Five New Donalds above the Megget Reservoir

Donalds: Cramalt Craig, Dollar Law, Greenside Law

Date walked: 16/11/2014

Time taken: 6.75 hours

Distance: 23.3km

Ascent: 1050m

I set out this morning to ascend some Manor Donalds. The drive from Peebles as far as Cappercleuch was through thick fog. I was hoping this was just a thin layer of inversion. On seeing glimpses of blue sky above the mist, I knew this was going to be a good day :).

On reaching the Megget Reservoir, I parked in a small car park just below Cramalt where there is room for several cars.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

Before setting off walking, I took a photo of the Megget Reservoir dam.

Megget Reservoir dam from monument car park:

I decided to start off with an ascent of Clockmore and then see how far I could progress within available daylight. To gain access to the hillside, I climbed over a fence a short distance up the track leading to Cramalt. This would be the first of many fences to clamber over today.

Within five or ten minutes of setting off, I was already being treated to fine views down to the Megget Reservoir.

Megget Reservoir from just above Cramalt:

On reaching a barbed-wire fence, I followed the fence to its end where it was possible to climb over a wooden gate instead of rusty barbed-wire.


I then followed a vehicle track as far as it helped me progress towards the summit of Clockmore. The final hundred or so metres of ascent was up trackless terrain.

Megget Reservoir from slopes of Clockmore:

West end of Megget Reservoir and Meggethead:

I reached the summit of Clockmore circa 45 minutes after setting off from the car. Clockmore is a New Donald but is not a Donald. It was nice to look across to Broad Law. I ascending Broad Law back in 2008 - my first day on the Donalds.

Looking towards Broad Law from the summit of Clockmore:

Somehow I managed to miss the track descending from Clockmore towards Pykestone Knowe. After a fair bit of heather-bashing and hag-avoidance, I managed to get myself onto the track. The track was fairly wet underfoot as you can see from the next photo.

Looking back to Clockmore during ascent of Pykestone Knowe:

After ascending Pykestone Knowe I continued to follow the track towards Cramalt Craig. By following the track, I lost more height than I needed to however by following the track I did manage to avoid having to cross through an area of peat hags.

Ascending Cramalt Craig:

The ascent of Cramalt Craig was straight-forward, mostly up short, dry grass.

Looking back to Clockmore, Pykestone Knowe and Megget Reservoir:

It was nice to see lots of inversion down below. I decided to take some photos into the sun hoping to avoid lens flare. I switched the camera to manual and set the exposure to 1/4000 to stop the photo from being mega-bright.

Inversion in the glens:

During the final ascent of Cramalt Craig, I stopped to take a zoomed-in photo of the radar and transmitter at the summit of Broad Law.

Looking across to summit of Broad Law from Cramalt Craig (zoom):

It was nice to reach the summit of Cramalt Craig, the highest point of the day. Cramalt Craig used to be a Corbett but was demoted when it was found to not have a 150m drop all round. The drop is apparently only 147.4m! Cramalt Craig is therefore now a Corbett Top as well as a Donald, New Donald and HuMP!

At the summit of Cramalt Craig:

While at the summit of Cramalt Craig, I took a photo of a group of hills in the distance that I believe to be the Eildons.

The Eildons (zoom):

From Cramalt Craig, I decided to head out to Hunt Law. This would involve an out and back with a 240m drop.

Descent towards Hunt Law:

From several kilometres away I could see a big wide track running across Hunt Law. My guess is the landowner is a d**k (a bit like the one at Achnasheen). If building a track don't just bulldoze your way across the hill leaving massive piles of earth at the side. My guess is this track has been put in by the landowner with a view to trying to get a windfarm built on this hill!

Ugly wide track not on map:

The ascent of Hunt Law was very easy. The summit is featureless. Hunt Law is a New Donald but not a Donald.

View from the summit of Hunt Law:

From Hunt Law, I made my way back towards Cramalt Craig but instead of ascending all the way back to the summit I skirted towards Dun Law thus avoiding circa 80m of ascent.

On the track leading to Dun Law, Fifescar Knowe and Dollar Law:

As I progressed along the track leading to Dun Law, Fifescar Knowe and Dollar Law, I got outstanding views towards the Southern Highlands with a wide expanse of inversion in between. My photo unfortunately doesn't show how awesome a site this was.

The Southern Highlands across a sea of mist (zoom):

Following the dyke up Fifescar Knowe:

Fifescar Knowe is a Donald Top, not that I am doing Donald Tops!

Looking towards Dollar Law from the summit of Fifescar Knowe:

Inversion covering much of the Central Belt:

I eventually reached the summit of Dollar Law which is a Corbett Top, New Donald and Donald. On looking at the map I could see that I had a fair distance to walk to get back to the car.

At the summit of Dollar Law:

View from the summit of Dollar Law:

From Dollar Law, I returned several hundred metres back towards Fifescar Knowe before following the Thief's Road out towards Notman Law and Greenside Law which would hopefully be my fifth and final New Donald of the day.

The Thief's Road was good in places and bad in places - a real mix of terrain.

Following the Thief's Road out to Notman Law:

I opted to leave the Thief's Road to also ascend Notman Law. Notman Law is a Donald Top. Honest I am not doing the Tops!

Looking back to Dollar Law from the summit of Notman Law:

From Notman Law, I made my way down and across towards Shielhope Head. I skirted the top of Sheilhope Head and then began my ascent of Greenside Law.

Greenside Law and Shielhope Head from Notman Law:

Ascending Greenside Law:

At the summit of Greenside Law there is a white marker stuck into the ground. Greenside Law is a New Donald and Donald.

Marker at the summit of Greenside Law:

View from just below the summit of Greenside Law:

The descent from Greenside Law down to the Manor Head Right of Way track was by far the worst terrain of the day. With every step I sank at least a foot into the ground - lots of wet, deep moss.

Looking back to Cramalt Craig and Dollar Law:

Once onto the Right of Way, it was an easy walk back out to the car.

Descent to Megget Reservoir via the Manor Head Right of Way:

Megget Reservoir dam:

During the walk back along the road, I stopped to photograph a saltire in the sky :).

Saltire in the sky:

On reaching the car park I was also treated to a nice pre-sunset view across the Megget Reservoir.

Almost sunset behind the Megget Reservoir:

This was a really enjoyable walk with some great views thanks to the inversion.

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Location: Aberdeenshire
Member: MMC
Camera: Canon 550D
Munro rounds: 1

Munros: 282
Corbetts: 221
Grahams: 164
Donalds: 89
Wainwrights: 48
Hewitts: 69
Sub 2000: 293
Long Distance routes: Moray Coastal Trail   

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Trips: 19
Distance: 267.9 km
Ascent: 11640m
Munros: 3
Corbetts: 1
Grahams: 4
Donalds: 3
Sub2000s: 5
Hewitts: 4


Trips: 33
Distance: 390.1 km
Ascent: 21365m
Munros: 18
Grahams: 4
Donalds: 4
Sub2000s: 15
Hewitts: 3
Wainwrights 17


Trips: 30
Distance: 247.2 km
Ascent: 13680m
Munros: 12
Grahams: 5
Donalds: 8
Sub2000s: 11
Hewitts: 24
Wainwrights 15


Trips: 27
Distance: 152 km
Ascent: 9615m
Munros: 2
Corbetts: 12
Grahams: 10
Sub2000s: 12
Hewitts: 9


Trips: 16
Distance: 63.5 km
Ascent: 4740m
Corbetts: 13
Grahams: 3
Sub2000s: 14


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Distance: 26 km
Munros: 1
Corbetts: 6
Grahams: 3
Sub2000s: 1


Trips: 5
Munros: 9


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