Oh deer…

I was up on Beinn Pharlagain yesterday. I had forgotten to check hillphones, so followed the advice which I recalled from the outdoor access code, stick to ridges, stay out of the corries and try to keep disturbance to a minimum. At one point I noticed some stalkers off to the north side of the hill, so kept jout of sight just on the southern side of the ridge. While near the summit I noticed the stalkers again, near the lochan (turns out it was a different party).

On the way down to Lochan Sron Smeur I was approached by the stalker, who informed me that I had spoiled his shoot, and asking why I was not on the path. Apologising for spoiling the shoot I mentioned the above, that I had been on the ridge, not in the corrie, and that I had tried to minimise disturbance.

I was then told that I shouldn’t be there, I should remain on the path, and use them only, the path being the right of way to Corrour, or paths from Rannoch Station to Glencoe. Beinn Pharlagain is a Corbett and like many Corbetts, there is little sign of a path, in this case virtually none. “So that means I can’t go up that hill?” said I. “That’s right” came the reply. He did mention the Outdoor Access Code and the Right To Roam, but did say they didn’t apply if you were causing a disturbance, which I (in his opinion) was. I also pointed out that if there had been a sign at the access point I’d have respected it (assuming it was reasonable).
Sometimes there’s no point arguing, the guy was polite enough, but perhaps had an oversimplistic view of what access rights people have.
I checked when I went home, that estate isn’t on hillphones, or the web counterpart, but a google search found it’s run by the Dunan Estate. Just to check their general policy I called the estate this morning to ask if there was any problem accessing Carn Dearg on Saturday. “Please don’t go there” was the reply.
The estate stretches (according to their website) as far north as Sgor Gaibhre and Carn Dearg. Both of these hills cover a pretty large area in their own right. Rather than promote responsible access they appear to trying to impose a blanket ban on access. Unless of course you are a paying customer, when you are advised that:
“Opening the Ordnance Survey Explorer 385 on the kitchen table at home will provide hours of pleasant anticipation.”

If you are thinking of walking there the contact number is 01869 277 218 or 07768 990 417. Don’t be surprised if they say no…

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