There is something most attractive about a hill whose summit can be reached only 10 minutes after leaving the car. an obvious choice for one of those short winter days. What was more of a challenge was to follow in Johnny Corbett's tyre tracks - the road trip (5.10.2014)
It was a cool, cloudy day with little wind, a real pleasure to be driving across new territory, rolling Borders landscapes dissected with steep-sided valleys.
4.9 km, 230m ascent, 1.5 hrs
We parked at the reservoir and followed the track. Strong 'borderland' atmosphere as the track passes Gamelshiel Castle - it doesn't take much imagination to think of reivers and cattle rustling here. However it's obvious the present-day local economy owes more to grouse shooting than cattle rustling; the moorland is well-managed, and, although we are now past the end of this year's grouse season, we saw more healthy adult birds than I have seen for some time.
Dirrington Great Law
5.5 km, 203m ascent, 1.75 hrs
Approaching this next hill, we debated where to park. There is space just over the bridge (NT 707561) from where a faint ATV track can be seen heading up toward the summit. In the end, we opted for the gate (NT 710553) and followed the track, muddy at first, SE towards the forest then NW along the wall to the summit cairn. More debate here - can you legitimately call the highest point the 'summit' if it is on top of a man-made cairn? The trig point itself is much 'vandalised' and, on googling this hill afterwards, I was pleased we had not parked near Dronshiel.
1.05 km, 35m ascent, 0.5 hrs
It was literally sunset time (1540 hrs) when we parked at the roadside for our final summit of the day. Still light enough to confirm there were no sheep or cattle in the field. We crossed the field and spent 8 minutes at the summit - in this open grassy field I wasn't totally convinced - but if the GPS said so, it must be right. Not as satisfying a summit as the day's previous two, but on the other hand, it was a good feeling to have done three in a day. We finished off with a wander round the Iron Age fortifications, then back to the car for coffee.
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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.