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Donald On the Border

Donald On the Border

Postby weaselmaster » Sun Feb 21, 2016 11:10 pm

Fionas included on this walk: Cauldcleuch Head

Donalds included on this walk: Cauldcleuch Head, Windy Gyle

Date walked: 21/02/2016

Time taken: 7.5 hours

Distance: 21 km

Ascent: 1040m

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A truncated weekend due to being on call overnight on Friday. Decided to pick off the two southern outliers in the Donald fraternity: Cauldcleuchhead south of Hawick and Windy Gyle which sits right on the Border and has the unique distinction of being both a Donald and a Hewitt :crazy: There was the added benefit of both these walks being short, with minimal elevation, making them suitable for Allison's ongoing rehabilitation. Set off just after 07.30 - I had had no sleep at all overnight (I never sleep well when on call, even if the phone doesn't go) and thought I had absorbed the main details for the route down to Cocklawfoot. However, we mised the split in the A68 towards Coldstream and ended up on a sort of round the houses venture which took us over the border, edged round Flodden Fields and back into Scotland at Kirk Yetholm then along the single track road to Cocklawfoot. It would have been much quicker to just come south from Kelso, but Allison's directional sense had clearly been hampered by having to get up early in the morning - she's usually a first class navigator. As we neared the parking space there was a final obstacle - part of the road had been washed away and there was a choice of weak rickety bridge or driving through a ford of uncertain depth. :lol:

windyg.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

We parked up just before the farm, having arrived at the same time as a large group of folk in a Range Rover. Had Allison been fit I'd have included The Cheviot in the walk, but as it was we chose a simple loop anticlockwise walking alongside the Kelsocleuch Burn and up onto Kelsocleuch Rig. This took us past a crow trap, which had a couple of distressed looking corvids within. I don't like seeing crows trapped - I know these traps are legal, but it doesn't make me feel good. We reached Kelsocleuch Rig with Allison struggling a bit - she seemed in more discomfort than last week up Tinto. I nipped along to the top of Windy Rig whilst she continued SE onto Windy Gyle. There was the unusual sight of a road sign forbidding motorised vehicles between April 1 and 31 May - damn - I could have just driven up here (not that there was much of a road in evidence, mind). I returned to the main track and caught Sick Kid up just before the trig point and we enjoyed the experience of stepping between Scotland and England. We paused for lunch in the shelter of a stone wall.

ImageP1120076 by Al, on Flickr

Start of the walk
ImageP1120078 by Al, on Flickr

Windy Rig
ImageP1120080 by Al, on Flickr

Windy Gyle
ImageP1120081 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120082 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120083 by Al, on Flickr

Approaching the summit
ImageP1120084 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120085 by Al, on Flickr

We decided to walk on the English side of the fence as we resumed our meander. There is a line of flagstones running along. These are the remains of the ill-fated Pennine Wall, constructed by the Emperor Pennine. He decided to skimp on the cost of foundations, unlike his predecessors Hadrian and Antonine and over the centuries his wall sunk into the boggy ground, leaving only the very top section visible which acts today as a convenient paved surface for border walkers. There were patches of snow along it, marshy areas and a few other walkers coming in the opposite direction. The deep {{{{BOOMS}}}} from the artillery ranges at Otterburn Camp resounded across the hills in a menacing manner. We turned north along Clennell Street following an ATV track back down towards Cocklawfoot. This wends round an earthwork and passes near to a hill fort, recognisable by remains of concentric earth ramparts. Allison was having none of it, possibly expecting to see some more formidible fortifications. We passed through a short section of woodland then returned to Kelsocleuch Farm and back to the car.

View towards The Cheviot
ImageP1120086 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120089 by Al, on Flickr

Remains of the Pennine Wall
ImageP1120090 by Al, on Flickr

One of many cairns along the route
ImageP1120092 by Al, on Flickr

Clennell Street (turning L at the fence meeting) and another road sign
ImageP1120093 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120094 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120095 by Al, on Flickr

Our next mission was to find our campsite for the night. I'd looked at visiting Mosspaul Campsite a few weeks ago, but had to call off when it had become temporarily submerged by the heavy rains. The owners happened to be away this weekend, but had kindly told us we could pitch up anyway. This involved a journey to Hawick, getting lost by taking a premature left turn before the A7 and driving on an unclassified road somewhat parallel to the A7 for a number of miles over terrain that had been damaged by recent floods before we rejoined the A7. Anyhow we got to Mosspaul and selected one of the pitches in what is essentially the garden of the folk that run the Bothy. Very pleasant it was too, unfortunately the weather turned wet and we decided to stay under nylon rather than go and investigate the adjacent Mosspaul Hotel for a pint.

ImageP1120097 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120098 by Al, on Flickr

coldcleuch.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Sunday's objective was Cauldcleuchhead, located only a few miles from Mosspaul. We had a relaxed start to the day and packed up about 11, heading east to Billhope where there is a parking area at the start of a forest walk - the road here has been resurfaced recently and the resurfacing machines were in the car parking area. It didn't seem likely they were going to be used today, so I parked beside them without trepidation. We set off along the west edge of the plantation, up Tudhope Hill. Allison was moving slowly, but without too much pain - at least so it seemed to me. Reaching the summit of Tudhope we then followed a fence line across heathland, not too wet or boggy in the main and a remarkably enjoyable landscape - other than the fence posts it was just rolling hills as far as the eye could see, a pleasing sense of remoteness, the sort of hills I could imagine strolling over for hours on a sunny afternoon with a dog by my side.

Parking area
ImageP1120102 by Al, on Flickr

Up Tudhope Hill
ImageP1120103 by Al, on Flickr

in case of witches
ImageP1120104 by Al, on Flickr

Tudhope towards Millstone Edge
ImageP1120107 by Al, on Flickr

We paused before Millstone Edge for food then continued along to Langtae Hill. Cauldcleuchhead rose over to our right, with the narrow cleuch of Langtae Sike before us. We continued along the fence line, into the clag. it did become boggier here and indeed the summit of Coldcleuchhead is a pool of bogwater, from which I retrieved part of a sign that presumably named the hill - only "cleuch" was left. Continuing along the fenceline to Muckle Land Knowe then down towards Pennygant Hill I made the mistake of not following the wooden marker posts and ended up in deeper mossy/heathery tussocks than were comfortable for my companion. We retrieved the path and dropped down over Stob Fell, from where we could just make out the car in the trees, then down the grassy hillside to Billhope Farm and the raod back to the parking spot, A lovely walk this one.

So another week of rehab for the Sick One's back, another couple of hills under the belt. Hopefully she'll cope with some longer outings next weekend, seems to be going well :D

Towards Cauldcleuchhead
ImageP1120110 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120111 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120113 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120114 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120115 by Al, on Flickr

Stob Fell
ImageP1120118 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120119 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120120 by Al, on Flickr
Posts: 2462
Munros:277   Corbetts:220
Fionas:218   Donalds:75+31
Sub 2000:395   Hewitts:33
Wainwrights:15   Islands:33
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

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