Thursday, 29 August 2013

What's in a name? - Craignagour Hill and Scraulac

I walked west from Mona Gowan across a shallow bealach (col) to the next top on the ridge. This hill continued the goaty theme, it's name being Cairnagour Hill, a version of Cairn na Gobhar (cairn of the goats).  At one time presumably there was a herd of goats on these hills, but they're long gone.  The view here is looking back to Mona Gowan with Morven in the distance.

The ridge culminates a further kilometer or so to the west on a top called Scraulac.  No goat association here and I puzzled over the unusual name until I got to the summit.  The rock here is different to the other hills, a blocky quartzite which is quite unusual locally.  The Gaelic speaking people tended to name hills quite prosaically, and I think that Scraulac may be a version of Sgritheall-ach (scree place).  Just my guess of course - Gaelic mountain nomenclature is sometimes a hotly disputed subject!

My descent followed the line of an estate boundary, marked in fine Victorian style by granite blocks incised with a "C" on one face and an "I" on the other.  These are likely to represent Candacraig estate to the eastern side of the boundary and Inchrory estate to the west.

Candacraig House is these days owned by the comedian and former shipyard worker Billy Connolly while the estate remains in the possession of a Mr F. Wallace.  Inchrory is a huge estate, some 41,000 acres of mainly rough moorland and is owned by a secretive Malaysian businessman.  The shooting parties I saw out on the hill were on Inchrory ground, which was good as my descent was down Candacraig ground - I had no desire to spoil their day (and hopefully they wouldn't have spoiled mine either!)

There's a fine view of Mona Gowan on the descent; from most other angles it's not really a very prominent hill.

The day was very warm as I headed back to the forest edge, my track out can be seen on the right of this picture.

In the patches of muirburn were loads of Cowberry plants (Vaccinium vitis-idaea), the glossy berries shining in the sun. Also known as lingonberry, it's a plant of high heaths and is much used in Scandinavian cuisine.

The final couple of kilometers of my walk were on the road, but as fine a road as you could wish to walk, trees on one side and a burn (stream) on the other.

The round of Mona Gowan, Craignagour Hill and Scraulac is a great half day out in a quieter part of the country for hillwalking - really recommended.

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