As regular readers know, “planning” is the watch-word here at FishBox HQ. Nothing is done without months of diligent research and planning. So it will come as no surprise to you that today’s walk came about over the coffee and toast this morning with the maps scattered about. The bothy at Tunskeen caught the eye and with barely a “We haven’t been there yet, have we Jazz?” a plan for an easy saunter along forest tracks hatched. And, of course, plans change…
The forestry boys have been busy in the area, but with Willow Warblers newly arrived and vocal it was a pleasant jaunt along tracks we’ve been before. Then as we head along the track to Tunskeen bothy the rain joined us. Jazz came up with the splendid notion of having an early lunch at the bothy to let the shower pass. The bothy was in good shape and we were pleased to see that during the week a bunch of primary school-kids had been and had a great time: it’s things like this that change people for life – it did for me 1. While we waited we had a look at the map and realised that Macaterick was “just over the hill”. Wouldn’t it be stupid not to do it while we were here? It is a hill that isn’t big enough to get on any list, isn’t that dramatic, and is very remote: so it is never visited. And so the “nice forest saunter” plan bites the bog because from here things get very squelchy and rough.
The route is basically to the right of Macaterick and then left along the ridge to the summit. Unfortunately the going is pretty awful with rough heather and tussocky grass. It’s also pretty obvious that no-one comes here as there is not even a hint of a path. However, the view from the top is superb with the Wolf Slock and Rhinns of Kells off to the east, the Merrick and Kirriereoch to the west, and the Loch Macaterick at our feet. While we had a breather a female Sparrowhawk passed us by at the summit: what was she doing here? I took quite a few photos because I had the feeling this is one of those places that we won’t be returning to in this lifetime.
I had thought a circuit through the forest would be good, but after trudging over rough ground and a lot of forestry work in the area making a right old mess of things, we decided to just return via the bothy. The weather had improved nicely and so we had a lovely April afternoon with lots of big skies and fluffy clouds. On returning to the bothy we took a chair out into the “garden”, shared an apple and watched the clouds scurry over Shalloch on Minnoch: an excellent way to pass the time. The walk back on a lovely smooth, dry track was just great after an afternoon of ankle-crushing wet tussock grass.
- Thanks Mr Porteous. ↩
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