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The Merrick Hill Race (walking pace)

The Merrick Hill Race (walking pace)


Postby Craiging619 » Mon Mar 28, 2016 5:45 pm

Route description: The Merrick, from Loch Trool

Corbetts included on this walk: Merrick

Donalds included on this walk: Merrick

Date walked: 16/09/2012

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 13.25 km

Ascent: 875m

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Three of us drove down to Galloway in grey overcast conditions to climb the highest Donald (not my highest priority in the pantheon of lists, but nice nonetheless!), The Merrick. Little did we know beforehand, but the hill was already booked that day for The Merrick Hill Race, which veers off on another track at the start but converges with the main hillwalking path up near Benyellary. Many scenes of panting men ensued, including one odd episode where a guy ran past me at such pace that I had to jump out the way, almost falling down a steep slope. I guess I shouldn't be too hypocritical of his pursuit of Personal Bests and record times, what with my obsession with hill lists! :crazy:

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The drive over the shoulder of Shalloch on Minnoch to join the Nick of the Balloch road was, erm, a bit cloudy.

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Wow, looks like we'll have some competition today lads.

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The path was rather muddy heading up to the bothy.

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Not so much shelter from the storm, as shelter from the rubbish cloud.

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The path is very obvious the whole way up, leaving the forest behind to climb up onto Benyellary.

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One of the participants legging it up the hill on the other side of the drystone wall.

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We were properly in the clouds by this stage, but the map confirmed my suspicions that the drop down to the right was not to be approached. Around Glen Trool the landscape suddenly becomes very steep, craggy and un-Galloway-like!

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A field marshal waiting for more runners to fly past.

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A very brief view to a distant loch.

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The other two enter a state of rapturous euphoria at the thought of finally viewing Snowdon. Or, maybe not,

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Near the summit, the view suddenly opened up a little, with Ailsa Craig visible on the horizon.

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Made it! Worth the trudge uphill at last.

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The path and drystone wall led back to Benyellary.

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The route for the hill race diverged and headed towards the mast, which is just as well, as the thin path up through the forest would be unsuitable for a charging herd of fell-runners.

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We made a slight detour at the end to Bruce's Stone. I'm surprised this site isn't more celebrated when compared with the large visitor centre etc. at Bannockburn. I'm guessing it's too out of the way for the Central Belt, and the tourist traffic that comes with it.

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In the evening I insisted on driving back via the A77 and Girvan. Somewhat fortuitously, we were rewarded with possibly the best view of the day, Ailsa Craig on a dramatic sunset horizon.

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User avatar
Craiging619
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 145
Munros:54   Corbetts:30
Grahams:27   Donalds:14
Sub 2000:17   
Islands:21
Joined: Jul 21, 2009
Location: Glasgow
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