire Bhuidhe a new intake dam has been formed as one of three feeds to the small hydro electric scheme on the estate.
None of this infrastructure existed when we last visited Ben Vorlich in December 2007
Intake dam on Allt a Coire Bhuide
This scheme was one of the first to take advantage of the UK governments Feed in Tariff for electricity production.
It produces an average of 2,400MWh, so you can work out the income if you wish!

It is well designed and isn't obtrusive - rather this than a few wind turbines on the ridge.


Alexander Watson said...

On hearing the name on television several months back I thought it was too much a coincidence for it not to be something I was associated with in the dark ages of 1964.I was pleasantly surprised therefore to see my name on your website along with a photograph of the original committee on Red Pike,Buttermere in 1965.(I'm 2nd on left squatting) I'm so pleased that the club survived and grew into something of real purpose and from what I have seen on your pages everyone associated with it appear to have shared some wonderful memories together? I note that Eric Scott was involved in the early years and I sincerely hope my friend survived into old age like yours truly??
I myself reside in the south east of England now after a long work association on the European continent.
I still have family ties in the Glasgow area which I last visited back in 2009 so I would be interested in meeting up with some of you should I come up in the future?

Sincerely, Alex.Watson.

MC said...

Hello Alex,

What pleasant surprise your email was.

Delighted to hear from you, it must have made you smile to see your name in our ‘history’ - and with picture too.

The Moray Club has had many adventures in the outdoors over the years, membership numbers have varied from a few friends in the late 1970’s to over 50 in the mid 1990’s. As always, people come and go as circumstances change, but there remains a core, keen to be out on the hills.

You ask after Eric, sadly he passed away in August last year aged 81. He was still active in the club, attending our Annual Dinner and Burns suppers. He was always full of enthusiasm and generous with his time for Outward Bound and the Moray Club.

It would be a pleasure to meet you the next time you are in Glasgow.
Kind Regards

Alex said...

Hello Bill,

Many thanks for your kind reply and yes it was a delight to see my name & picture on your 'History page'.

Very sad news about Eric. I didn't realise he was ten years older than myself, but there you go?
It would have been nice to have had a word or two with him and catch up on his life in general.

However, it is nice to know that his enthusiasm and generosity was still there in abundance as they were when he helped me set up the Moray Club at the start.

If I do manage to get up to Scotland in the near future I will be sure to give you a call.