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Glenmore Bothy, Uamh Tom Mhor fhir Cave, Geal Charn Bothy, Schiehallion, Scotland
[25.0 km]  Tue 18 Jul 2017

OS Grid ref: NN 75332 55681
Lat/Long: 56.676205, -04.036306

It was a clear morning as I drove the short distance to the Braes of Foss car park to walk around Schiehallion. I was the only car there but had problems with the pay meter as I put my £2 in and after pressing the green button no ticket came out. I left a note in my car explain the situation and set off on my walk. As I passed the machine I tried pressing the buttons again and a ticket came out. I put it in the car and re-started my walk.

Hat/net was the only solution for the midges
I was on the main path up the mountain for a while but left it where a green track crossed it to head south. It was warming up so I stopped to take a layer off. I was immediately covered in midges so had to get my hat with protective net which kept them away. The track ended after about 1km and continued as a deer track. I was heading generally up the glen and wanted to get a bit closer to the river. It was easy going following the deer track and I came to a point looking down on some old shielings where there was evidence of ridge and furrow agriculture under the heather. I descended down to the ruins and followed a path by the river and continued upstream.
Bothy ruin
I came to another group of shieling remains and was able to cross the river without any problems. Up to the southwest I could see Glenmore Bothy and headed straight for it. The going was a bit rough in places as I didnít have a track to follow. The bothy was substantial, in excellent condition and unlocked. There were two rooms downstairs and two sleeping areas upstairs.
Glenmore Bothy

Glenmore Bothy

Glenmore Bothy interior
The front door looked straight across to Schiehallion. My next objective was to investigate the area used for the 1774 south base line used in the survey of Schiehallion for Maskelyneís pendulum deflection experiment to calculate the mass of the earth. I descended back to the river where there was a large area of flat ground which was the only area they could have used for a base line for the land survey.
Schiehallion from Glenmore Bothy door

Looking east to Schiehallion with the base-line site in the foreground
They would probably have used wooden pegs to mark the ends but I though they may have left stone cairns as well. There was no sign of anything. I walked the route of the base line east to west which was just under 1km. At the river I walked upstream to the overgrown foundations of an old bothy then crossed the river to head north to an area of old shielings and to try and find a cave shown on the map. The name is Uamh Tom a Mhor fhir and the position is shown on the 1:50k map but not the 1:25k. It is a natural cave below a depression in the ground and about 4m long.
Uamh Tom a Mhor fhir Cave
The entrance has evidence of stonework and it could have been used as a cool store by the adjacent settlement. I headed up the ridge to the west to a high point with a small cairn. I had an excellent view down the valley and the various settlements that would have probably have housed 200 people in the early 1800s.
Red Screes summit cairn
Away in the distance I could see the Geal Charn Bothy and I passed several small tarns on the way to it. The outside is rather shambolic but inside the stonework is tidy with a hearth and chimney. There is also a track running up to it that ends outside the door. I followed the track down to the north for about 1km then left it to head south east towards Schiehallion.
Geal Charn Bothy

Bothy interior

View to Schiehallion
I descended down to the Blar na Feadaig bothy but didnít go inside as Iíve visited it before. I then started my climb up to Schiehallion summit along a pathless route Iíve used before. Eventually I came to a faint path up the west ridge which I followed upwards. Just below the summit I collected a few small quartzite stones. Above me I could see several people on the summit.
I walked up and enjoyed the views and also tried to find the 1774 survey station location. The old Ordnance Survey trig post is long gone but its concrete base is still there. I donít think that location would have been used in 1774 as the north and south base lines couldnít be seen, just the south was visible. Moving to the west I found a point where I could see both base lines. I started my descent to the east following the line of the main tourist path, though it is only marked with small cairns in places. Just before the path started the steep descent to the east I took the steeper pathless slope to the north as I wanted to visit the site of the 1774 north observatory site.
West view from Schiehallion summit

South base line area from the summit

North base line area from the summit
 The first steep bit was quite easy as it was soft short heather. I continues to the observatory site and placed a marker cross of toilet roll held down with stones. The reason was I wanted to be able to identify the site from the road and there was nothing of note to see seen. The thin paper would soon deteriorate when the rains came. Once down to the road I could see the cross through the binoculars. It was then an easy walk back to the car park where most of the cars had left.
Site of the North Observatory Station site