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Perfect conditions in the Borders

Perfect conditions in the Borders


Postby Fife Flyer » Tue Mar 08, 2016 9:20 pm

Route description: Pykestone Hill and Drumelzier Law, Drumelzier

Donalds included on this walk: Drumelzier Law, Middle Hill, Pykestone Hill

Date walked: 07/03/2016

Time taken: 4.25 hours

Distance: 15 km

Ascent: 800m

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This was a last minute unplanned day out, the forecast was far too good to stay in Fife, the chance of the sun appearing and no wind. Where to head, Munro's still out of the question, so I thought let's continue tackling the Donalds 8)
I have my eye on a few groups and opted for the round that start with Pykestone Hill 8)
The biggest problem with heading into the Borders is battling with the thousands of commuters heading into Edinburgh in the morning and getting home before they finish work :(
I left Fife just after 8.30 and arrived at the parking area just over an hour later, the temperature dropped down to -2deg on the way and on arrival was just about zero, perfect for coping with the expected boggy areas :lol:

Image Not a busy parking area

Image The start of the walk

Soon kitted up with 4 layers on, off I set, there was a light dusting of snow on the ground and I kind of guessed that if there was a dusting this low down, there would be a wee bit more higher up 8)
The walk starts off with a nice gradual climb, it wasn't too long before I stopped to take off a layer :lol:

Image Early shot looking back

Image Another bridge over the burn

Image The way ahead

Image Looking back, not many footprints

Image Looking back from slightly higher

The path uphill is excellent, there are a few tracks heading off in other directions, but the WH route worked a treat :clap: :clap: Once I reached Den Knowes the depth of snow increased quite considerably and the continuous climb up to the summit of Pykestone Hill was really tough going. I was picking my way uphill trying find the best place to plonk my boot, the track was a no go area as the snow had gathered and was much deeper :lol:

Image Looking back again

Image Plenty of animal tracks

Image Still heading uphill

Image Alot more snow now, still going up

Image Looking back, you can see my imprints in the snow

Image Looking SW towards Culter Fell & Tinto

Image Giant

Image Looking back

After alot of huffing and puffing I reached the summit trig of Pykestone Hill, there was an area of peat hags to negotiate before reaching the welcome trig :roll: After a few photo's it was time to head down to the col to see what the next lot of peat hags had to offer :roll:

Image Pykestone Hill trig

Image The way ahead, follow the fence

Image Looking across towards Broad Law, quite spectacular

Image The way down to the col

Image Deepish snow

Image Looking back at the hags, easy going when covered with snow

On the approach to Middle Hill my eyes were scouring the horizon for the couple of fence posts that apparently mark the summit, whether they have been removed or were covered by the snow who knows. So my poles mark the highest spot on the rounded hill :lol:

Image Summit?

Image A different angle

Image Wind Farm on a windless day :lol:

Image Looking across to the final hill Drumelzier Law

There wasn't much to keep me at Middle Hill so off we go again, as I could see exactly where I was going I opted to head directly to the Shepherds Cairn. I initially thought the cairn was another human being in the distance, but as it wasn't moving the penny soon dropped. The cairn stood out really prominently in the surrounding snow 8)

Image Shepherds Cairn, well constructed

Image Drumelzier Law, path isn't very obvious

Image Looking west

Image Last bit of ascending

Image Looking SSW

Image Looking SW, fabulous

Image One of the 2 cairns on Drumelzier

Image Looking west again

Image Looking north

From Drumelzier the majority of the way back is downhill, there are a few slight uphill bits, but nothing to worry about. The path was obvious, however on the lower slopes there are plenty of paths heading off in other directions, but not a problem.

Image Looking back up to Drumelzier

Image The way down

Image Looking across to the way up to Pykestone, the snow on the lower slopes has disappeared

Image Looking across to the path up Pykestone again

Image Sheepfold

Image Descending back down to the burn

The descent off Drumelzier wasn't demanding, however it is a bit of a slog. The path down meets up on the west side of the burn with the main path. The snow had completely melted and it only takes a few minutes to get back to the car.

A fabulous day that I really enjoyed, it does help when you can spend a day in the hills in ideal conditions :lol:
Next on the menu is probably the Lowthers, another day like that weather wise would be OK :lol: :lol:
User avatar
Fife Flyer
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 2440
Munros:226   Corbetts:49
Grahams:24   Donalds:50
Sub 2000:121   Hewitts:2
Islands:5
Joined: May 15, 2013
Location: Guess?

Re: Perfect conditions in the Borders

Postby rockhopper » Tue Mar 08, 2016 10:13 pm

aye, days don't come much nicer than this - must be great to be able to head off during the week and make the best of the weather :mrgreen: another set of donalds for my future list - cheers :)
User avatar
rockhopper
 
Posts: 6727
Munros:282   Corbetts:219
Grahams:65   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:9   Hewitts:2
Wainwrights:3   Islands:19
Joined: Jun 1, 2009
Location: Glasgow

Re: Perfect conditions in the Borders

Postby litljortindan » Tue Mar 08, 2016 11:03 pm

Certainly got the weather. Was trying to identify the enticing looking hills in your views west and notice that amongst them is a top called Dun Knees which is possibly one we all feel like we may have visited even if we haven't.
User avatar
litljortindan
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 2011
Munros:120   Corbetts:63
Grahams:28   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:47   Hewitts:12
Wainwrights:10   
Joined: Dec 11, 2011

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