Phase 2 of the border raid was more pedestrian than the first day.
Over the next 4 days, we did the southwesterly corbetts The Merrick, Shalloch on Minnoch, Carsphairn & Corserine.
We tried to pick the shortest and easiest route on each hill. ( but not always successfull. )
The Merrick is the highest of the southern Corbetts and we followed the tourist route from Glen Trool. The path is easy to follow up by Culsharg bothy, where some scouty types were gathering wood and lighting a fire, hewing a classic vee-notch in a branch with a big knife. No shortage of wood from surrounding the wind damaged forest. We sheltered for a few minutes while a shower passed through, then headed up the path. Soon we'd breasted the top of Benyellary ( sounds like it should be a warcry " BENYELLARY - YA BAS ! " )
The wall along the Nieve of the Split makes it an easy walk up to the top of the Merrick. The early cloud had cleared by this time yielding great views.
On the way we met Dave the Painter, a past member of the Lomond MR team, so we swopped a few war stories until the chill wind forced us forward, with Dave striding off purposely ahead, while we continue at out pensioners pace. We met at the summit again, but Dave headed off down the scenic route in the Redstone rig direction while we plootered back down the tourist route. Quite a lot of people on the hill for a friday - one or two sneaking an early weekend start methinks.
Next on the list was Shalloch on Minnoch - we considered the guidebook route from the car park at Laglanny, but thought the shorter route up by Caerloch Dhu would be quicker, past the isolated copse of conifers. This strategy would have been ok if it weren't for the kilometer of deep tussock grass, heather and moss between the road and the bottom of the hill. It felt like we'd walked through a K of cotton wool - not helped by the pretty brisk breeze & rain ! However, once on Caerloch Dhu, we picked up a path that led over the top towards Shalloch on Minnoch, just as the clag cleared, right on Q.
The rain had also obligingly stopped, so we made the summit of S on M nae bother in the chilly wind.
Our bodies couldn't tolerate the cold, so we headed back down. This is when my knee started playing up. (I'd tweaked it when falling on day 1 ). I determined it must be my excruciating ligament, as I'd heard football commentators mentioning it on TV. I hobbled down to the cotton wool bit and after a struggle, made it back to the car, a wee while behind Derek, who had looked after me until he'd nearly frozen to death waiting for me.
However, the hot showers back at Burnsoul fixed my excruciating ligament - don't know why the footballers don't come here.
Whilst driving up the glen towards Laglanny we passed this curious pine tree, which had a "hairy" trunk - never seen one like this before.
From the road, this hill looked like a bit of a flog, so we parked at The Green Well of Scotland & set off up the track.
We wandered up passed this cattle shed which looked a wee bit muddy where the cattle had churned the earth into a slurry. Striding forward, I realised too late that the slurry was deeper that it looked & we came out the other side reekin like macrae's midden. It was so bad, we were nearly boakin', so had to find the next burn to wash our smelly boots. This only had limited success as we kept getting wafts of it as we proceeded up the hill. At the end of the track a convenient dyke leads to a bridge across the burn. The dyke shielded us from the worst of the westerly breeze and a path beside it made it a fairly easy walk. In what seemed no time at all we were on the summit. The weather was quite sunny all day, so we had a grand outing.
Speeding down, we rewarded ourselves with a bacon & egg butty washed down with awsome home-made lentil soup in the local cafe in Carsphairn village. Pity about the smelly breeks we had to apologised for, to the nice ladies serving us !
An early start saw us at the car park at Forest lodge. We cycled and pushed our bikes up the track to the start of the path through the woods. ( the signage is very good with the way to Corserine being marked and what I took to be eco-worthies having tracks through the woods named after them). Leaving the bikes where a tree had fallen across the track, we headed off up the hill.
It was a lovely sunny day and being on the east side of the hill, we were sheltered from any westerly breeze untill we got on to the summit plateau. At the end of the wood, a style marks the start of the faint(at times), but good path which trended up the Pomaddy Gairy flank, till it breasts the ridge just below a rather salubrious buckie at the edge of the plateau, with a great view out to the east towards Kendoon hydro station.
The wind seemed to drop as we walked over the plateau to the trig point, where we were rewarded with views of our previous days efforts to the west.
The return to our bikes was relatively painless down the path, but the whizz down to the car took us an exhilarating
Driving down the glen passed the Eco-factory, I couldn't help wondering about their eco-credentials, with an eco- grass roof and about 30 cars in the carpark !
One thing that dismayed me was the sheer number of huge wind turbine Fannerys, indescriminately scarring the landscape - again !
On the plus side we saw lots of Buzzards & Kites whilst driving down Glen Kens - ye ken ! One morning we saw a small herd of roe deer crossing the road.
We were struck by the variety of churches & their design - some of which had an alpine feel about them.
We folk from the north sometimes look at the borders area as "minor" hills compared to their more rugged northern cousins, but this is not true - they stand up well on their own and are an equal challenge - I'll be back !
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