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Hart Fell, parking proper, a spa, and a tub of beef!

Hart Fell, parking proper, a spa, and a tub of beef!

Postby cheekykarma » Sun Oct 02, 2011 8:59 pm

Route description: Hart Fell ridges horseshoe, near Moffat

Corbetts included on this walk: Hart Fell

Donalds included on this walk: Hart Fell

Date walked: 01/10/2011

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 14 km

Ascent: 808m

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Saturday the 1st of October.

In true Scottish tradition today brought portents of doom. Firstly the weather was telling me we may see the hottest October day on record. Yet not for viewers in central Scotland! Also a rugby match was playing in some far off land that echoed the divide of sunshine and rain about to pass over this little country on the other side of the planet from that playing field.

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Our starting point was at Newton Farm. A slight err of the day. As you drive down the Old Edinburgh Road it is a long single track road and it takes a while before passing places arrive. At near the end of this at Newton Farm we saw a campervan and a very large nice sparse tarmac parking area.

We parked and we kitted up.

Yep imagine that scenario nothing at all wrong with that you would think? Well apart from the fact that the area we were in is actually Newton Farms driveway!

Easy mistake to make. If taking Hart Fell by this route there is a parking area just at the old village hall a large green building. The chap at Newton farm was reasonably amicable and was fair to allow us to remain where we parked. Although we could have easily moved the cars back down.

In general it is an easy mistake. Passing the village hall you see an area to park right against the building. Passing Newton Farm you see a large rectangle parking area, across from the farm. I think 9 out of 10 walkers would assume oh! thanks very much, and park.

So if ever overflowed at the village hall you can ask the chap at Newton Farm if it is okay to park across the way from him on his extended driveway really. And presuming all is well should be reasonably all okay. I would suggest it being an easy mistake to make, Newton Farm could gate, or even pop up an attention walkers sign to say, this is my driveway that looks a bit like a council car park!

Pictures show the start off from Newton Farm and the correct parking area at the village hall. Should you choose this starting point opposed to the Cappelgill point off the A708 route.

Looking back from Newton Farm - the green Village hall is the parking point proper

This is the building to park next to

Parking sorted out. Myself and five amigos made six together. We were off down the road and setting off toward Hartfell Spa. I had assumed we were going to be doing the other route around by Saddle Yorke and Hartfell Rig, so my printed map area was a bit off and so I followed on.

The weather was humid and very close. The weather reports had a bit of luck in that, the bands of rain would not be turning towards this area until near on four. We were in for a hazy and humid type of day.

A handy signpost right at the start

The Watch Burn and Auchencat Burn join feeding to the Annan

We followed the path, and many of them marked with ATV or Quad type tracks. We run along side of the burn and head for the spa between Bills Cleuch and Newton Fell.

There is a lot of development going on around here. Signposts. Marker points. Deer Fences. Some nice styles and crossing points. Still down here is in a lot of places open country. Sheep and cattle roaming around.

We made it to the spa and it was quick and not even tea break time yet.

The Auchencat Burn

Hartfell Spa sign

Atop the roof of the spa in technicolour .........

.... and black and white

The Spa - Merlin lived here?

I am still not sure what the stone says on the roof inside the spa. Some type of marker, emblem type thing. I took a pic on colour and black and white in the hope it would show a bit more clear.

Seemingly legend says Merlin spent his last few years here at the chalybeate spring.

From here there is a steep bit of a scramble. Straight up and onto Newton Fell to head for Arthurs Seat. It is a short but very steep section and I was not for trusting the slippery and sandy and a bit oily ground below me. I was kicking my toes in as if I was upon an icy slope.

Before Arthurs seat was a fence. We were hungry it was time for a break. Across long grassy continuous uphill slopes we had pushed on and through and no sign yet of this Hart Fell.

Tea break feet!

This is only a corbett is it not? Why is it hidden amid these rolling deceptively steep hills. Time for a break and a cuppa.

Tea break over it was time to push on again and find that hill.

The grassy path toward Arthurs Seat a corbett is hidden in here

Arthurs Seat

Reaching Arthurs Seat we had a quad or ATV track path to lead us up and onto Hart Fell. This made the going much easier and in no time at all we reached the trig and the cairn of Hart Fell and a tick for me.

Horrific Trig shot! Hart Fell

Hart Fell Cairn and Trig at the fence line

The way back was off my map really and we headed across the tops and very roughly marked on the map at the beginning to the Devils Beef Tub and back down.

I think the total ascent of the day would have been over 900m easy. We had a few ups and downs.

We met a very nice cairn laid by the lottery fund.

We slanted along the edge of a sheep track past the Devils Tub. That was not the greatest path to end a long day as I was not wanting at all to look down and to my right. Focus on the path and the path only. A slip on the edge of a Beef Tub would not be fun.

But still. A great humid and hazy day which held back some great views. Yet was kind enough to keep the rain off until we reached the cars.

I am enjoying these Corbetts as much as the Munros. I look forward to many more and again a day in great company and without whose company I would not have had a day on the hills. So privileged I am to have had another fine day.

I leave with a few more parting photos as we headed back toward the Beef Tub. I should have really took photos of the Beef Tub area but to be quite honest the thin grassy, muddy trail across it just made me want to get off it. It can be so easy to just go. Yet how many of us all roll these dice every other day and never slip once.

Only a beef tub it is. But I bet it could damage me all the same. So caution and concentration on the way home.

Before that though I include on the end a video. A bit of a hazy day so shame it reduced visibility and views, yet still, one of the finest moments I have stopped to pee yet.

This area flows into three rivers and more I think. All the way to sea. And yes I had a pee on it!
I would just like to point out in the area above on the hills that all flow down into the rivers is seas is where I had a pee! Not on this lovely cairn.

Part of me is already travelling out across the oceans!

Cairn marking the Annandale Way

Rolling hills in haze

Last edited by cheekykarma on Mon Oct 03, 2011 6:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Hart Fell, parking proper, a spa, and a tub of beef!

Postby pollyh33 » Mon Oct 03, 2011 8:22 am

Well done CK.

I didn't know anything about the spa or the tub of beef for that matter. Definitely worth checking out :D
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Re: Hart Fell, parking proper, a spa, and a tub of beef!

Postby ChrisW » Mon Oct 03, 2011 10:51 am

Great stuff CK, just goes to show it is often worth worth taking a risk on the weather, some nice pics there and some huffing and puffing on the video :wink:

The stone you were having difficulty reading is written backwards making it more difficult, it looks like it should be used to press a date into a softer substance - clay?? anyway, here it is flipped, it appears to say Forward, CD 2 (or that 2 may just be a scroll) then a date 1754 (with carved fish between 17 and 54).

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Re: Hart Fell, parking proper, a spa, and a tub of beef!

Postby cheekykarma » Mon Oct 03, 2011 5:32 pm

The Beef Tub was used to herd cattle into by thievery types and villainous men.

The Spa more famously housed the wizard Merlin for some time. I am not so sure if I buy that one.


And thanks Chris for the flip of the photo, doh for me not thinking yeah lets make this easier!

Info from walkscotland follows:

This is the old Douglas clan motto "Forward" and the crest, a winged heart, which is often surmounted by Bruce´s crown. This clearly refers to the fact that Robert the Bruce's great ally - the Black Douglas took Bruce's heart to the crusades and threw it at the enemy as he was himself about to die in battle in Spain. Bruces heart ended up at Melrose Abbey.
The connection of the Douglas clan with Moffat is that one of the several other titles that the Duke of Buccleuch goes by is "Lord Douglas of Kilmount, Middlebie and Dornock" a title which dates back to 1682. The Duke of Buccleuch owns huge tracts of land here and elsewhere in Britain.
The date on the plaque is 1754. Why it should be in the inverted form that you might use as a seal to imprint into wax I don't know. One visitor to this site has suggested that it you saw the plaque reflected on the surface of the water in the floor of the spa it would be the right way round. This would work if you were using artificial light in the spa but not otherwise - it is too dark on the ceiling to see it by natural light.

Now I like that idea of reflected in the water below by torch or candle light. Sadly the floor is very muddy and squidgy! But if a pool of flat water, then yes a nice image that would make.
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Re: Hart Fell, parking proper, a spa, and a tub of beef!

Postby megangohson » Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:39 am

Beef tubs for elderly looks amazing. I loved the place. Its truly awesome.
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Re: Hart Fell, parking proper, a spa, and a tub of beef!

Postby lairdoharray » Sat Jul 27, 2019 5:48 pm

Good point about the parking. We got it right, but it would be an understandable mistake to go to the farm. It is not too taxing a walk apart from when you go down from the summit westwards and then up very sharply. Plenty of alternatives. We came off too far east and missed going down the 'Tub, thus avoiding your hairy descent! All very pleasant.
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Re: Hart Fell, parking proper, a spa, and a tub of beef!

Postby Sgurr » Sat Jul 27, 2019 5:59 pm

You are gluttons for punishment. We cut out a lot of the climbing by going there and back from the summit of the A 701. Admittedly, we missed out on some of the attractions, but there is still plenty of parking. Might walk up just to see the spa sometime. Thanks.
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