Mochrum Fell GM/SS-250
This is another bonus summit. Again another heavily wooded summit that has been harvested and replanted. Again there are suggested routes and I had them download for the GPS. Again I have a folding pruning saw to help get you through places where growth needs trimming. Again I forgot it. (Memo to shelf, get brain fixed when getting intermittent dash fixed).
There are various approaches but most go up from near Mochrum House. Mochrum is a private estate so I was reluctant to drive on private property without permission. Well you wouldn't like someone driving on your tracks and land without asking. As I got nearer, I started looking for my pre-check parking places. At one farm there were plenty of people in the farmyard, so I drove in, pulled up and asked about parking either in their yard or nearer. At this point it would add 20mins to a 40min walk but as I had nothing to do but eat and drink on return it didn't bother me. With all I'd eaten for breakfasts the walk would be useful.
An exceptionally pleasant farmer's wife listened and told me I had no need to park here but I could if I wanted. She said you can drive up onto the estate with no problems and even looking at my low slung car, she pronounced it more than enough for the track. Hmmmm! I have a dent in a silencer after similar advice. We chatted about Mochrum Fell and she wished me luck as the seedlings were now starting to become trees! I drove off and that's when I noticed there were enough guns to start a small war with the other people in the yard. In the end I drove onto the private track and parked up in an off-track area with a large pile of road gravel in it just before the turning for Little Mochrum Cottage around NX731745. From here I followed the track till I was behind the house and then looked for a like path through the harvesting and new plantings.
So there was significant amounts of brash on the ground and this must have been harvested a while back from the amount of moss and grass etc. that covered it. Then there was last years briars and brambles. Plus this years fresh brambles which were more of an issue. Oh, it was steep-ish too. So I struggled up trying to not get tripped by brambles or cut. Fail. Lots of cuts and lots of tripping. I tried not to collapse through rotten branches on the ground. Fail, they collapsed even with my dainty figure standing on them. Grr! Much swearing and grumbling got me from the track to the start of the proper planted trees, everything else was self-seeded or deciduous trees or bushes or just Scottish Jungle. Oh and it was still windy and the wind was cold but the sky was 33% blue and it was quite warm out of the wind.
You get a bit of a breather when you get to the wall. The air here is very clean hence the masses of moss and lichens growing everywhere.
But you are faced with fewer brambles and more trees.
Getting to the trees is easy. Getting through the tress is hard work. Recent baggers will tell you they didn't find it much of an issue but Pines grow quickly. Those trees are all 6ft minimum now with some nearer 8-9ft. The lower branches tend to be touching the branches of their neighbours and when you add in that you are walking over the brash from the harvesting plus brambles to trip you it becomes fun. Well I was laughing a lot as I crashed through finding old stump holes full of water and falling over into brambles.
TBH, it was probably just 15-20mins of effort but it was made more tantalising by the trig being visible in the distance through much junior forest. At the top I found some young trees to lash the antenna to and I was back in business in no time with the Blackberry and satellite spotter doing sterling service. Just 60/30m on this one but midweek mid-afternoon and 35 QSOs in the log sounds good to me. I spent the time operating looking back at the plantation to see if there was an obvious way off I had missed. I couldn't see anything that screamed "Walk this way".
The WX was quite nice in that it was now T-shirt weather. Bengairn was too cold and windy to it in a fleece unless you were out of the wind. There was enough blue sky and sun to make this enjoyable. I was looking North trying to get some idea where I was in relation to bits of Scotland I know well. I was able to make out Fell Hill SS-217 which I bagged last Summer. There were the start of Windfarm works there when I was there and much activity on the neighbouring hill. Well they were now installing the masts and turbines on Fell Hill. Another SOTA summit spoilt especially as these green devices emit lots of RF noise. Bah! In fact I have never seen so many turbines as down here. The last time I was down to do Shalloch on Minnoch I passed some massive installation projects and I check that as of Sumer 2016 there were still 1200 turbines with planning approval waiting to being installed in Dumfries and Galloway. Mochrum Fell now is to have a windfarm installed despite massive local objections. Hey ho.
The view from my shack, doesn't look to hard to walk through that does it?
The trig with my camera autoexposure making the sky look a lot worse than it was.
Here's something you may not know, OS trigpoints are massive sources of static electricity, You should always ground them before operating by them. You can tell this the way touching an ungrounded trig is making all the hair on my face and head stand on end!
The route back was the reverse. But I tried for easier paths and think I found them. Hard to see on the way up but easier on the way down. Once I got back to the wall I went down much further to right of Mochrum House. There was signifcantly fewer brambles this way. I got back to the track about 200m along from the house. If you go this way, when you get to the house keep going to the high point of the track then go about 150-200m more and then go up.
Think it's easy to walk through those young trees, think again.