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Across Gameshope Burn

Across Gameshope Burn


Postby nxmjm » Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:29 pm

Donalds included on this walk: Erie Hill , Garelet Dod, Lochcraig Head , Molls Cleuch Dod

Date walked: 12/08/2012

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 16.2 km

Ascent: 990m

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10 miles 5h 45min ascent 990m

Nickies Knowe-Lochcraig Head-Molls Cleuch Dod-Garelet Dod-Erie Hill-Garelet Hill The usual Lochcraig Head, Molls Cleuch Dod walk from the Megget stone, extended to include the Fruid Donalds.

First we had to decide whether to walk from Talla Linnfoots to the Megget Stone at the beginning of the walk (park at Talla Linnfoots) or at the end of the walk (park at the Megget Stone). We decided to get it out of the way early on which was probably the right choice; we had nice weather, firm ground and plenty of energy.

I decided not to use the farm track along the southern bank of Talla Water since I had doubts that the footbridge marked on the OS map still existed. I could find no recent photos of it and the geograph website even had a photo with someone fording the burn. Looking across from the road my suspicions were confirmed. So to avoid wet feet early in the day we walked up to a gate about 100m past the Megget Stone and headed onto Nickies Knowe from there.

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Megget Stone with Nickies Knowe in the background

There looked to be boggy ground between the gate and the slopes of Nickies Knowe, but by keeping to slightly higher ground we stayed dry. There did look to be a faint track snaking up Nickies Knowe when we looked up from the road, but the slopes here are convex and we couldn’t find it until we reached a gate in the fence at about 480m. From there we joined the faint track. This led us up a short steep section onto the top of the ridge/shoulder giving us our first view of Megget reservoir.

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Megget Reservoir

There is large cairn on Wood Brae, which is not marked on the OS map. Unfortunately I mistook this for the cairn below the summit of Nickies Knowe and thought we were well ahead of schedule. I can’t say exactly where the cairn was but I suspect it was at about 560m. Once we crested the next wee rise it was obvious this wasn’t Nickies Knowe since the hill was there in the distance (not just 20m away). The actual marked cairn is a much less impressive affair.

The walk up Nickies Knowe was a succession of false summits; our mettle was tested but we plodded on with our heads held high. As we gained height though, the ground grew firmer and the grass shorter. Once on the summit of Nickies Knowe we could see the undulating way ahead to Talla East Side and Lochcraig Head. The OS has a rather strange section marked as “Pile of Stones” where there are two cairns amidst a sprinkling of stones. I’m unsure whether the carpet of stones are the pile, or one of the cairns.

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Pile of Stones on Lochcraig Head

By the time we were approaching the summit of Lochcraig Head, the early sunshine had given way to strong winds and dark clouds, so Loch Skeen looked quite dull. Our route then followed the wall across the boggy col of Talla Nick, but a bit of stone hopping had us across with dry feet. Once out of the col we had a relatively easy stroll along the plateau to Molls Cleuch Dod for lunch.

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Loch Skeen under stormy skies

With hindsight, Conor suggested that we might perhaps have got off the summit, and out of the wind, for lunch. Youngsters! In my day.....

From Molls Cleuch Dod the plan was to head down to the Gameshope Burn. If we could cross, we would take in the Fruid Donalds: Garelet Dod and Erie Hill. If we couldn’t cross, the plan was to head along the Gameshope Burn back to Talla Linnfoots. The footbridges across the upper reaches of Gameshope Burn are a distant memory.

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Molls Cleuch Dod

After heading west down the grassy slopes of Molls Cleuch Dod we rejoined the fence at about 640m and followed it down to Gameshop Burn. Luckily the burn was low enough for us to cross. The best way over was to cross Donalds Cleuch Burn and then Gameshope Burn, Conor and I choosing different crossings.

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Gameshope Burn

From the burn crossing my plan was to head along the fence to a sheepfold and then directly across the slopes of Garelet Dod to its summit. The ground around here was quite hard going with deep tussocky grass and I thought I spotted a track further up the hill so headed for it. As it turns out it was probably made by a quad bike in a single pass and was not much of a track to follow. Despite this being a gentle gradient I found this section quite tiring and had to have a bit of a breather at the sheep fold.

Having experienced the tussock grass I decided not to climb across the slopes of Garelet Dod, but instead to head more directly up to the shorter grass and firmer ground further up the hill.

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Gameshope Loch

Garelet Dod is flat topped without any definite summit marker but does offer good views, including Fruid Reservoir and Gameshope Loch, bringing to five the large bodies of water seen on the walk. I’ve read that Gameshope Loch is the highest loch in southern Scotland but I wonder if it has bribed someone to upgrade it from Lochan status.

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Looking north to Erie Hill

From Garelet Dod we followed the ridge north taking in Erie Hill, Lairds Cleuch Rig and Garelet Hill, the wind blowing in our faces all the way, and our water bottles almost empty. From Garelet Hill, with its eroding trig pillar we headed directly down to the one remaining bridge over Gameshope Burn. This required a compass bearing from the summit since the slopes are concave and the descent route can’t be seen from the top.

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Garelet Hill's eroded trig pillar

The descent was hard on the thigh muscles, and some zig-zagging was needed in the steeper sections but the ground was firm.

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Rowan in Witch Linn

Four Donalds. The ascents and descents take a bit of effort and Gameshope Burn might be a problem to cross following rain but the walk is relatively easy once up on the ridges.


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nxmjm
 
Posts: 98
Munros:1   Corbetts:11
Fionas:24   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:29   Hewitts:15
Wainwrights:21   Islands:2
Joined: Dec 23, 2011
Location: D&G

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