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89 Donalds in 89 Days - Rhinns of Kells

89 Donalds in 89 Days - Rhinns of Kells

Postby Peter Hardy » Sun May 09, 2021 7:17 pm

Route description: Corserine and the Rhinns of Kells, Forrest Lodge

Corbetts included on this walk: Corserine

Donalds included on this walk: Cairnsgarroch, Carlin's Cairn, Coran of Portmark, Corserine, Meaul, Meikle Millyea, Milldown

Date walked: 01/05/2021

Time taken: 7.5 hours

Distance: 34 km

Ascent: 1398m

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89 Donalds in 89 Days

Rhinns of kells

On Saturday 1st of May I began a huge charity challenge that I have set myself. I am completing all 89 Donalds (as well as the 52 additional Donald Tops) on my mountain bike in aid of the Anthony Nolan Charity. I am raising money and hoping to encourage as many people as possible to sign up to their stem cell register. I am going to do this in no more than 89 days, averaging at 1 hill per day. Some days I will bag 5+ and other days I will bag none. All on top of my 9-5 job, so weekends and evenings only (probably some annual leave too).

On Saturday I set out from my home near Dumfries to the outskirts of Carsphairn. I parked my van at the Green Well and started pedalling out towards Garryhorn aiming for my first Donald, Coran of Portmark.

ImageC75B6707-8B2C-4628-89AB-B9AD8D6034B2 by Peter Hardy, on Flickr

I reached the end of the track and couldn’t see a clear path up to the summit. Routing around the side of Knockower, I clambered through knee high tussock and heather covered rocks to reach an ATV track that eventually led me round and up to the top of Coran of Portmark (1/89). Up here you could begin to see the landscape opening up. It’s also here that the urge to not use an “ending lockdown at the start of Loch Doon” pun in any of my reports began to cross my mind, and well, here we are...

Image3D31E474-4589-461E-BAD0-85C4DBC1655A by Peter Hardy, on Flickr

Image18D24848-7637-40CD-9CE0-A05547B2A494 by Peter Hardy, on Flickr

It’s at this point I should point out that for the last 45 minutes of this trip I had been walking and pushing my bike beside me to the top of the hills. I did however now have the luxury of coasting down the hillside to reach Bow, my first Donald Top (1/52).

Image50654CB9-2D83-4AF8-9D9A-A8AB5A4B60BE by Peter Hardy, on Flickr

I made my way up to Meaul (2/89) next, there was some rolls of fencing to the left of the path as you head towards the summit.

Image7ACFB9C1-60F7-4F73-8DCB-5AE0ACB0D4A6 by Peter Hardy, on Flickr

Image001F0F52-A834-4199-B89A-9D869ED168FA by Peter Hardy, on Flickr

Facing towards the remainder of the ridge, I turned to my left and rode down some rocky and tussocky Terrain then pushed up the rocky field to the right of the wall to reach my third Donald of my day, Cairnsgarroch (3/89).

Image62E8A964-5178-4DE4-8DE8-40E5931B3DC2 by Peter Hardy, on Flickr

When you turn back and look towards Meaul, you are faced with one steep ascent. It’s a killer on the legs getting back up the the top but it’s a good milestone for the day.

After taking in the views at the top of Meaul for a second time, I headed down the hill passing a couple of walkers who had been up to the top of the Corbett, Corserine. We had a quick chat and headed opposite directions. The climb up to Carlin’s Craig (4/89) was quite relentless and when I reached the summit I got caught by a heavy cloud of hail.

ImageC6F5A449-49B6-4F8A-B745-5D9E5DA21EEE by Peter Hardy, on Flickr

ImageBB32ABD3-D412-40E2-B903-674CC23BCF83 by Peter Hardy, on Flickr

I used the stone shelter at the top to shelter for about 20 minutes whilst the worst of it passed over. I could not have been luckier with my timing as the whole route is completely exposed apart from the summit of Carlin’s Cairn. The weather was still bitter and a bit rough but I was getting cold so decided to at least make my way down to the bottom of the climb to Corserine. I had soon warmed up as I made my way to Donald number 5 for the day, and the highest point of this trip, Corserine (5/89), also a Corbett >2500ft).

Image41124535-C8AC-43F4-8382-13B11458ADAC by Peter Hardy, on Flickr

Once again, this was another great milestone for the day. I had lunch at the top and then set off again down to Millfire (2/52), my second Donald Top of the day.

Image85F65058-F339-408D-8E67-C45AC68A4AAF by Peter Hardy, on Flickr

The terrain changed over this end of the route and the land seemed more craggy but also grassy. The sun was out and the end felt like it was in sight. I rode down then pushed up to the top of Milldown (6/89).

ImageAB07FEC9-7431-472D-B535-BB2EE63DAEB3 by Peter Hardy, on Flickr

The views from here were amazing. Merrick and the rest of the Awful Hand looked impressive in the background.

Image8F9EB58C-D0AB-40B0-9DBA-3F5280E32EBD by Peter Hardy, on Flickr

Image8807E2A2-546F-4CB0-8173-5D4785643CB6 by Peter Hardy, on Flickr

ImageBEAD492C-3F8C-48B4-B32F-A524F4CE0160 by Peter Hardy, on Flickr

Image9F88B388-9249-44C5-9F81-D4E8C3F5072F by Peter Hardy, on Flickr

My legs were definitely beginning to tire now I was looking forward to wrapping up my day with a ride and push to the top of Meikle Millyea (7/89), my seventh and final Donald of the day.

ImageF16D3648-6265-492C-AC2F-36C691895F66 by Peter Hardy, on Flickr

I felt very happy with my progress knowing I was 7 hills through after just 1 day but that required a lot of energy. I’m looking forward to more big days like that but for now my next couple will be a bit shorter.

I was meeting a friend to pick me up along the road next to Clatteringshaws Loch so I decided to ride some very off piste hillside to get down to the forestry fire road. I probably wouldn’t recommend it on foot, following other people’s guides up over Little Millyea look far more straight forward.

ImageBFC7418D-02F4-4EB8-BD35-35A6827C5B6A by Peter Hardy, on Flickr

ImageD4B8D7DD-A224-4393-923B-B1C735F5FE4E by Peter Hardy, on Flickr

7 Donalds deep after a day out completing the Rhinns Of Kells on the bike has got me hungry to get out again soon! Watch this space, and in the mean time please go check out the Anthony Nolan website, they are such an important charity to so many family’s which not enough people are aware of. Their mission is to help people suffering with blood cancers.

I am unsure if I’m allowed to share my donations/social media pages but somebody can let me know, hopefully.

Thanks for reading

(P.s. I will upload photos when next on a desktop)


Last edited by Peter Hardy on Sun May 16, 2021 10:37 am, edited 2 times in total.
Peter Hardy
Hill Bagger
Posts: 9
Fionas:23   Donalds:89
Joined: Jan 28, 2021
Location: Dumfries

Re: 89 Donalds in 89 Days - Rhinns of Kells

Postby rohan » Mon May 10, 2021 1:35 pm

That sounds like some undertaking. Good Luck. Not sure about links etc but I googled your name together with Anthony Nolan and your just giving page came up so not too hard to find you. I look forward to your photos.
User avatar
Posts: 1676
Joined: Mar 12, 2012

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