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Seven Hours Alone in The Borders Hills

Seven Hours Alone in The Borders Hills

Postby Paul_Antonia » Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:22 pm

Route description: Dun Rig Horseshoe, Peebles

Grahams included on this walk: Dun Rig

Donalds included on this walk: Birkscairn Hill, Dun Rig, Glenrath Heights

Date walked: 26/07/2011

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 22 km

Ascent: 792m

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Didn't take my camera this time guys so the pics are from previous walks in this area.
Was Supposed to be heading out to Loch Lomond to climb Ben Vane today. Forecast was perfect, sunshine and broken cloud, and we won't get too many oportunities like that. Antonia didn't want to go though because Grandma was at ours so I set out on my own today for a walk in my local hills.
I decided to put this round to bed because I'd read it on this site a few days ago and was embarrassed that I'd not done it in entirity yet.
10.10am Parked the car at the end of Kingsmeadows road to save a couple of miles walking through the town, and headed off through the gypsy glen and up the old drove road towards Kirkhope Law.
Sunshine through leaves4.jpg
Sunshine and shade making patterns on Horsechestnut leaves in Gypsy Glen

After about half a kilometre the path takes a steep ascent up Craig Head but at a gate you have the decision whether to summit the hill or to bypass the top on the lower level path which follows the drove road. This was my chosen option. The sign at the gate indicates Kirkhope Law 2 miles.
Interesting Trees.jpg
Weathered trees on the old Drove road

Paul and Antonia training walk Sun 12 Jun 11 17.JPG
Looking up the Drove road. Newby Kipps on right with Birkscairn hill peeping out

Paul and Antonia training walk Sun 12 Jun 11 27 Copy.jpg
......and back down towards Peebles

The path continues on a steady climb for the whole of this distance. Arrived at the cairn on Kirkhope Law at 11.30.
Paul and Antonia training walk Sun 12 Jun 11 37.JPG
From Kirkhope Law the route up follows the ridge curving away right to left

A brief stop and it was onwards to Birkscairn Hill and the first Donald of the day at 12.10pm.
After leaving Birkscairn Hill the path follows the line of the fence down for a short stretch and then up again to the top of Stake Law. The path at it's lowest point was showing signs of becoming boggy which this area is famous for.
From Stake Law the path continues to follow the fence line but there has been a new fence built across the obvious path. I decided to carefully climb this and head upwards towards Dun Rig following the line of old fence posts. The path along here is indistinct and you have to pick your way carefully around and through the boggy sections and peat hags.
I can imagine this stretch to be tough going after a spell of wet weather.
After a steady pull up the incline I came to the highest point of my day at the trig point on Dun Rig at 1.15pm.
Having climbed over the new fence earlier I found myself on the wrong side of the fence at the summit so a careful hop over again was required.
This was where I met the only person I was to see outside the Town today. We exchanged pleasentries and talked about the various route options in the area before he set off on his next stage. I stayed a while to eat some lunch and to take in the extensive views. I was enjoying being on my own and I suspect that so was he.
From here there are good views to Dunslair Heights and the hills on the north side of the Tweed valley and beyond to the Pentlands. I think I could make out buildings in Edinburgh in the hazy distance.
To the east the views extend over Innerliethen and the hills around Traquair Forest and to The Eildon hills at Melrose.
After a good rest it was time to head off again. After talking with the guy that I'd met I decided to head west down to the slightly lower ground and then northwards to head back to Peebles over Glenrath Heights. Again The ground was spongy underfoot and sections needed care in order to avoid a foot soaking.
The path up to Middle Hill, the first and highest summit of Glenrath Heights, is clear to see and involves another steady pull to the top. Views here aren't great because of the flat expansive nature of the top. I didn't hang around either once I realised that the noise of motorbikes I could hear was actually being made by wasps buzzing around. There must be a nest there somewhere. Got a good look at the spur round to Stob Law and decided that it would wait for another day.
Followed the fence line again towards Broom Hill but soon left it and headed across the heather N.E towards the fence line over Hundleshope Heights.
The trig point on Hundleshope heights isn't at the exact summit but has been positioned for greater surveying convenience and the views from here back down to Peebles are excellent. I spent a good while here looking at the views again towards Edinburgh in the North. Views southwards are resricted by the higher summits of Glenrath heights and Dun Rig.
From Here you have a choice of descent routes, one being over Preston Law and Newby Kipps which is supposed to be full of great views again, however I chose to descend Dead Side which is a quicker descent to the valley of Glensax following Landrover or Quad bike tracks down to the track in the valley bottom.
Newby Kipps attempt 06-06-11 (15).jpg
Newby Kipps viewed from Dead Side

I'm not sure whether there is a viable descent from Hundleshope Heights down Hundleshope glen and out to the road near Cademuir Forest, that is an expedition I will take another time.
Once at the track it was just a simple matter of following it to the north out of Glensax at Haystoun estate after about 2Km and then following the private road back to the car.( Access for walkers is encouraged and there are collection boxes for donations towards our military heros.)
What a pivilage it has been today to have the Borders hills to myself. The only person I saw all day was the guy at the summit of Dun Rig, other than that it was just me, the birds, the wild flowers, sunshine and sheep.I even found some wild strawberries on the descent back to the car.
Now I know it wouldn't have been like that on Ben Vane!

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Re: Seven Hours Alone in The Borders Hills

Postby LeithySuburbs » Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:39 pm

My "default" hillwalking area when weather or other commitments conspire against longer forays. I love these hills - solitude, easy walking and easy to get to :D . Cheers for bringing back happy memories :) .
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Re: Seven Hours Alone in The Borders Hills

Postby Paul_Antonia » Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:42 pm

Thanks mate. Consider myself very lucky indeed that since last year this area is my home. I need to get up into these hills more often.
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