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Broad Law - the attack of Broad Law by a novice Sunsmith

Broad Law - the attack of Broad Law by a novice Sunsmith

Postby cheekykarma » Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:11 am

Corbetts included on this walk: Broad Law

Donalds included on this walk: Broad Law

Date walked: 04/03/2012

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 9 km

Ascent: 840m

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Saturday the 3rd of March I had picked up my hire car courtesy of Hertz and started to roam the land in search of a car for my good self!

And late in the evening I thought, I could have a wee hill day tomorrow. With my trusty hired set of wheels I could just take off and have some hill time too. So then I took to the web looking at weather reports and hill reports from here too of course.

I have been out with a walking group since last year and this was to be a solo adventure. The weather was to be touch and go in the west of the country and farther north. However the mountain weather forecast for the low country was brimmed with hope. Yet the BBC in general was at the time no sure if they would get caught on the edge of all that horrible weather Englandshire was in for.

So Broad Law was picked.

A corbett to tick for me. As well as being a reasonably large rolling flat hill that is a nice easy safe bet to be out on my little todd.

Armed with an evening of walk reports and two A4 sheets of the area printed on both sides I had my map, I was packed, and I was all set for the morning.

The day was planned, attack Broad Law and from there consider time wise of perhaps taking in Dollar Law too.

I set off aiming for the Megget Stone parking area. A pleasant drive down met with a little dreich and some faint snow too. I found my way to the Tweedsmuir road and then drove up toward Talla reservoir.

I would like to say here this is a tremendous little drive. A lovely little road through some nice country and a great wee drive.

I stopped just after Talla Linnfoots as I saw some folks packing up who I guess had been camping and were heading off. Checking my maps I was thinking, hold on there is no cattle grid here, this stone must be up yonder steep road.

The road had a slushy covering of snow upon it and imagine my surprise when I rounded a turn and was face to face with a VW Camper van! Agh!
This section of road is steep and there is farther up passing places but this little section has only hard rock either side and when the verge is all snow, there is no way you would risk a hire cars sides or edges on rock or dry stane dyke.

So I reversed, slowly, all the way back down. Thus prompting me to review that the Ford Focus has a back and rear view that can only be rated as abysmal.

Chatting with the VW driver he told me he was checking the road as some cyclists were due. He told me beyond the crossing just up ahead the road had been snow covered and no tyre tracks had been made all morning.

I drove up and took a look. Yep it was snow. I considered firstly I am not in my own car and then secondly that, even though the weather may be good if it snows more.....

So back down I went to a little area just after the reservoir end at roughly 135202 just before the corner.

It was 9:55AM, boots on and ready for the off.

Starting Point

The bridge crossing where I drove up to and turned back

By 10:30AM I was at the Megget Stone. I am not sure why I expected a grander stone than this but was happy for a marker after walking along the road to find it. Met two cyclists at this point who were just out for fun but talked of the cycling event which was due.

At this time you can see it did not look the best road for cyclists.

Hello Megget Stone

The Cattle Grid

The road off toward Megget reservoir

Here was my marker. Simple job take a bearing on Broad Law from the Megget Stone on the map. Almost straight North. Bearing set. Tally ho up the hill.

Now here is where the solo walker kicks in. I am toasty thank the manufacturers for my gear and on days like this the gloves, the poles, my over-trousers, my hats, my under layers, oh so toasty.

But I did not expect this much snow foolishly. I am still thinking that what if I get belted with snow here? As well as the old be careful you are alone mantras all trying to doubt my novice mind.

It began simply by walking up over the hill above the Megget Stone and reaching the point where the road and where I have come from is now gone. Visibility is 50 metres perhaps. Let me pass this fence and do a quick compass check.

My view for a large part of the journey looked like this

Now I fully expected at this point the compass to say you are heading close enough North, good lad. As I stood and the needle settled, and I turned, and turned, and almost 100 degrees turned to face to my bearing I thought agggh!

My compass is not working! Surely I am right! Not this foolish magnetised thing that has been used for more years than I have been stupid! Oh my god.

With some doubt I said okay lets do it. On I plodded.

Sheep in the mist

And on and on and ariston I plodded.

So checking my bearing I was still on course and yes I was rising. I knew Broad Law is broad indeed and was a long rolling hill. I knew I had been walking not long enough to be expecting summits and knew it was a long walk up. But still my mind wanders. Sometimes a slight view would break and even had me thinking I am on totally the wrong hill. I bet I have fluffed the bearing!

Then something amazing happened as I trudged through the snow.

My map was 2 sheets of A4 paper printed on both sides. Prints of the area and varying scale for reference etc. In a nice plastic wallet. I looked down as I heard a scuff and whisp.

I looked at what I thought was a packet of Salt n Shake crisps, empty of course, blow past.

Then immediately recognised it came from me, not from some far off crisp eating chap who chucked his packet to the wind. That is my map!

I took off like a gazelle in clogs in the snow. I lumbered after that whisping map like an ogre. With hope the fence ahead was to stop it, no.
I think I hurdled the fence.
Roughly perhaps maybe 20 yards after that fence the land descended fairly sharply. I ran into thigh deep snow causing a small avalanche. As I slid down and ran down and lumbered down in a cascade of snow, the force of the brisk wind stopped. Sheltered now I was.

I looked around at the land before in the idea I may see my map caught in grass or rock or something. Yet my map being a black n white print on white paper. And the terrain being generally, white.


There goes the map!

My camera is in my leg pocket. With the map. I am often in and out the pocket for either or. I figure the map was loose and worked its way out and worked its way out my over-trousers to the glory of the wind.

And wooosh!

Is probably now skipping its way across France or Belgium!

So now I had to really hope my compass bearing is ok. I also thought as long as the bearing is right and leads me to the trig I can reverse it. Also a lot of snow the main bonus being I will follow my footsteps back.

I was still thinking though, what if this weather worsens as I plodded on. What if snow blizzard etc and I have no footprint path to follow? Once the map was gone my brain racked over all I read and learned about Broad Law from this fine site. Including a good friend Tinto.

As the memory map kicked in. The weather cleared a little to one side and I saw turbines! I vaguely remembered too the fence runs all the way to the trig I think. My bearing took me left of that fence and had me just in sight of it. I had decided to keep it on my right side in visibility range as I stay just off my bearing.

It was not long trudging on and on that I looked back and saw a cheeky fellow storming up along the fence edge.

A ha! There is something in all this murk and grey and white. There is a reason snow is near my knees and I trudge on.

is is is that a Trig I see before me!

The summit was reached. I survived the loss of my map. My bearing was not declination adjusted and thus had me just left of the air traffic tower. This explained why earlier it had me reasonably far off the fence line.

It was 13:00 not bad time considering a bit of map chasing dilly dallying.

There is a VOR atop this hill. A VHF omnidirectional radio range. Which really if you want to know how it works check Wikipedia as it is quite complex.

I just used it for lunch and a windbreak! I can say it works great. Yet I did wonder if my sperm count was dropping having my coffee and lunch. If you do wish to be cheeky and walk around inside the fenced area or use it as a windbreak, for God sake do not smoke! It has a lot of fuel for some reason. KaaaaBoooom type fuel.

I personally suspect the area as being a Troll monitoring station making sure no Trolls are in danger of breaching borders.

VHF OR station

I was knackered. No stopping all the way and the chase for the map really did me in. I was so glad of lunch and hot coffee yes indeed.


the trig point

trig point and me

The best part of this day was simply that the weather lifted as I arrived. You cannot beat that when it happens. As you lunch the hill just takes it hat off. Earlier as a solo walker of course I spoke to myself and to the hill. The sun was behind me trying to break through grey mist and cloud as I soldiered on to yet another up a bit down a bit up a bit down a bit. I was ranting, "I am coming for you Broad Law! I bring the Sun behind me! Show yourself! Face me and the Sun you feckin broad wide hill you!"

And by the magic of a true Sunsmith, the hill did open up once I found it.


The way back was simple. I went right back over my footsteps.

the way back

I stopped and had a good laugh when I found the point of the map incident. The trail follows a northerly passage true, then suddenly stops, and veers off 90 degrees to the right, toward, and over a fence.

I parked way down there

The road back was just fantastic. Sunshine.

back at the cattle grid - what no snow?

Talla Reservoir

Back at the car at 1520 hrs and not too bad a day out. I think I may have managed a push onto other tops, if I had a map! But Broad law for now is fine. I was amused to noticed the car reg I have suggested, Eejit!


Talla reservoir

A great day out. A solo adventure. Two lessons learned. Trust my bearing. And keep a spare map copy on solo trips. And pay heed to walk reports and just follow the darn fence!!!
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Re: Broad Law - the attack of Broad Law by a novice Sunsmith

Postby soulminer » Tue Mar 06, 2012 7:30 pm

Definately shows how hills take on a totally different character in Winter.
I was up there in Summer conditions, and loved it- a great day out with Paisley Hillwalking club. At least you had a few photos when the clag lifted, just to cheer you up :lol:
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Re: Broad Law - the attack of Broad Law by a novice Sunsmith

Postby Johnny Corbett » Tue Mar 06, 2012 10:52 pm

That was some change in the weather from the start to the finish. I did this in which can only be described as the windiest, sleatiest day i've ever had on the hills and that was after driving past the Megget Stone a few times before i actually saw it :?
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