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Weasels in Peebles

Weasels in Peebles

Postby weaselmaster » Sun Feb 07, 2016 8:52 pm

Grahams included on this walk: Dun Rig, Windlestraw Law

Donalds included on this walk: Birkscairn Hill, Dun Rig, Glenrath Heights, Stob Law, Whitehope Law, Windlestraw Law

Date walked: 07/02/2016

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 35.5 km

Ascent: 1793m

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Attempting to combine hills with Allison's rehabilitation I opted for a stay in a hobbit-hutch this weekend, on the premise that it would be easier on her back and would be more comfortable for her to inhabit whilst I was out on the hills. Plus, open campsites in suitable locations remain a bit of a minority at present. So it was off to Glentress Forest Lodges, just past Peebles, a major centre for mountainbiking and a convenient venue for what I had in mind - the 4 Donalds of the Dun-rig circuit on Saturday and either Windlestraw/Whitehope Law or Tinto on the Sunday, depending on whether Allison was recovered enough to try a hill. We drove through via the outskirts of Edinburgh on Friday afternoon and arrived at Glentress mid-afternoon. The hobbit hutch was quite spacious and warmed up once the heater was switched on. It felt unusual tro be able to stand up inside, in contrast to the tent. The weather outside was cold and windy, not really conducive to exploring the surroundings.

ImageP1110989 by Al, on Flickr

After a comfortable night's kip I was off into Peebles to start the Dun-rig circuit. Leaving the car at the end of Glen Avenue I essentially followed the WH route for this one. The start is muddy until the river is crossed, then onto clear track (old drove road) with nice views over rolling countryside to the Drumeltzier group of hills over to the west. Unfortunately the clag looked to be down at around 500m, so another day with head in the clouds seemed on the cards. The route ascends steadily up to Kailzie Hill, where I met some bikers then on in gentle undulation past Kirkhope Law and onto the first Donald, Birkscairn Hill. The ground was frosty over 600m and I could see the prints of someone else who was up here before me - these kept me right on a couple of occasions where the way disappeared into bog or peat hags.

Start of the walk
ImageP1110993 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1110994 by Al, on Flickr

View over to the Drumelzier Hills
ImageP1110996 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1110997 by Al, on Flickr

Kailzie Hill
ImageP1110999 by Al, on Flickr

Birkscairn Hill
ImageP1120001 by Al, on Flickr

From here it was over Stake Law, before the slopes of Dun-Rig come into view. I get to the trig point in quite a fierce wind and continue on along the curving landscape towards Glenrath Heights - it's easy to go off beam here as no track was visible under the snow and I'd lost my invisible guide's footprints in the heathery tussocks. There's minimal drop before the top of Middle Hill is reached - I consider stopping for some lunch but the wind is chilling my eyeballs as it blasts crosswise and I press on, thinking I'll get to Stob Law before stopping. There's a steep drop between Broom Hill and Stob Law, which of course has to be reversed to get back to the track. I find the small cluster of rocks that mark the top of Stob Law and pause for lunch - I've forgotten to put in crisps or - more importantly my thermos flask, so it's a meagre repast without any warmth. I head back to Broom Hill and over Huddleshope Heights where I drop beneath the clag line and get some idea of the walk ahead of me. I descend over Dead Side and down to the little hill of Upper Newby before taking a sharp right at the wall encircling the forestry plantation and picking up a track which takes me through a farm and onwards to Haystoun old wood. There are a couple of cutely carved stone pigs in one of the garden areas, snowdrops in profusion in front of a cottage. All very lovely. I make it back to the car in four and three quarter hours, which in the conditions I find reasonable. This was a pleasant circuit - one that would be particularly nice on a fair summer's evening, coupled with a high camp. I drive back to the hobbit-hutch and pick up Allison, who has been reading, and head into Peebles for a wander - lots of interesting shops. We have a delicious glass of Lagunitas IPA in the Cross Keys Hotel and then return to Glentress for a home cooked curry.

Dun-rig summit
ImageP1120002 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120003 by Al, on Flickr

Middle Hill
ImageP1120005 by Al, on Flickr

Towards Stob Law
ImageP1120006 by Al, on Flickr

Track down Dead Side
ImageP1120010 by Al, on Flickr

Upper Newby
ImageP1120012 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120013 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120015 by Al, on Flickr

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It rains quite heavily overnight and the morning is raw and cold, rain and strong winds. Allison doesn't fancy trying out her walking abilities up Tinto - whether it is her back or the miserable weather, I'm not sure. Maybe a combination. We drive into Peebles for fuel then turn around and head to Innerleithen, then take the B907, heading for Windlestraw Law. There's a disconcerting experience of driving right through Innerleithen Golf Course where a collection of wet golfers are braving the weather. Park in a layby just before Blackhopebyre Farm. I grudgingly get into my waterproofs - I really don't fancy this much in today's conditions. But I'm not giving up now. I place my feet into cold wet boots, zip up my trousers and head off out into the gale. I cut steeply up the hillside from the parking spot and join the grassy track that goes all the way to the summit. The track becomes increasingly muddy and boggy as I head up Glentress Rig and onto Wallet Knowe. There's a little snow covering after 550m and the wind continues to make its presence felt, hurling snow and general unpleasantness across me as I ascend. I pass some grouse butts to my left then follow a fence line to the summit trig point. There's not much to see and I decide to turn round and descend by my ascent route rather than complete the circuit over the Donald Top of Bareback Knowe - that would mean walking directly into the wind/snow and would add time for Allison to wait in the car.

ImageP1120016 by Al, on Flickr

Up to Wallet Knowe
ImageP1120018 by Al, on Flickr

Approaching the summit
ImageP1120020 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120022 by Al, on Flickr

I pass behind the car and cross the Glentres Water - choosing not to make use of the "bridge" which appears to be 3 rotting tree branches tyed together. I get a wet foot, but better than a fall and a plunge. Initially I follow a steep, muddy sheep track up onto Leithen Hopes, then it is a steady grassy pull up to the summit of Whitehope Law - nothing very remarkable about this, just head down, sheild face as best you can from the wind / rain and get on with it. There's a small collection of stones at the top and I stop to look back over Windlestraw to the east and the distant outline of wind turbines to the NW. I romp down the hill back to the car and eat a postponed lunch - this time with a cup of coffee :lol:

ImageP1120026 by Al, on Flickr

Summit Whitehope
ImageP1120027 by Al, on Flickr

Across to Windlestraw
ImageP1120028 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120030 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120031 by Al, on Flickr

We drive back towards Edinburgh, and on a whim I turn off after Penicuik to visit Rosslynlee Hospital - where I had my first SHO job 30 years ago. I remember travelling out in the staff bus from Morningside to Rosslynlee every day for a year plus some nocturnal visits when on call. The hospital closed in 2010 and is now up for sale. I have some vivid memories of the underground corridors that linked some of the buildings and the long glass covered corridors linking others, of patients prowling the grounds on the lookout for cigarettes and of taking the first steps in my psychiatric career here. Sad to see it in disrepair.

Physician Superintendant's House
ImageP1120032 by Al, on Flickr

Main Admin Building
ImageP1120033 by Al, on Flickr

Glass corridor between wards
ImageP1120035 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120036 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120037 by Al, on Flickr
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Re: Weasels in Peebles

Postby PeteR » Sun Feb 07, 2016 9:05 pm

Thanks for posting this Al. I had planned a trip to the Moorfoots for today, but was put off by the weather. Your description of how you felt getting out of your car to start the walk helps justify my decision to kick my plans into touch :thumbup:
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Re: Weasels in Peebles

Postby rockhopper » Sun Feb 07, 2016 9:53 pm

PeteR wrote:Thanks for posting this Al. I had planned a trip to the Moorfoots for today, but was put off by the weather. Your description of how you felt getting out of your car to start the walk helps justify my decision to kick my plans into touch :thumbup:

:lol: ditto - maybe you should considering consulting an alienist :wink: - cheers :)
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