Lochlyock Hill and back, via Tinto!

Tinto

Tinto

As I said in one of my blogs a short while ago, I tend to try and follow the best weather when I plan a walk these days.  This was once again the case last Sunday as our original plan had been to go up to Glencoe and to walk Beinn a’ Chrulaiste.  It’s a hill we’ve visited before but is in a great location …sitting as it does on the opposite side of the glen to Buachaille Etive Mor, and right on the edge of Rannoch Moor.  In the past we’d climbed the hill via a broad heathery and steep gully between the crags on its southern flanks.  We’d also scrambled the ‘pink rib’, a relatively easy scramble (if your sight is good) that runs up the crags on the east side of the gully…..but on both occasions the weather had been very poor and we had little if any views.  Indeed, the pink rib was done in driving rain, hail and near the top wet snow, driven on by a strong gusting wind.  I was then hoping to catch a fine day to go back to this hill, and had planned to walk it from Kingshouse, up its more gentle southeast slopes.  Sadly though the forecast for the west of Scotland were pretty bad once again and so as with the previous weekend we looked east for slightly better conditions.

 

 

Lochlyock Hill from Tinto

Lochlyock Hill from Tinto

After some consideration we decided to head over to Lanarkshire and do a walk on Tinto.  As with Beinn a’ Chrulaiste, we’d walked this hill a couple of times in the past and similarly on both occasions we’d seen little if any views ….it’s relatively low summit being well shrouded in mist.  Tinto is a very easy hill and makes for a popular weekend afternoon walk.  The huge path that runs from the car park (on the NE side of the hill) makes a broad scar across the higher heather covered slopes and on Sunday a lot of folk seemed to be just walking to the top and back.  It certainly wasn’t perfect weather, but the cloud was above the top (707m) and as we plodded up the track there were odd signs of brightness every now and then.  It was busy though and if we’d stayed on the main track for much longer I reckon I’d have lost my voice from saying ‘hello’ so many times!  And it wasn’t just walkers out enjoying this superb little hill.  When we reached the cold windy summit, there were two people with paragliders floating around in the strong wind.

 

Our plan though was to head west over to a small outlying top, Lochlyock Hill.  Within a couple of minutes of leaving the summit we’d left most of the other walkers and had a very pleasant wander down and then across to this quiet little grassy top.  We did meet a few people but mostly had the place to ourselves.  We managed to get down out of the wind and had lunch looking out over the Lanarkshire countryside.  By this time the sun was starting to come out and our walk back across and up to the summit of Tinto again was really lovely.  The sky looked very dramatic and the colours in the landscape were bright and quite intense at times.

Although this is not a huge hill, the views from the top on a clear day are quite extensive. ….according to one book I read summits as far away as the Lake District, to the south and the Cairngorms to the north have been spotted.  Needless to say, this fuzzy eyed walker didn’t spot anything so distant but if you were to catch a warm day when the wind wasn’t cutting you in half …well it’d be worth a look!  This isn’t probably one for the craggy hill men and woman that want a bit of a challenge, but it is a fine place to walk and makes a very nice change from the Highlands.  Well worth a visit.

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