Hill: Carn a'Chuilinn
Date: Friday 23rd July 2010
Company: Just me
Time: 4Hrs 30Mins


For several years, I have postponed an ascent of Carn a'Chuilinn - owing to potential access issues with construction of Glendoe dam and now subsequent repairs to Glendoe dam. However, given repairs are likely to continue for many more months, I decided to go for it this weekend. On arriving at Glendoe, I parked at the main gate and got out to speak with the security guard. I posed the question, “Can you please advise what the position is with regard to access to the hills?”. The guard at the front gate was actually really friendly. He advised that they could not stop hillwalkers from going up the hills, however, they did not want hillwalkers walking through the site i.e. between the main gate and the rear gate. He advised that I should, “skirt round the site to gain access to the hill”. The guard also advised of large trucks using the access road and to make sure I got off the road if trucks were passing. Maybe access wasn't going to be a problem after all. I then got back in my car to find a suitable parking place. I eventually parked about 400m down the hill in a Parking lay-by where there is room for circa 8 cars.

Fort Augustus from lay-by parking:


Parking:
 

From the car I walked back up the road to the main gate, where the guard gave me a friendly wave, and then I continued on for just over 100m to the edge of the site. At the edge of the site I was confronted with the following sign, which I chose to ignore. Contrary to Scottish Outdoor Access Code?

Signage at edge of construction site (100m from main gate):


I skirted round the site as best as I could along the edge of a small wood.

Skirting round construction site:


On reaching the rear gate, at the far end of the site, I was confronted by another security guard. His greeting was, “Can I help you, where do you think you are going?” I don't think the quite-young security guard expected me to challenge him, but I did. “I'm going up that hill (pointing to hill) and I know my access rights.” Surprisingly, his reply was then, “Ok then off you go”. Great, past both gates and onto the main track. There are plenty of signs along the track - Health & Safety signs, Traffic signs, Archaeological signs?

More keep out signs:


Just past the second gate there were sheep and cattle.

Hillwalkers have to stay off the track but nae problem if you're a sheep or a coo.

Cattle:
 

Lochan next to track, below Borlum hill:


Looking back along track:


Every 4x4 and truck that passed me on the way up gave me a friendly wave. Quite a few of the following signs alongside the track.

More signage:


Was great to leave the main track and get back to normal hillwalking.

Looking towards 781m top of Carn a'Chuilinn:


Stalker's path towards Carn a'Chuilinn:
 

Looking back to main track:


From the stalker's path I opted to ascend towards a large cairn just below the 781m top. This looked easier than skirting round the hill to get to Carn a'Chuilinn.

Ascending towards cairn before 781m top:


View from cairn:


From the cairn, I continued on to the 781m top and then to the summit of Carn a'Chuilinn.

Heading towards Carn a'Chuilinn:


Lochans between 781m top and summit:


Summit cairn in distance:


Large cairn at summit:


From the summit I could see a track not marked on my map. This track gets quite a bit closer to Carn a'Chuilinn than the faint stalker's path I followed.

Main track from summit:


Track not marked on map:


I descended directly from Carn a'Chuilinn summit back towards the stalker's path and then followed the stalker's path out to the main track. Within a minute of reaching the main track. A truck stopped and the driver advised me to be careful on the track as it was used by heavy machinery. Friendly advisory. On reaching the rear gate to the site, I again skirted round the site.

More signs:


Glad I have now ascended this hill. Most of the site workers I met were friendly but some of the signs possibly contravene the Outdoor Access Code.