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Scotland's Watershed Part 3, Mendick Hill to Cumbernauld

Scotland's Watershed Part 3, Mendick Hill to Cumbernauld

Postby rohan » Sat Jun 24, 2017 9:44 pm

Date walked: 12/06/2017

Time taken: 4 days

Distance: 83.3 km

Ascent: 1183m

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See also Scotland's Watershed part 1 viewtopic.php?f=25&t=70980
Scotland's Watershed part 2 viewtopic.php?f=25&t=72798
NB photos by mobile and restructed iun number as I do not have access to Flickr. The whole set will eventually be uploaded to my FB page Rohan's Watershed Walk

12/06/17 Day 12 (on the Watershed) Day 1 of this outing
I used public transport for this next outing on the ‘Waterhed so caught the first bus from Edinburgh to Dolphinton, then retraced my steps to where I lhad left off after Mendick Hill. Given that rain was forecast with a period of unsettled weather, I decided to go with the full protection of my tent. I started at 10.45 and headed up the rather undistinguished North Muir Hill (359m). Undistinguished that is apart from the tussocks. I had lost my tussock legs (did I ever have a pair?) and kept over-balancing, tripping up etc. Occasionally I came across ghosts of vehicle tracks which I used when they headed in the right direction but progress was slow. The route onwards from the summit wasn’t exactly clear and I lacked confidence that the hill I thought was Catstone (445+m) was. I dug around for my compass only to discover that I had left it behind. Due to the nature of the walk ahead with forestry sectionsand rather indistinct summits, I felt the miss. The highest point of the dip between the higher ground wasn’t clear from my standpoint but I tried to follow the highest ground which would be the watershed. I also realised that I had not put in my fence-hopping kit or my short length of insulation tube that would help with electric fence crossings. There was nothing to be done, I wasn’t going to go back now.
Heading to what I thought was Catstone I could see a track off to the right. It wasn’t marked on my map and made me doubt whether the hill was Catstone I decided just to keep heading but more to the left. There was little improvement once over the West Linton track but once I neared a minor protuberance, the summit of Catstone became clear and the going eased. I had been right to begin with. At the summit I came across the track I had rejected and the situation improved immensely. The track could be seen snaking away to Craigengar (519m) and I welcomed it as it had taken me…. well, I think I’ll draw a veil how long it had taken me to reach Catstone. Views were mixed with Tinto in cloud but Black Mount clear behind me.
Summit Catstone. Looking back to Black Mount.jpg
Black Mount from Catstone

Once following the path my speed picked up and I felt I was getting into the swing of the day. From Fadden (446m) I also had good views of the Pentlands growing in height as they headed eastwards. By Craigengar I had covered the slightly longer distance there in under half the time I had made it to Catstone. An alternative name for Craigengar could be Cloudberry Hill, it was covered with this low growing plant which is in full flower at the moment. Caigengar has SSSI (Special Site of Scientific Interest) status and is noted for the presence of Marsh Saxifrage which flowers later in the summer. Peter Wright gives the translation of Craigengar to be “Crag of Slime” which I think is totally unjustified.
Down to the lowlands from Summitt of Craigengar.jpg
Across the Lowlands from the Summit of Craigengar

I did intend (despite my poor progress) to spend a little time on Craigengar as it marked the end of the River Tweed catchment which had been draining all those raindrops on my right-hand-side from Peel Fell onwards. From now until I reached Cruach Ardrain above Crianlarich, the raindrops draining to my right would be heading to the Forth I still had the River Clyde catchment on my left. Criagengatr was also the last hill above 500m before I reached the Campsies. The wind, which had been blustery and boisterous up until then went into full blast mode along with a sharp rain shower which blocked the views so rather than hang around, I ran helter–skelter down slope to try and get some shelter in the valley before the gentle climb up Bawdy Moss to Henshaw Hill (416m). Peter Wright has carefully noted and described all the areas with conservation status that the Watershed passes through. Bawdy Moss is also part of the SSSI and there is a SAC (Special Area of Conservation). The latter is a European designation and who knows what will happen to such designations after Brexit
The rain had ceased almost as fast as it arrived and horror of horrors, I could see a herd of what looked to be beef cattle up on the ridge between me and my next objective, the A70. I contemplated taking a Rights of Way path that would take me off the Watershed and on to Tarbrax. Fortunately, for once, common sense prevailed and I continued on the watershed. On reaching the “cows”, I found that they were nothing more than clumps of last year’s reeds that appeared brown or black in the light. I was rewarded for my "bravery" by the sight and mournful sound of curlews and golden plovers. I could also see the distinctive sails of the new Forth Road Bridge far off to the right. Views to the West were obscured by cloud.
Sails of the New Forth Road Bridge..jpg
Sails of the new Bridge in far distance

Crossing the A70 I had a short break and, with a strong signal on my phone was able to catch up with Peter Wright’s cycle ride on the Watershed much further North. Peter is celebrating his 70th birthday by cycling the Watershed from Garve to Duncansby Heaad. This will stick to the Watershed as much as possible but there is no doubt it is a tough challenge and he hopes to raise money for his charity, Friends of The Award, which gives funds to disadvantaged young people to enable them to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme.

Peter describes the next section of the route as “darkest Lanarkshire” blighted by the remains of the coal and shale mining industry. The bin above Tarbrax has mainly been reclaimed by nature since he wrote those words. First I had a pleasant strip of broadleaf woodland to pass through then an area of rough grazing and heather clad moss before reaching the remnants of an old railway just South Cobbinshaw Loch. Disused railways became a feature of the next 3 days walking. Some had been reclaimed as paths and cycle ways, all were in various stages of being taken back by nature. All-in-all darkest Lanarkshire was pleasantly green.
Woodland surprise.jpg
Woodland near Tarbrax

Woolford impressed as being a community-minded village with well-kept cottages, a neat and tidy picnic area with attractive plantings and a bus shelter which advertised community events rather than bus times. I stopped at the end cottage to ask for water and the lovely young woman (husband was cooking the tea) not only filled my water bottle but invited me in to share their tea. It smelt very appetising but I still had a way to go, wanting to reach the Thirl Stane by finish today.
Actual cows inhabited the field above the next strip of woodland I headed up. They ignored me as I gave them a wide berth but unfortunately without my compass I had no real way of knowing which bit of the Woodmuir PLantation to head for. I went too low (stupid, I was on the watershed and should stick to the highest route) and therefore wasted 30 minutes finding the right firebreak. At this point I could see wind-throw blocking the way. I was in a reasonably dry, flat place so I decided that I would tackle this obstacle when fresh in the morning. I was only a little short of my objective and I figured an early start would sort the deficit. My campsite was very pleasant apart from the lack of breeze which meant that the midges came out in force. Ah well you can’t have everything.
Looking East from camp.jpg
Looking East from Campsite

Watershed kilometres 17.3 miles 10.7 total for the day 22,6 km 14.0 miles

13/06/17 Day 13
After a good but lazy breakfast (leftovers from last night’s couscous!) I packed up a dry tent in breezy, midge-less conditions. The wind-throw proved an easy obstacle of 3 trees that could be easily scrambled over and under and almost immediately I hit a track

I found I was able to stick with a path along most of the route to Tormywheel (341m) , passing what would have been a good campsite at the Thirl Stane.
Thirl Stane.jpg
Thirl Stane

A wind farm now sits on the slopes of Leven Seat (356m) and with a built track heading virtually up the Watershed route it seemed churlish to refuse its easy virtues. My nostrils were assailed, however, by the unmistakable aroma of landfill. The quarry that is marked on my map and that eats into the side of Leven Seat is now a tip. Fortunately, the wind direction was such that this unpleasantness only lasted about 5 minutes and later. whilst sitting at the Trig point only yards from the edge of the landfill site, I was able to enjoy a second breakfast without any olfactory assaults.
landfill and TP.jpg
Leven Seat Trig Point with landfill behind

Problems started when I reached the next section of plantation I needed to pass through. Clear felling and continuous wind-blow on the weakened edge meant that I had to deviate from the ‘Shed and walk around the edge of the plantation. I was able to re-join the proper line just before Climpy.
There now followed what appeared to be a very large wind-farm. There was a main track through the centre, with established pockets of broadleaf woodland and moss habitats between the turbines. A notice requested that the tracks were used and not to walk on the moss to enable habitat regeneration. Having reached the end of sheet 72, I switched to the 1:25,000 maps to take me to Cumbernauld. I then totally underestimated the distance I was covering. I picked up a fine head of steam, failed to recognise the track crossroads that I needed to turn left at and then wrongly assigned the next building as that of the one at the crossroads. I was confused as to what was on the ground as compared to the map but thought I hadn’t gone far enough. I stopped for a break and opened up the map and found that I was a good 2 miles further on! I could easily rectify this but it would mean missing out on the loop south from Black Hill to Hare Hill and Black Law. This mistake was compensated by the sight of a pine marten crossing the track up ahead of me. I also saw a number of roe deer. Each of these animals appeared unaware of my presence and probably see very few walkers around the place. Black Law windfarm had a very different feel to Clyde Law. It was sited on a former opencast mine, there had been successful habitat reinstatement between the turbines and tracks and, although I hadn’t seen the previous landscape I can imagine how bleak it was. It seems a very appropriate place for a wind farm rather than open, moorland hills with no previously built structures.
Clear fell and new turbines not marked on my map made things slightly confusing around Lark Law and not wanting to make a further error I spent some time making sure that I was in the right place.
lark Law.jpg
Lark Law

I used the power line as a guide and made my way to tussocky ground before the A71 high spot (242m). Just before reaching the road I managed to plunge thigh deep into a hidden pool. I found that my new boots were totally waterproof, they neither let the water in OR out.
At home I had checked out the A71 on google street view and thought that it had a decent verge. It didn’t. I decided not to play with the heavy, fast moving traffic but call a taxi and head for Shotts station. I had always planned to stay the night with my son and his wife in Glasgow which was but a short train journey away. Chatty Taxis sent a monosyllabic driver to pick me up-he probably wasn’t impressed by my wet gear. It had been a mainly dry if over cast day with some lovely sunny spells but I was still wet thanks to my late plunge. At the station I emptied my boots out!

Watershed km for day 20km, mileage 12.4

14/06/17 Day 14
Nether my son or daughter-in-law possessed a compass so after lovely evening, good shower with clothes washed and dried (boots still slightly damp,I waited until the equipment shops opened so I could buy a compass. It was sods law that I did not really need one for the next couple of days. Back at Shotts Station, a helpful local pointed me in the direction of the local co-op so I could stock up on food and I then discovered, from another very helpful resident, that there was a bus out to Springhill, within spitting distance of my onward route. The bus driver gave the impression that he thought I was rather mad when I said I wanted to go to the furthest point he went to in Springhill and asked before I alighted if I knew where I was going. I assured him that I did but as my circumnavigation of the Shotts conurbation included crossing this bus route twice, if he spotted me again he may have wondered. I didn’t tell him of my previous navigational errors! I walked along the B7010 to Knowton Farm. NB The bus stopped on the B7010 just at the eastern edge of Springhill and there was a bus stop opposite that indicated that there was a bus to Livingston due, which would take me to Knowton Farm. I stood there until dog-walking locals advised me that there hadn’t been a bus along that way for years. I was just a short distance from my stopping point last night but as it was already 11.15 I decided I needed to just head on rather than walk back. Easy tracks helped me. Again I was impressed by the greeness of the landscape. There was none of the fly-tipping that Peter Wright had found. There were broadleaf plantings and although there were old pit bins and household tips, these were mainly disguised by woodland.

I was heading for a marked crossing of the railway line at Starrylaw farm (NS898609) and started to see signs that all may not go according to plan. The road to the farm said only authorised personnel allowed entry. I decided I was authorised by the Scottish Access Code and continued until I came to the actual farm where closed, wrought iron gates barred my way. More threatening signs and I headed around the boundary to the right. Clambering over a number of difficult, barbed wire fences and through a field of waste high nettles next to the railway did much to cause feelings of ill will towards said farm. It was clear that the bridge did not belong to them but to the railway authorities and I felt thoroughly cheesed off as I clambered over the last gate also bedecked with signs about CCTV, guard dogs etc. I rather childishly made some rude gestures in the direction of any possible cameras.
Starryshaw Farm.jpg
Welcome to Starry Shaw Farm

I was then beset by guilt and remorse proving to myself there are better ways of dealing with such things. I would contact the local access officer on my return home.
Easy walking followed on tracks through the plantation with sightings of roe deer, foxes and plenty of wild flowers including kidney vetch. Bird life abounded with buzzards overhead and stonechats flitting along just ahead of me. Out onto the B717 (first crossing of my bus route) just north of the waterboard facility ( there is no longer a trig point to record) and across into a mixed scrub of woodland and a path round an old pit bin. Here I found Peter’s fly-tipping. Above,the bin was still very much exposed but nature is gradually claiming it, whilst below, humans are doing their best to overcome nature’s attempts. Amongst the usual mattresses and electrical items was an old, totally deflated, bouncy castle.
After crossing the next B-road (and bus route) I headed up across sheep-grazed hillside to Easter Fortissat. I looked down on Shotts Prison and said a final farewell to Shotts before taking a short detour to the 291m Trig Point which disappointingly was nowhere in evidence.

Cant Hills.jpg
Cant Hills

A canter took me over the very well grazed and easy going Cant hills (300m) before heading down to the Kirk of Shotts. I stopped at one of the new houses opposite the church to request water fill and the very helpful man told me that he would be happy to give me water but I would be better to drop down to Kate’s Well below the Kirk. He jokingly told me to run back up to thank him. I gave him profuse thanks in advance. The day was now very sunny and warm. Kate’s Well is a very popular stopping off place and during my prolonged rest a number of lorry, van and car drivers stopped to fill their water bottles or just have a drink. As I sat on the low stone wall I heard a “plop”. I looked down and amongst the silver and copper coins I now saw a brand new £1 coin. It had fallen out of my open pocket. I like to think that Kate had removed it in case I was slow in giving my just dues for the refreshing water.

Kate's Well.jpg
Kate's well

Although the traffic on the M8 thundered past just the other side of the trees, I was hardly aware of it with the tinkling well water beside me. Onwards and over the bridge. I will always look up as I pass under this bridge in the future, and think of me on my journey north. There was no route finding problems to the huge TV masts and then onto the Trig Point at Black Hill (285m). There were fantastic views from this high point in the Central Belt. I could pick out Goat Fell, The Border Hills, The Pentlands, The Ochils, Stuc a Chroin and Ben Vorlich, Ben Lomond and the Arrochar Alps. Although I took photos with my mobile it didn't reallyu pick up what was visible to my eye.One day I will return with my DSLR and take good photos from this wonderful view point.
Black Hill TP.jpg
Black Hill Trig Point

I did take a bearing to the firebreak at the Torrance Plantation. This was slightly to the right of the actual watershed but was continuous through the plantation and probably the best route to take. It was easy enough but the quarry on the far side now comes hard up against the plantation. The loch looked an inviting place to camp but I wanted to go further before stopping and what clinched it was the presence of cows. Easy walking across grazed fields in fine weather took me to Raiziehill. I should have made straight for the road bridge but struggled through a gap in a hawthorn hedgerow and was faced with a ranch shouting “Keep Out” in numerous signs. Although you are invited to join their fitness or book camp regime, no doubt at a hefty price. As the foot bridge no longer exists I headed over the railway by road bridge, 50m to the east before sliding down the embankment to join the tarmacked cycle track. I soon picked up the track up by the woods and headed up the hill on the Watershed, Just on the highest point found a lovely campsite with a view onwards to Easter and Wester Whin. The roar of the M8 was still audible and the occasional train whizzed past below me.

camp with tv mast behind.jpg
Camp with TV mast just visible in the background

This was possibly the closest camp to “civilisation” I had to date but a lovely sunset through the trees made it very pleasant. Just as I was dropping off a sudden rain squall hit the tent and I reflected that this was what it was all about. Where were those drops heading, East or West? How long would those drops take to trickle down to their respective seas? Would they beat me to their destination? Even more importantly, was I heading for a soaking the next day? So far, apart from isolated showers, the weather had held up better than forecast.
22.7 km 13.6 miles.

15/06/17 Day 15
Today I had to get to Cumbernauld or bust! Some time ago I had fixed the 26th June as a date to walk through Cumbernauld. This was the only day my former hillwalking buddies were all available. We had started walking together when we all worked in the same office in the 1990s. These buddies were probably responsible for getting me out on the hills in the first place. For various health and logistical reasons, I am the only one that still walks regularly in Scotland and when they expressed a wish to support my Watershed Walk on a gentler day I jokingly suggested Cumbernauld. When they didn’t say “no way!” straight away I went ahead and organised it. The 10 days between today’s walk and the 26th were full of other commitments so I had no room for manoeuvre, whatever the obstacles.
The day dawned dry and the tent was packed quickly as a black cloud threatened. This passed without shedding its load and I was again fortunate to have a mainly dry day. I then came across my first deer fence of the Watershed, protecting a new planting of broadleaf trees. Getting over it into the trees was not a problem as there was not one but two gates I could pick from. Getting out the other side did involve climbing over. I missed my fence climbing gear as this would have also helped to lower my rucksack over. So far it has survived remarkably well the repeated hurlings over the fences although the outer pockets are pock-marked with holes from the barbed wire snaggings.

Heading towards Easter Whin I had to circumnavigate a crop field then a field of cows drove me towards Wester Whin but not before I had to share their field for a time. One of them lumbered to its feet and stared at me. Heart thumping, palms sweating and mouth dry, I eyed up possible escape routes. A conversation with my son on Tuesday night regarding Bill Bryson writing a whole chapter on death by cows played in my head. I reached the safety of the road and of course then felt very brave as I talked to the cows from the other side of the fence.
As I walked up to the plantation above Black Loch I came across a white form of ragged robin, something I hadn’t seen before. I chose to follow the plantation edge just above Black Loch for aesthetic reasons. It would have been more correct and probably easier to follow the telegraph poles through the plantation.

Black Loch tree plantings.jpg
Tree planting around Black Loch

My chosen route was hard going but attractive and although slow it wasn’t far to Holehousemuir Farm and the track to the road and LImerigg Primary School. The route should have taken me behind the school and into another plantation but given this had been clear felled and was a tangle of brash I continued on the road and then along the path beside the loch until I again crossed the B-road. A look at the map shows the many dismantled railway lines. Some of these have been turned into walking and bridal paths, others can be seen as slightly raised straight, green lines running across farm fields. Butterflies abounded and I was delighted to see one of my favourites, a small copper. It wasn’t the best specimen but unusually posed long enough for me to capture a pic. Later I also saw a speckled wood but didn’t manage a photograph
So far I had been pleasantly surprised by the Laich March. Although the area around Shotts was scarred there were plenty of green shoots of nature recovering close to concentrated human habitation. Whilst there were lots of positives on the next part of the route to Greengairs, the destructive side of humankind was much in evidence. Although the landscape has probably improved since the height of the mining industry, seeing the very visual destruction of the raised peat bogs by peat extraction is truly concerning.
Peat extraction.jpg
Peat extraction

Whilst most of it has been halted it is a sobering thought that in Britain we have lost 94% of this habitat since the start of the 19th Century, in Scotland 91%. Given what an important carbon sink it is and the thought that fashions in gardening have been responsible for a substantial amount of the damage, after opencast mining, gives pause for thought. I do think there should be a ban on all peat sold for garden purposes. There are, after all, plenty of alternatives.
At Longriggend where I had hoped to find water and /or a wee shop, I stopped for lunch in the well-maintained play-park. Catching up with the outside World on my phone, I heard the horrendous news of the Grenfell Tower fire. In the distance I could see the tower blocks of Cumbernauld with the Kilsyth Hills behind. I reflected again on how fortunate I was to live where I chose and to be able to escape modern day pressures by heading for the hills, literally. When I returned home I was to learn more about this apparently preventable disaster including the concerns that had been repeatedly raised by tenants prior to the fire which had seemingly gone unheard.
Playpark with Cumbernauld and the Campsies behind.jpg
Lunch spot . Cumbernauld and the Campsies behind

Back on the Watershed the going was tough across the moss towards Greengairs. I made use of occasional tracks but it was mainly trackless. I was running low on water and the prospect of a stop at the Heritage Pub in Greengairs was possibly on the cards but I had no idea if it was still there. Before that though was the largest landfill site in Britain. Once again I was downwind of both the rotting aroma and the dust. This remained the case until after I left Greengairs. I felt for the workers and the residents of Greengairs, the latter having little choice about their neighbour. I also wondered at the environmental impacts on the watershed and the surrounding catchments but a quick google of the subject has not produced any answers on that aspect of the developement. What is clear is that the residents of Greengairs have protested at length and although there was a commitment to halt further landfill sites in the area in 2002, this was reneged on in 2004. In 2012 there was a commitment to recycling and composting on the site but still 25% of the rubbish is not recycled. One small bright spot was finding a group of gentians on a patch of scree just before I joined the track around the landfill site. These will probably be escapees from the landfill but don't look like taking over at present.
The Heritage Pub is no more although its ghost lives on in the “H” still present on the wrought iron gates. A surfacing and tarmacking company now occupied the building and a mother and son where outside having a cigarette break as I approached the entrance. They were only too happy to fill my water bottle and talk about hillwalking. The mother had completed a number of Munros and the West Highland Way. The Moss had been a popular playground for ger as a child.. The son told me that he had lived with the opencast mine and landfill most of his life. What was meant to be a 10-year project had been extended and had now blighted the village for 27 years with no sign of halting. They both said that the worst days were when there was no wind and the smell and dust just sat in a fug on the village. I make no apologies for saying that once again it is those with least who have the smallest voice but have the biggest injustices heaped on them.
From Greengairs (a less green village would be hard to find) I could see the woods of Palacerigg. The Kilsyth hills seemed much closer and were calling me onwards. Rain showers had arrived and I thought that the best of the day had passed as I made use of yet another disused railway system to take me through the plantation to Luckenhill farm. The sun reappeared and it turned into a lovely late afternoon. The herd of cows below Herd’s Hill (178m) were safely behind a fence off the Watershed and I headed up onto the low ridge that took me onto Herd's Hill with views of Fannyside Loch.
Fannyside Loch.jpg
Fannyside Loch from Herd's Hill

Then I had a bit of a battle to find a non-brambly, non-nettly route onto the track to the golf course at Palacerigg.
Golf Course , Palacerigg.jpg
Palacerigg Golf Course

After this the going was mainly easy down to Cumbernauld Station, even if I did manage to lose myself for a short time amongst numerous criss-crossing paths in a wooded area. I would have saved a lot of time if I had taken out my compass but being able to see Cumbernauld ahead made me think it was easy just to head. A bus to Glasgow arrived with me at the Station so rather than see when the next train was due, I jumped on the bus to head for another night with my son in Glasgow before travelling by bus home the next day.
Although the Greengair tip dominated part of the journey I would like to stress that the Central Belt has so far been much greener than anticipated. I met no-one on my route, have seen plenty of wildlife and crossed interesting habitats. There are protections in place and hopefully there will be continued improvements to the wild feel of these places, fantastic resources for the nearby inhabitants. The previous impression gained when driving through the Central Belt is lots if settlement with very little in between, that has now been corrected. There is now just the short hop to reach the Kilsyth Hills and the next outing sees me passing very close to a former home and also seeing a friend who lives and has her business (Meadowside Cattery) close to the Watershed. Onwards is the cry, the mountains draw near.
Total for the day 20.7 km 13.2 miles
Total for this 4 days 83 km, 52 miles
Total for Watershed 248 km 164 miles
Last edited by rohan on Sat Jan 12, 2019 3:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Scotland's Watershed Part 3, Mendick Hill to Cumbernauld

Postby rohan » Sat Jul 01, 2017 10:32 pm

Not so bleak and inhospitable as you may think. There were lots of interesting things to see and I was especially surprised by the pine marten sighting in broad daylight.
I'm just back from the next stage and there was plenty to keep me on my toes and to keep me going. I'll be getting that report done in the next few days.
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Re: Scotland's Watershed Part 3, Mendick Hill to Cumbernauld

Postby rohan » Sun Jul 02, 2017 10:41 am

That would be a different sort of challenge! I lived in Cumbernauld (150m to the East of the Watershed) for a couple of months after I was married. My sister-in-law and brother-in- law lived there and brought their children up there, again just 150m or so East of the 'Shed, so I do know of its bleakness. The route actually takes you through some leafy pathways and only briefly brushes along the side of Terscos (handy loo stop!) Ahead are the Camnpsies willing me on!
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Re: Scotland's Watershed Part 3, Mendick Hill to Cumbernauld

Postby Alteknacker » Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:47 pm

I have to admit: this wouldn't been somewhere I would in a million years contemplate walking in - but in the million and one-th year - the one in which I saw a pine marten - I probably would!!! Lucky lucky you - that's a very wonderful thing.

It seems to be a not uncommon experience of traversing the country by foot or on a bike that it reveals itself as being much greener than one would have expected. A few years ago I cycled from the Midlands down to the south coast, my route skirting London closely, and I was utterly astonished at how much of the route was rural and green.

As regards "Keep Out", "Private", "No entry", "trespassers with be hung, drawn and quartered" etc signs: I love 'em! Just translate them into "Enter here"! You get to all sorts of interesting places you didn't expect to get to, and to experience all kinds of unusual interactions with excitable folk - the kind that think that if they shout, "Come here, you!", you have any rational reason to comply :D .

I couldn't suppress a wry smile at your forgetting your compass. I've never forgotten mine, but I've forgotten practically everything else its possible to forget (except my boots - and my brother has even managed to forget those on one memorable occasion!). Good that you weren't up in the north west at the time... :roll:

A technical question: what tent do you have? And what does it weigh? It looks humungous, but I assume that it's quite light....??? Space is wonderful, but my frail shoulders tend to protest at the associated weight....

Looking forward to episode 4...

And episode 12 :D :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Scotland's Watershed Part 3, Mendick Hill to Cumbernauld

Postby rohan » Mon Sep 17, 2018 9:06 pm

Thank-you for all your positive comments it means a lot. I am a bit bemused that I can't see any of the precious comments that I replied to. It looks like I'm having a conversation with myself so I hope yours don't go the same way.
A technical question: what tent do you have? And what does it weigh? It looks humungous, but I assume that it's quite light....???

It is a Terra Nova Superlite Voyager 1.5kg. It was a rushed buy in Fort William after my Vaude Ferret 1 (despite reviews to the contrary)proved no match for the winds we can experience up here and I was only half way through a camping trip. I loved my ferret ( pitched all in one go) but daren't risk it on the Watershed. I do not love my terra nova. First issue was it leaked and when I contacted Terra Nova I was told that it didn't come waterproofed and I would have to do that myself. I find that it frequently needs reproofing and the material it is made from isn't that robust, probably because it is lightweight. The front flap never pitches tight so flaps a lot in wind. Still I can't afford to replace it and it has got me this far. In warmer weather, I just take a bivvy bag and love the openess of feeling that that gives.
It'll be a while before Part 12 comes along. The weather (now I have some time spare again) looks very iffy for the next week at least, then I have other commitments ....
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