Black Mount - 516m
Saturday 26th November 2011

Weather/Conditions: Wind, spits of rain and growing darkness - it was gloomy, but a lot of fun and not as bad as expected
Distance/Ascent/Time: 6.1km / 270m / 1h
Accompanying: Alone

Black Mount is (probably) one of the only hills I've ever climbed whereby I didn't know of it's existence an hour before reaching the summit. It is also one of the only hills on my website's long list where I have no pictures of the trip.

Black Mount is an area of high ground above the village of Elsrickle. I don't often go up hills south of the Central Belt but this was one of them. I'd originally planned to go to Glen Coe, but the winds were very high and I abandoned going. I spent the weekend at home instead. But the family were going to Elsrickle where I have relatives. I drove there and the car was all over the place, pushed by violent gusts. A (very large) sheet of plywood (I think) was blown over the top of the roofs of the cars in front of me, spanning the road clean from one field to the other. So it probably wasn't a weekend to be up hills, then...

We got to Elsrickle, and everyone knew I'd cancelled my Glen Coe weekend. Black Mount was suggested instead, since it was behind Elsrickle and manageable before darkness. At first I wasn't sure whether to go because I didn't have my camera - I hadn't anticipated a hill! But I went for it anyway and Ian dropped me off at the end of the track with the promise that we'd stay in touch to arrange my pick up.

I followed a track out of Elsrickle, trying to get into the rhythm of walking (and occasionally running). The weather was a bit grim and the land was characterised by livestock, gates and fencing. If the name Black Mount comes literally from it's colour then I can understand why - the summit is one of very dark heather, and under boiling cloud the effect is only enhanced. If you want to see how grazing affects the land then here you will find a carpet of dark heather on one side of the fence and cropped, bright green grass on the other.

The wind blew with some force, although wasn't as bad as I'd expected. I reached the trig point with relief - but I'd had it quite easy. The wind literally pushed me uphill all the way. The trig seemed a bit worse for wear with some blocks missing and to make sure I'd reached the highest point I walked along the very level ridge for two hundred metres until I was satisfied I was on top. (The games we play, eh?)

I phoned Ian to ask him to pick me up on the opposite side of the hill as I didn't want to return the way I'd came. So I ran off the southern slopes and into the little corrie below. I emerged onto fields by the road and did a bit of fence-jumping to get back to The Bank (a farm) where Ian rolled up soon after.

Times (Time relative to 0.00)
(0.00) 3.13pm Elsrickle (start)
(0.26) 3.39pm Black Mount
(1.00) 4.13pm The Bank (end)

Written: 2012-02-01