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Dun Rig from Peebles

Dun Rig from Peebles

Postby LeithySuburbs » Thu Sep 24, 2009 8:47 pm

Route description: Dun Rig Horseshoe, Peebles

Grahams included on this walk: Dun Rig

Donalds included on this walk: Birkscairn Hill, Dun Rig

Date walked: 23/09/2009

Time taken: 4 hours

Distance: 19 km

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With the golf season drawing to a close, my Wednesday afternoon off work (I work Saturday morning before anyone says anything about slacking :lol:) was looking empty. I decided to cram in a walk in the hills above Peebles, partly to stretch the legs and get some miles under my belt but also because it was a pleasant day and this was an area I had not really explored. A quick look at the map showed an obvious high level walk to Dun Rig returning by Glen Sax. I guessed it was about 14-15km which I hoped would take about 4h15m (Google Earth later revealed it to be almost 19km - no wonder my feet hurt a bit). I set off at 3:10pm from the end of Glen Road (as far as vehicles can be taken) knowing there would not be much time for breaks with darkness falling at about 7:30pm.

The path is obvious - a Scottish Rights of Way sign indicates "Kirkhope Law via Kailzie Drovers Road". This leads through a lovely wooded area before starting to climb up Craig Head and opening out onto heathery Borders upland.


Dun Rig walk (2).jpg

The views north over Peebles and to the Pentlands soon open up and, with the sun out and on the sheltered side of the hill, I quickly worked up a heat. The drovers road bypasses the summit of Craig Head but that didn't bother me. I always feel that in this part of Scotland it is the ancient through routes and their sense of history that take precedence over the bagging of summits. Continuing to Kailzie Hill the views had really opened up and ahead I could see my whole route to Dun Rig which still looked a long way off.

Dun Rig.jpg

I was also now exposed to the strong SW wind which would make the exposed high level traverse a bit of a slog. 1h30m in I ducked into a plantation for some shelter to eat a sandwich and puff a fag. At least it was dry - this would be a long walk in rain and I wondered about the lives of those old drovers who must have used this route to the south in some awful conditions in days gone by.

I rejoined the path and began to climb to the large cairn marking the summit of Birkscairn Hill. I now turned SW right into the face of the wind for the 3.5km to the summit of Dun Rig. This was a real slog and there were some large peat hags and featherbeds to cross around Stake Law which would be very awkward in wet conditions. Fortunately 10 days of dry weather meant that difficulties were short lived and gaining higher ground brought easy grassy slopes leading to the trig point on Dun Law.

Dun Rig summit lookig to Eildon Hills.jpg

It was now 5:40pm and shade had already crept along the length of Glen Sax. From the summit I could see my whole outward route and must admit to feeling a sense of quiet satisfaction at getting so much out my afternoon.

Dun Rig walk (23).jpg

Even with the lowering sun I could make out Arthurs Seat in Edinburgh and the Eildons to the east. I set off quickly down the north shoulder of Dun Law with the wind now at my back and soon reached the floor of the glen.

Dun Rig from Glensax.jpg

It was 6:20pm and I had 1h10m to walk 6.5km of farm track back to the car (not that walking it in the dark would have posed any real problems but I wanted to challenge myself). At the head of the glen are the slightly eerie buildings marked as Glensax on the map (I think one is still used as a private bothy).

Glensax (1).jpg
is that a banjo I hear?

Sometimes this sort of walk-out can be a bit tiresome but with a gradual downhill gradient and a slight breeze at my back I enjoyed every second of this surprisingly remote setting on a now glorious evening. I arrived back at the car at exactly 7:30pm just as I had intended and just as the last light was fading.

I covered the 18.8km and 680m ascent in 4h20m but this walk could easily be made into a full day with proper breaks and a more leisurely pace.
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Re: Dun Rig from Peebles

Postby hills » Thu Sep 24, 2009 11:06 pm

Thats a braw report, some great photos, love the colours. :D
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Re: Dun Rig from Peebles

Postby Paul Webster » Sat Sep 26, 2009 11:53 am

Great pics, love the first one especially. Last one is very atmospheric - you can almost hear the banjos :D

I'm looking forward to the borders - have always liked the look of those Eildon hills in the distance for a short jaunt.
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Re: Dun Rig from Peebles

Postby CheeseHat » Sun Sep 05, 2010 3:26 pm

This is a really lovely walk, perfect for the short Winter days - I did it in November last year and again at the end of January this year - quite different walks, November was a bit wet and had quite a large boggy section at the final stretch up to Dun Rig, while January was on a clear sunny day and had a heck of a lot of snow. A heck of a lot.

From the summit of Dun Rig another option for the walk is to continue along the SW ridge, that then curves around at the head of the glen and after a short way N along the ridge drop down into the glen, near the start of the stream. It's a lovely, peaceful stream to walk along - and involves hopping from one side to the other quite a few times until it becomes too big to jump across, which is roughly where the track starts.
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Re: Dun Rig from Peebles

Postby JJColeman » Mon Sep 06, 2010 12:32 pm

I walked this route on Saturday, with a bit of a breeze on the high ground but mostly dry underfoot after so little rain in the past week. I can imagine it is quite a slog when the ground is sodden. This kind of walk if perfect for me as I have a real fear of heights, but all those broad ridges give you the views without any feeling of exposure.

I took the long route described in Nick Williams' Southern Uplands, the Pocket Mountains guide, which includes walking over a couple of minor tops north of Hundleshope Heights before dropping down to some forestry at the end, rather than following the glen. This means you miss the deliverance shacks but you keep the views for longer. This doesn't add much to the walk so if I ever do this round again, I think I'll take the route described here.
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Re: Dun Rig from Peebles

Postby Cuillin » Sat Oct 23, 2010 5:57 pm

Thanks for the report which is really helpful. :)
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Re: Dun Rig from Peebles

Postby warbietoo » Sat Oct 23, 2010 10:12 pm

Great little walk this. Surprisingly steep at the start as i found out during the summer when i biked it. Had to carry the damn thing most of the way up until it flattened out. :( The views are great though and well worth it.
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