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It was a game of three halves!

PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 9:09 pm
by kmsharp
Driving south from Glasgow down the M74 the weather looked much like last week - spectacular sunrise and heavy fog in patches on the motorway. When I parked at the derelict cottages at Daerside (just before the waterworks). The sun was starting to burn away the frost. It was noticeable that the temperature was significantly lower than last week and that the wind, even at low level was stronger and colder.

Leaving the car I picked up the Southern Upland Way heading west. I followed the forest track until the forestry (or what's left of it after extensive felling) gave way to open hill. I turned left off the path and headed up the northerly slopes of Comb Law. The going underfoot was dry and easy, and it was a steady pull uphill.

The Lowther Hills from the north slope of Comb Law.

Near the summit the good weather of the "first half" of the day gave way to the mist and clag of the "second half" of the day. I took a quick stop to put on my hat, gloves, fleece, and Gortex shell, and then continued on to the summit. Given the lack of views, and the lack of warmth I didn't stop. From the summit I followed the fence south west all the way to the summit of Hirstane Rig. I can imagine that if there had been more rain in recent weeks this section could have been quite wet.

I decided to contour round from Hirstane Rig to Rodger Law - bad idea. Still in the clag, and with visibility under 50m I found myself floundering around a maze of peat hags like something out of a Lord of the Rings movie. Luckily it wasn't that wet underfoot otherwise I may still have been in there! As I climbed onto the upper slopes of Rodger Law the hags gave way to scrub grass and I picked up a Land Rover track that took me all the way to the trig point.

Sheltering behind the trig point I had a quick refueling stop and then followed the Land Rover track back down towards Ballencleuch Law. This track was excellent and continued all the way to the summit. The weather decided the second half of the day was over and moved into the third half - high patchy cloud, which continued to build, and ever reducing sunny periods.

The very rubbish cairn on the summit of Ballencleuch Law.

The clouds were also clearing from the Lowther Hills, I could even make out the radar station and radio masts.

A clearer view of the Lowther Hills.

Looking back at Ballencleuch Law.

Once over Ballencleuch Law I continued to follow the Land Rover track onto the summit of Scaw'd Law. From Scaw'd Law I headed south, finally leaving the track and going cross country. I soon pick up the service road shown on the Landranger map. Before heading up Wedder Law I took a quick detour up Glenleith Fell - don't bother with this unless your ticking off Donald Tops!

I made quick time up the track to the summit of Wedder Law where I found a Moffat MRT Land Rover. Apparently the team were out doing radio checks and other prep work for a charity walk that will be taking place in June.

Over Ballencleuch Law to the Lowther Hills.

Rather than follow the track back down into Thick Cleuch (what a fantastic name!) I headed north east to Sheil Dod and then onto Ewe Gair.

Daer Reservoir from Ewe Gair.

I dropped down from Ewe Gair to the track and began the long plod back to the car. When I got to the dam (WP 0041 in the GPX file) I discovered that you're allowed to walk along the dam. I took this option and then walked down through the waterworks to the car.

Looking back from the dam at Daer Reservoir.

This was a really enjoyable route and may offer a better option than parking at Kirkhope and then doing a similar round but going up Kirkhope Cleuch. If you are following this route in low visibility I would suggest stickign with the fence from Hirstane Rig to the saddle between Rodger Law and Ballencleuch Law and then picking up the Land Rover track about NS940054. That should help you avoid the worst of the peat hags.

Ballencleuch Law.GPX Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Re: It was a game of three halves!

PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 4:07 pm
by meangarry
Nice report mate. Me and a buddy done a few of these hills yesterday and although the weather was clearer we got pelted by hailstones a few times. :(

Re: It was a game of three halves!

PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 4:26 pm
by laconic surf
meangarry wrote:Nice report mate. Me and a buddy done a few of these hills yesterday and although the weather was clearer we got pelted by hailstones a few times. :(

Garry, I think I met you a few weeks ago in the Bothy at the foot of Ettrick Pen? Think you were with two of your mates. Did you get them up Bodesbeck law? :lol: