Another trip to Lanark for plants - another opportunity to take in some hills
Having just come off the back of a failed footwear experiment on a long distance trail I can't get my right foot in to a trainer but I put the boots on and managed to walk round the outside of the house twice so that's good enough for me..........
The forecast was for cloud on the hills till late morning so I headed for Lanark first then over to Drumelzier for an 11:50am start.
Down on the valley floor it was warm with no breeze, hopefully there would be a cooling wind on higher ground.
Due to parked vans I couldn't see the path that leads through the hedge and over the burn so instead I just headed up towards the farm building then took the grassy track heading left away from the building and up the glen with the burn to my left.
It's a really nice start to this walk with the narrow glen, the trees on the other side of the burn and the heather out on the hills.
It doesn't take long for the path to start to climb and pass between two small forest plantations. At this point I took the left track for about 50 yards before realising I should have taken the right option.
When the path cleared the ferns and reached the open hillside the going was good on a nice soft grassy path and the heather was in full bloom.
A little higher up and the heather had gone over.
The climb was at a fairly consistent gradient but I was feeling it in the heat so I guess the legs hadn't recovered from the long distance walk I completed a couple of days earlier.
I gave myself 5 minutes at the top of Pykestone Hill to grab a sandwich and have a look around before continuing on. There was what appeared to be another cairn 100 yards away and I wasn't certain which was higher so wandered over to it. It was only when I looked back from this second cairn that I could tell that the trig point summit next to the fence was definitely higher.
The route now follows a fence line (unusual in the Borders ) down to what WH describe as a verry boggy col but the hills remain very dry and I passed through this area without the hint of a squelch.
Now it was decision time. I had originally planned to take in Dollar Law but with my blistered right foot starting to complain I had the perfect excuse to leave it for another day and just headed on for Middle Hill.
The climb up to Middle Hill was straight forward, what was harder was finding the summit on a flat feaureless top. I could see no signs of the two wooden posts in the WH notes and I walked both sides of the fence line to the point where I was clearly heading downhill. Having wandered aimlessly around I then used the garmin to pinpoint the top but still could not see any sort of marker.
From Middle Hill I could see the shepherd's cairn on Glenstivon Dodd and just contoured round to the right a bit to keep on the higher ground. An impressive cairn, wish it had been on Middle Hill!
The final climb up on to Drumelzier Law was quite hard work and I was glad at this point I had chosen to miss out Dollar Law but now that it is in my head I'll need to come back and do it soon.
Once the steep part of the climb is over the cairn is reached but I could quickly see that there was more climbing to do albeit it would be a lot easier than the last ten minutes had been. It only took a few minutes to arrive at the true top.
It was a busy place at the cairn (wasps) so I headed off for a few yards to stop and have something to eat but they were still buzzing me so I just headed off. The walk off Drumelzier and down to the valley floor was really enjoyable, initially with views up a valley with the River Tweed running down the centre of it and then as the track turned I had great views over the ground covered in the early part of my walk.
A final steep descent and I was back on the outward path and it was a short walk back to the car park.
I really enjoyed this walk, it was warm but on the higher ground there was a breeze. I continue to be lucky with walking in the Borders in that I have over the last couple of months probably had these hills at their driest. This walk has a bog factor of 3 on WH, at the moment it is zero.
Only thing to be aware of is that the end cottage is having an extension built on to it and today there were three vans in the small car park so not much space left for walkers. There was still room for two cars and I only saw two guys (walking together) during my walk so I'm guessing that these are not the busiest of hills.
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