Saturday 26 August 2023

A Walk Up Tom Mor To See The Site Of The Mast That's No Longer There (and heather, trees, clouds, some wildlife & lots of rain)

The summit of Tom Mor

My local hill, Tom Mor, has lost its mast, as I reported in this post earlier in the month. The hill now has a new profile that isn’t dominated by a tall metal structure.

To see what, if anything, was still there I went up Tom Mor on a day of showers, towering clouds, flashes of sunshine and, eventually, steady rain.

Tom Mor heather

Approaching the hill the purple of the heather stood out. It is at its peak now and under the dark clouds it really glowed.

The spreading wood

I also noted how much the pines are spreading out from Ballinlagg Wood on the south-west slopes of Tom Mor. Only decaying remnants of the fence that once surrounded it now remain. The slopes beside and below the wood are used for sheep grazing but in recent years there clearly haven’t been enough of them to stop the forest regenerating.

Rain sweeps across the Cromdale Hills

The estate track to Tom Mor (it doesn’t go quite to the summit) runs round the north side of the hill and here there are views down long Glen More. Squalls of rain swept across the Cromdale Hills on the far side of Strathspey.

Glen More

I left the track, which eventually descends into Glen More, for a short little-used side branch that leads up to the mast site. The hut that was beside the mast was still there. Next to it was the concrete base on which the mast stood. Inside the hut all the electrical paraphernalia and the many cupboards had been removed.

Where the mast was

There was no sign of disturbance on the ground around the hut and the platform. No vehicles had been here. No feet had trampled the ground. The mast had been removed without it toppling over. It must have been by helicopter. I was impressed that there was no trace of those who had done this. I wonder if they will return and remove the hut and platform.

Young pines on the summit of Tom Mor

Leaving the mast site I walked through the heather to the slight rise that marks Tom Mor’s summit. There’s a small cairn here and not far away a much bigger one from where there’s an excellent view of Strathspey and the Cairngorms. Today clouds hid the mountains. Far below I could see the pale line of the River Spey. Small pines sprouted from the heather. One day this will be a wooded hill and its profile will change again.

So far the rain had been light and intermittent but on the summit it became heavier, swept along by a north-west wind. I sheltered behind the big cairn to don my waterproofs and have a bite to eat then set off down through the heather to the wood. The rain stayed with me all the way home.

The conditions were not good for observing wildlife but I did see a red kite soaring over Tom Mor, a kestrel hovering over the fields, three roe deer that raced away into trees long before I was close enough to even think of a photograph, and finally a brown hare on the edge of the wood, where I didn’t get my camera out as the rain was torrential.

No comments:

Post a Comment