Misty……moisty…..Merrick, then ……...BOGFEST!
by PeteR » Sat May 11, 2013 4:16 pm
Route description: The Merrick via Loch Valley, from Glen Trool
Corbetts included on this walk: Merrick
Donalds included on this walk: Merrick
Date walked: 06/05/20132 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Once the nice chap from the RAC had worked his magic on Sunday (other breakdown companies are available ) the pull of the great outdoors was strong. So, whatever the forecast on the Monday I was going walking
Given the forecast suggested pish I didn’t see much point in driving hunners and hunners of miles just to get wet and see hee-haw. So instead I chose to travel just the 65 miles south (only the second time I my hill-walking that I have ever travelled south to do a hill) in order to get wet and see hee-haw
And the day’s target was the high point of the Galloway hills – Merrick. Had the weather been better I would have included the neighbouring Corbett of Shalloch on Minnoch too. But it wasn’t…..so I didn’t As it was I had a great time doing the Walkhighlands Loch Valley route in reverse.
Perhaps it was some sort of mis-placed snobbery, but I had always dismissed the Galloway hills for some reason. I’d always thought they weren’t as exciting as their more revered cousins up north. I’m happy to admit that I was wrong. It may have had something to do with the conditions on the day, but it felt every bit like a wilderness as I wandered about in the mist
I was a bit later parking up at the Bruce’s Stone car park, but I put that down to the big lorry I got stuck behind after Girvan. It’s a bendy stretch of road and the blighter wouldn’t let me passed for miles!!!!!
The “baggers” route up the hill should have given me the portents of what was to come on the route back. The initial path was a bit boggy and the rocks slippery, but it was still a nice walk into the, what I assume to be, ruined bothy.
The route up through the trees immediately after was a fairly steep surprise, but once out of the trees the gradient seemed pretty gentle compared to many a hill I’ve climbed. At this point I was in the clouds and visibility wasn’t the best. And if anything it seemed to be getting worse I'd also made the mistake of keeping my specs on for this walk - can't see great without them but when the air is full of moisture I can't see with them either Became a bit of a nuisance after a while, as I hadn't got the case to put them in Won't make that mistake again
The path had improved though, being a very well maintained path up to and just passed a gated fence
Soon after the path was replaced by a boggy, grassy path all the way to the top o the hill. Visibility was still non-existent. I did become aware at one point, as I followed the path up beside a dry stone wall that I was on a narrower ridge. Subsequent investigations confirm this as the Neive of the Spit. I could barely see the edges either side the clag was that thick Sadly I did see a dead sheep on the hillside Not the most pleasant of views.
Just after the path moves away from the wall for what I discovered was the final push to the summit I became aware of voices. I may have mentioned these voices I sometime hear in other reports This time though a dog appeared out of nowhere Blimey…..a talking dog Then its owners appeared suddenly out of the gloom
After a brief chat I was on my way and the final, short walk to the summit. Again, that just suddenly appeared out of nowhere. Met my third and final fellow walker at the shelter. Had a quick chat. He’d come up via the Loch Valley and Redstone Rig, which was my chosen route of decent, and was heading back down via the baggers path. I didn’t hang around on the summit long after he had left. I was pretty sure it would be a long wait for any views (Tuesday was full sun of course!!!!).
The next section of the walk was great There’s no path down the Rig to Loch Enoch. It was a case of plotting my way through the mist, down grassy banks, through rocky outcrops to the loch side. I can imagine the feeling of being enclosed in the clag wouldn’t be everyone’s cup o tea. It gets to me sometimes too. But this time round I was happy to have disappeared in the clag, lost to the world for a brief moment in time
Suddenly I arrived beside Loch Enoch. The clag was so thick that little of the loch could be seen, even standing close to the water’s edge. A little spooky in the silence and yet magical at the same time Quite a spot for a wild camp I thought. I hung around for a while in the nothingness that surrounded me before heading off for the return to the car park.
Got slightly misplaced for a short while at this point In my head I was returning over the Rig of Loch Enoch and Buchan Hill. On my GPS I wasn’t It took me a few moments to get my head back together and I realised the Walkhighlands route took me round the Rig, via Lochs Arron, Neldricken and the Murder Hole and Loch Valley Eventually I was back on the walkhighlands route just before Loch Arron.
And here started the real bogfest All that had gone before was nothing more than a sideshow
Now, I’m quite partial to a bit of bog I have to admit, but this was something else On a scale of 1 to 10.............this was off the scale Pretty much all the way back to the car park too Although there is a path to follow the extent of the bog made for slightly slow progress at times, as I slid and sunk my way through the sludge. On the plus side the walk passed the Murder Hole, Loch Neldricken and Loch Valley was worth the effort, with some great views to be had
Eventually I was back at the car, having enjoyed a good walk despite the distinct lack of summit views and then the bogfest. So, despite my initial reservations, the Galloway hills came up trumps I'll certainly be back at some point, although I'll probably bring me a snorkel next time
by gmr82 » Sat May 11, 2013 6:22 pm
by kevsbald » Sat May 11, 2013 6:33 pm
by PeteR » Sat May 11, 2013 7:52 pm
kevsbald wrote:I've done quite a bit down past you, Pete and it's just as rewarding. I too will be doing a wild camp over beside Mullwharcher (what a name!) and it's neighbouring Graham. Fab wee area - very wild.
Cheers kev. Totaly agree (now ) that this is a great area.
When I was prepping for this walk I came across your report for Shalloch on Minnoch You seem not to have enjoyed the bog on that route. So, in a round-a-bout way it's thanks to you that I chose the Merrick Thankfully though I wasn't stalked by any strange women on my trip
by PeteR » Sat May 11, 2013 7:56 pm
gmr82 wrote:If you like wilderness then many a Donald walk will give you that. On a number my walks I've not seen a soul all day (8 hours last time!), as well as seen no view on many others. I'm with you on the mist though, I do find it almost quite exciting, at times anyway. Your report pretty much sums up my experience of the Donalds so far, great that you came back having enjoyed it too
Thanks gmr82. There's many a walk I've done too and not seen a soul and probably just as many when I've not seen a view either It's never put me off yet - in fact I'd say one of my all time favourite walks was in near total clag, driving rain and strong winds That's not to say that a day of full sun wouldn't go a-miss sometimes
by rockhopper » Mon May 13, 2013 1:03 pm
by pigeon » Mon May 13, 2013 2:54 pm
by gammy leg walker » Mon May 13, 2013 4:58 pm
by Collaciotach » Mon May 13, 2013 9:59 pm
by PeteR » Wed May 15, 2013 8:14 pm
rockhopper wrote:Interesting, Pete - have occasionally thought about going south but generally end up northwards Looks a good wander despite the conditions...but very damp ! - cheers
Thanks RH. You're right about one thing....... it's damp
A great alternative for me though on those odd days when the weather is rubbish.......oh, no, hang on.......that's every weekend isn't it?
by PeteR » Wed May 15, 2013 8:16 pm
pigeon wrote:Another fine report Pete and another place i've yet to get to,think i'll wait till it dries out a bit though
Don't forget your snorkel pigeon.......you may need it I'm not sure if it ever dries out
by PeteR » Wed May 15, 2013 8:17 pm
gammy leg walker wrote:Quality TR as always Peter,only ever done White Coomb & the Grey Mares Tail down south but have read a fair reports need to change this soon.
Cheers gammy. It may not be in the realms of long treks in the widerness, but a great area for some shorter days walking
by PeteR » Wed May 15, 2013 8:25 pm
Collaciotach wrote:Don't know the area at all Pete looks worth a visit though , good report
Thanks colla. Not quite the wilderness you have on your back door of course, but demonstrates the great variety of hillwalking to be enjoyed across Scotland
by Fife Flyer » Thu May 16, 2013 7:30 pm
Know the area fairly well & have driven through the forest a few times