I woke up suffering from a bit of a cold and spent the morning watching Murray v Federer, so there would be no time for long journeys or walks. I had previously pencilled in a walk in the nearby Moorfoots as a winter leg stretch so that was the choice.
I parked the car on the verge of the B709 and headed up the glen past Leithen Lodge. Not much to report here - the glen is not the prettiest although the lodge itself is beautiful.
Turning right at Williamslee things improved greatly. There was a nice walk by the Williamslee Burn and just after Woolandslee Tower I turned left and headed steeply through the forest to reach the featureless moorland more characteristic of these hills. There were some lovely views down into the steep wooded glen and across it to Whitehope Law. This glen was a really pleasant surprise - so different from the grass and heather and windfarms typical of these hills.
I had intended just to skirt the forest and make a circuit over Middle Hill and Whitehope Law. However, the snow was frozen hard so I took the chance to cross what would be otherwise be 2km of peat bogs and heather to take in the summit of Blackhope Scar. I reckon this detour would only be possible (and certainly only enjoyable) in these rare conditions with the peat bogs full of hard frozen snow. From the summit, it was a long walk over featureless moor, again following the frozen bogs which acted as impromptu walker and animal highways. I was cheered at the summit of Whitehope Law by some lovely low winter sun.
An enjoyable shortish day out but not one for after the thaw!
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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.