Larch Hill: Wee Monica 2

3.26 miles 1h 21m ascent 175m

That’s Larch Hill

Larch Hill from the Yellow Trail

“The planted larch trees are burnished gold.
What a wondrous forest they have become.”


Wee Monica: definition – a hill whose name appears on the OS 1:25K but not the 1:50K.

Larch Hill has had that name for at least a century and a half. I can only presume it was a hill of larches* but its trees have been felled, probably because the trees were infected with Phytophthora ramorum. Almost all the local Larch has gone now. Larch disease is particularly troublesome in areas wetter areas like the SW and larch is now unlikely to be used for new forestry plantations. I will miss their tasselled boughs, burnished gold when Autumn comes and the pinkish blossom heralding Spring.

Back to the walk. It rained heavily, then rained some more, before settling into a steady downpour. But this was the easiest of the recent Monicas. The Yellow walk trail, mostly forestry road passes within 150m of the summit but there is a disused, only slightly overgrown track that goes up to the col between Larch Hill and its unnamed neighbour to the north. Vehicles (felling machinery) must have come this way and have left a route up the remainder of the hill. The ground is a mush and there was plenty of bracken/brambles. A bit of a scramble but easy enough. I would have been a doddle on a dry day.

The main problem was finding the summit. The top of the hill looks as though men in JCBs have had a hillfort building contest. There are several flat areas surrounded by 1-2m high earthworks. We spent a bit of time wandering from one apparent highest point to another. Without surveying equipment it would be impossible to know which is now the summit.

After that is was just a case of finding the way we had come up. Got it on the second attempt then squelched back to car.

*Addendum 2024: I had always presumed this hill was named for the trees that grew on it, but older maps, predating the OS, name it Dularg Hill. Dularg, dhu learg probably means black hill-side. I wonder if this has become learg and then larch.

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