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Raikin the Foulbrig

PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 6:39 pm
by nxmjm
10.5 miles 4h 35min ascent 645m

Deer Law-Black Law-Greenside Law


Though a relatively short walk this one needed three maps. To be honest it was an out-right Donald bagging expedition, but also an opportunity to try out my new piece of equipment: a fold up mat to spare my backside the from wet grass. I splashed out on this one paying the extra £1.50 for the deluxe version.

I parked at the Megget Dam and after standing for a while, amazed by the sheep grazing on its grassy slope, I set off downhill to Glengaber. There is a farm track just before the farmhouse which is completely blocked by a massive pile of manure, but luckily this isn’t the path to follow. The track around Broomy Law was visible from the road and easily reached by crossing a field at a gate a few metres past the house. The field here was neither boggy nor muddy and must have been magically transported from some distant paradise.

Pile of Manure

The stony track slowly climbs up Glengaber Glen, hugging the base of Broomy Law, with the burn burbling below amidst heather and ferns. A sheep pen near Boar Cleuch was succumbing to nature and filled with ferns. Presumably there must have been many more sheep up here in the past, and perhaps even boar?

The rocky track crosses a couple of small streams and then ends with a ford over Cons Cleuch at a collection of sheep pens. From here I climbed up onto Deer Law, initially following a faint track but eventually toiling across pathless grass and heather, the ground growing boggier the higher I climbed. This was a typical convex hill where the horizon was always just a few metres away and the top only seen when you have almost reached it. The combination of the going underfoot and uncertainty about how far was left to climb proved quite tiring and I had several stops to admire the view back down the glen.

Deer Law

Deer Law is a good 180m shorter than its namesake, Hart Fell, but does have its own cairn (well a few rocks anyway) and one of these is flat enough to serve as a seat amidst the soggy grass. From here the rest of the route was visible for the first time. I followed the fence over Conscleuch Head then up to Black Law.

Now I am quite used to the cols being boggy, but Conscleuch Head seems to have forgotten that it is a hill and gone native with the cols. There is bog, hidden muddy holes, black peat mush and supersaturated sphagnum moss, all requiring care when picking a route. I could see the change in colour half way up Black Law that marked less boggy ground and looked forward to reaching it. Despite care in placing my feet, I fell foul of a mud filled hole but most of it had been wiped off within a minutes.

Black Law’s summit is a 600m plateau with a small rise at each end, that to the east being 2m higher. There are deep furrows running along the summit which are too large to have been made by a vehicle other than a tank. They must be natural however since they degenerate into a network of channels when they reach collections of peat hags, whereas a vehicle would have cut across the peat.

I had my lunch on Black Law, protected from the damp, cold and irregularity of the ground by my new seat/mat. I was however denied comfort since the weather chose just this time to crank up the wind to blustery.

The map suggests that it should be all downhill as far as Foulbrig but heading down to Redsike Head definitely has some uphill sections. Luckily there were more opportunities to practice coping with bogginess. I found myself crossing the fence several times when faced with uncrossable sections on my own side. The fence had seen better days and many posts were rotten. There were a great many pieces of fencing wire lying about and these were difficult to spot looking quite like grass. I tripped over these several times with much cursing and stumbling.

Cairn on Redsike Head

At 570m the fence takes a sharp left hand turn and goes down to Foulbrig. I followed the fence but looking back it would be better to continue in the direction of the original fence and join the path above Bitch Cleuch. I had been uncertain if the single broken line on the OS map would be an actual path or a mere ghost, so followed the fence down to the aptly named Foulbrig, a flat area of marshy land that I would not want to cross after heavy rain. Standing by the fence contemplating which way to walk across this section I looked down at the fence post. It’s centre had rotted away and two dead newts lay within it. That’s not something you often see.

Manor-Megget Path

The right of way from Manor Glen to Megget is actually a substantial and well maintained track and I chose to follow this for 50m of easy ascent, rather than follow the fence line directly up Greenside Law. There is a small cairn beside the track where it reaches its highest point close to the 567m spot height on the OS map. I had hoped there would be a track leading up to the summit from here, but did not see one so headed up through the heather. There were at times faint tracks that I took to be animal tracks. The final 60 metres to the summit were across uneven ground with the similar terrain to the rest of this walk. My heart lifted briefly when I saw a cairn on the horizon ahead, but once there it was clear it was not the summit. I couldn’t really tell I was at the summit until I could see over the far side.

From the summit my plan had been to head for the pile of stones marked on the map and then towards a sheepfold where I would join the path back to the Megget Road. Unfortunately given the shape of the hill, I could not see the pile of stones and since the actual summit is unclear it was difficult to use a bearing, so I headed off perpendicular to the fence. The pile of stones was nowhere to be seen, though in retrospect (inspecting my GPS track) these were the cairn I had passed on the way up. I eventually came upon a vehicle track that I followed all the way back to the Manor-Megget path, close to the sheepfold.

From here I was able to walk the last mile or so back to the car, via Craigierig, on firm dry land.

RK_gpx _2012-09-09_1026A.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Re: Raikin the Foulbrig

PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 7:58 pm
by wjshaw2
My favourite bog in those hills is Rotten Bottom between Hart Fell and White Coomb. I think you could sink over your head quite happily in there. It feels like you're standing on a thin carpet over a bottomless pool sometimes. Perhaps you are. The Foulbrig sounds like it's worth a visit :) .

It's nearly as good as some of the Galloway Hills bogs, which are definitely mantraps.

Re: Raikin the Foulbrig

PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:14 pm
by nxmjm
Indeed, I've crossed Rotten Bottom in heavy rain. It beats the Foulbrig hands down in bogginess.