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Beating a retreat from Broad Law

Beating a retreat from Broad Law

Postby Driftwood » Sun Jul 07, 2013 10:39 pm

Route description: Broad Law, Cramalt Craig and Dollar Law

Corbetts included on this walk: Broad Law

Donalds included on this walk: Broad Law, Talla Cleuch Head

Date walked: 15/06/2013

Time taken: 2.5 hours

Distance: 11.7 km

Ascent: 590m

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This was squeezing in a last hill (or two) for the trip, in defiance of the weather forecast. As it turned out, the weather was as promised (or warned), but the hills were squeezed nonetheless.

I was staying just southeast of Edinburgh, so thought about fitting in a smaller hill in the eastern borders - which ought to have more clement weather, as well as being nearer. But those could be saved for another trip, to fit in at the end of a day's travelling. A little extra driving, with minimal effort (going by the map) could yield a Corbett and so round up my numbers.

Things were bright enough at the start of my drive, but looked cloudier (and passed a few brief sprinkles) on the way southwest. I found a spot to park a way downhill from the Megget Stone - or, at least, its place on the map. Even after returning to the area, I couldn't see anything that looked worth the name. Still, on with the walk.

This started well enough - eased by such an elevated starting place - heading northwest to reach a shoulder of Cairn Law. I followed a fence a little way, then crossed that to strike out around the contour. That looked the best way to include Talla Cleuch Head without too much additional climb or descent. There were some boggy patches, but the going was mostly good, joining a vehicle track. The hill is similar to most of the few I've walked in the Borders, with a grassy gently-rounded top but steeper and more sculpted flanks lower down.

I'd already had a couple of showers start, then peter out. A brisk breeze was bringing in clouds from the southwest. There were a few clear patches, but also some dark stretches and I could see rain falling here and there, miles away over the hills.
West of Talla Cleuch Head

I paused for a bite of lunch and to decide how, or whether, to continue. Broad Law wasn't a great deal of ascent further, but would add a couple of miles in each direction compared to returning now. The clouds were high enough to afford a view and that, together with a brighter patch of sky, enticed me onwards.
Broad Law

I crossed the fence-line that runs along Talla Cleuch Head, though kept close to it until I'd crossed the slightly-boggy bealach. Then I cut northeast across the slope of Cairn Law. I rejoined the fenceline about a quarter-mile beyond what's presumably a cairn, in time for a brief gentle climb then a longer almost-level stretch, where the ground became softer. Crossing the fence, I followed a vehicle track making north for the radio apparatus I could make out at the summit area.

The cloud thickened and more rain sprinkles prompted me to arrange my rain-cover and waterproofs. From this point, the shower increased to rain. I visited the trig-point and a mast a short way past, but neither promised much shelter. I started to head south again, at which point hail joined the rain pelting me from the southwest.

I increased my pace, but walking on the open ridge exposed me to the elements. When the ridge drew in, I headed left, descending in an attempt to put the higher ground between me and the rain. The hail either eased, or turned back to rain, but it stayed wet as I slogged around the side of Clews Hill (not that I checked the map at this point; the compass and my instinct to seek shelter were enough).

The rain faded and finally ceased by the time I reached a fenced-off area with a gate. Checking the map suggested that the road would be just as direct - and easier going - than turning right to head across Little Cleuch (shouldn't that be Mickle Cleuch?) and the unattractively-named Murk Gutter. So I headed down to, then back along, the road.

Some later research (that sounds better than Googling) has confirmed that the Megget Stone is the broken stone just by the cattle grid near the road's high-point. I'd dismissed that as little larger than a milestone.

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Mountain Walker
Posts: 316
Munros:217   Corbetts:49
Grahams:25   Donalds:26
Sub 2000:19   
Joined: Jun 9, 2011

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