Schiehallion: The almost silent mountain


Biggles, or Brother Biggles as I should now call him, has apparently taken a solemn vow of silence. I can think of no other way to explain how we managed to walk to, and return from, the summit of Schiehallion with so few aarffing incidents.

Unlike the human vow of silence, it seems the Beagle version doesn’t require complete abstinence from vocalisation. There are exclusion clauses covering minor woofings related to:

  • sheep
  • postmen
  • people with strange hats
  • sisters who steal your place on the sofa

Clause#1 saw some use just as we exited the Braes of Foss car park and started our ascent, but this aarffage was half-hearted and very shortlived, exactly in line with Biggles’ vow. Thereafter he stayed quiet – even when we passed another couple with a very woofy Wiemaraner – and we made it to the start of the rock-strewn upper section of the mountain without any illicit outbursts.


An excellent path takes you a fair way up the mountain


But after that the route becomes increasingly rocky



Pretty soon, you’re having to pick your way over and around rocks of all shapes and sizes


It’s a walk that should be attempted by only the most intrepid explorers

We passed a few other walkers, some with  sticks and even hats, but Biggles managed to keep his peace.



Soon the small pile of stones marking the summit came into view, and still Brother Biggles kept his vow of (almost) silence.



Made it!


At the top we discovered a lone red rose that had been inserted into the cairn by an earlier walker.


IMG_8024 - A lone rose left in the summit cairn by another walker

It was a lovely gesture, which Beanie repaid by knocking half of the cairn stones right back down the mountain.


Er.. Oops

Visibility wasn’t particularly good this time around – we’d seen a lot more of the surrounding scenery on our previous visit – but the great thing about Schiehallion is that its rocky terrain is a view in itself.




The scents at the top were great though; Beanie and Biggles stood virtually motionless for minutes at a time as the mountain breezes brought new aromas to their eager noses. Only the opening of our traditional summit sandwiches snapped them back out of their nasal “condor” moment.




Having surrendered a sandwich each to our Beagles, we packed up and set off back down. This is always the most testing time for our little boy. I don’t what it is about going down a mountain that excites him so much, but if he’s going to have a serious aarrfing session, it’ll happen on the way down. This time however, it didn’t. I had both Beanie and Biggles tied to me for the return journey and though they were eager to keep moving neither of them fell into a baying frenzy. We did admittedly get a very minor outburst from the two of them as we passed by those pesky sheep near the bottom (again), but it was over in seconds. Well, a couple of minutes anyway . OK, five minutes at the most, but as already stated a brief sheep-related aarrffing session is permitted by the Beagle Vow of Silence. Susan was so pleased with Biggles’ new found self control that she picked him up and gave him hugs and kisses when we got back the car.


Very embarassing, Mum! I mean, I’m three years old now, you know?

During the long drive back we stopped in Aberfeldy for fish & chips, and some left-over fish and a couple of chips somehow made it into Beanie & Biggles bowls when we got home.