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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Southern Uplands

Southern Uplands

Postby Physicistinboots » Tue Jun 11, 2013 10:03 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Hart Fell

Donalds included on this walk: Cape Law, Hart Fell, Molls Cleuch Dod, Swatte Fell

Date walked: 29/03/2013

Distance: 48.4 km

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A few months ago we began planning a trip to the hills over the Easter weekend. Back then we anticipated that the weather might still be cold enough for there to be snow on the higher Scottish hills hence we planned two potential trips - one for good weather and one for more challenging weather where we could hopefully avoid the worst snow. As Easter approached and winter returned with a vengeance both plans were put in the “for the summer” pile and a new plan was developed for even more challenging weather. In the week before the trip daily checks of the mountain weather information service threatened us with wind chill down to -26 degrees on the hills so yet another low level plan was developed. In the end the weather improved enough for a combination of the low level plan and the “even more challenging weather plan” to take place.
Friday evening saw us sat in the narrowest hotel in the world in Moffat, warm, well fed and putting off the inevitable exit into the cold. Eventually we gathered our courage and braved the night air. Two hours or so of night walking later and we set up camp on top of GreyGill Head. There was quite a bit of snow around but very soft stuff so not too bad to walk in. The walk had warmed us up nicely but even so the tents went up pretty fast and we were glad to get inside and into the sleeping bags for the night.
In the morning we had great views over Moffat and the surrounding hills, which made up for the cold weather. After a quick breakfast it was straight off through the snow in an attempt to warm ourselves up again. Over a beautifully clear day we wandered over Blue Cairn, Nether Coomb Craig, Hartfell Rig, Firthhope Rig, Donald’s Cleuch Head, Molls Cleuch Dod and Carlavin Hill before descending to the Talla reservoir to make camp. The walking was pretty hard going through the snow and the evening’s freeze dried meals were very welcome!
The next morning we kept to a lower level to cover more ground and walked along the road until just past the end of St Mary’s Loch. We then turned off the road and headed once more into the hills. The road walking had been very easy but once into the snow we slowed to a trudge. One are of particularly deep snow in a wooded area tested our commitment to the hike but we persevered and eventually emerged triumphant onto the top of Deuchar Law. A short while later we reached Fethan hill and pitched camp.
On the final day all that remained was to descend from the hills and wander past Traquair into Innerleithen to catch the bus back home again.
Not quite as ambitious a trip as we had originally hoped but good practise for walking in snow. Some nice views and generally great weather. Also a good chance to experience cold weather camping for the first time – you really know if your kit is good enough once you have tried that!







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Re: Southern Uplands

Postby meangarry » Tue Jun 11, 2013 10:30 pm

By christ you done well walking that far in that snow. I was out the day before and only managed a short round as the drifts were waist deep and more. You definatley missed out on seeing loch skeen frozen though! On my way down a guy was heading up to sleep in a snow hole for the night. Nutter! :crazy: :lol:

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