Posts Tagged ‘conic hill’

Conic ♠


In preparation for the Tour de ben Nevis myself and Spad headed up Conic hill for some hike-a-biking practice. Conic hill is not very high but it is steep and gnarly. It was a magnificent night, the air was still, the moon was hung massive and full in the South East; we set about looking for the path less traveled and ended up scrambling through the waist height ferns in the dark wood looking for the steeps i had frequented before (see previous post). We found them eventually but decided it was to dangerous to attempt them in the dark overgrown especially after my propensity for crashing lately. The third is yet to come. They say a pictures worth a thousand words so here’s 2.145 of them to describe our experience.

Balmaha – Conic Hill.

I wanted to head to the top of Conic Hill, but despite the spring in the air and brilliant sunshine there was too much snow and ice on the trail to make it worth while. The descent would have been pretty dangerous and not much craic. However on the way back down I found some great little trails hidden away in the woods. They were very steep pretty loose and technical, a great wee play ground. Spent quite a while carrying the bike up steep inclines and skittering down trying to retain grip, which i lost a couple of times, luckily not at the crux of anything major so I managed not to pitch it over. Still got a nasty scrape on my knee after sconing it off a fallen tree. There’s something really comforting about just messing around in the woods on your own, maybe it just reminds me of my childhood, whatever it was a fine day. Bring on the spring.

One week later…

I headed up Conic hill from Drymen my hope that the majority of the snow had melted proved futile as the north side was still caked in the stuff. So after much huffing and puffing I managed to shoulder the bike up the 360m, not after sinking in some snow drifts and getting thoroughly soaked mind you. The ground was particularly wet as was the main part of the steep descent which is excellent. Dropping 360m in just over a km gives you an idea of the gradient. It is not a fast descent however, it is loose and rocky with a myriad of lines to choose. What is fast is the frequency of the rocks and steps coming at you and looking far enough ahead to choose the right line is tricky as the terrain is pretty severe under wheel. Is it worth the walk up? I would say yes but I don’t mind a bit of hike a biking. It’s a lot of time spent for a short descent, but the quality of the terrain is great, nothing beats a real rugged natural trail. Add to this the woods behind Balmaha which are full of classic flowing singletrack and the aforementioned steep stuff further up the hill. I’ve updated the video with the conic adventure…


About High-8

High-8 is a loose gathering of like minded adventurists who document first person, on the ground experiences with words, photos and film. The hope is to form a rough guide to outdoor adventure sports in Scotland and provide a warts and all, honest representation of what we find. No sport is excluded from mountaineering and mountain biking to gorge walking and kayak all are welcome and encouraged.

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The Code

The Country Code, which most of us learned in school (and we probably haven't read since!), was updated in 2004 when it became the Countryside Code. Here's the updated version:
  • Be safe - plan ahead and follow any signs
  • Leave gates and property as you find them
  • Protect plants and animals, and take your litter home
  • Keep dogs under close control
  • Consider other people
In Scotland, where there is a more general right of access, there also exists the Scottish Outdoor Access Code:
  • Take responsibility for your own actions
  • Respect people’s privacy and peace of mind
  • Help farmers, landowners and others to work safely and effectively
  • Care for the environment
  • Keep your dog under proper control
  • Take extra care if you are organising a group, an event or running a business.
There's obviously a lot to to be learned from these - it's amazing how many people get out to enjoy the countryside but are still happy to leave it in a mess. Even with the recent updates, the Countryside Codes seem slightly outdated when considering the wider issues involved when lots of people get out into the countryside. Some places just can't handle high volumes of people, no matter how they behave and publicity, no matter how interesting or well-done , has the potential to attract lots of people to an area. Blogs including video, pictures or words, form part the the wider media which could easily contribute to tipping the balance, and so we as bloggers have to consider the implications of what we decide to post. Can the place we're writing about take more people, and if not, it might be wiser to leave maps, place names or grid references out of posts. In Scotland, the Mountain Bothies Association has been careful to protect the location of some Bothies due to mis-treatment and, in some cases, even malicious vandalism. That is not to say they would not advocate people using them - in fact, a well used, maintained and loved network of bothies exist, and the MBA as an organisation is there to encourage this. Some bothies are busier than others but generally it is the less remote places which are more susceptible to abuse - something which might be worth considering when deciding whether to post information. It must be said, in most cases it's obvious what should or shouldn't be publisiced, but it's worth taking these considerations to mind.

Please note: The Code is constantly being revised and added to. If you like to add something login in to the discussion on the forum.