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The West Pentlands - Darlees Rig Circuit

The West Pentlands - Darlees Rig Circuit

Postby inca » Sat May 21, 2016 3:58 pm

Date walked: 06/05/2016

Time taken: 3.75 hours

Distance: 13.5 km

Ascent: 625m

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Map: Harveys Superwalker ‘The Pentlands’
Attendees: Me, Big Dog, Small Dog

Dunsyre village – Dunsyre Hill – Mid Hill – Green Side – Bleak Law – The Pike – Darlees Rig – Black Law – Cairn Knowe – Covenanter’s Grave – Easton Farm – Dunsyre village

Back to the west Pentlands for a cracking morning walk over some rough and remote terrain. This is another route described in Rab Anderson’s fine little book ‘The Pentland Hills’.

Parked up at the small layby on the access road to Easton Farm east of Dunsyre village. The hill of the same name is obvious enough. Signage alludes to the old cultivation terraces on its south side and the route starts northwards through a gate by the roadside. Progress is quickly made – within 45 mins the dogs and I are standing beside the stone summit cairn. On the way we pass a mummified lamb carcass in a small sink hole - a sad end to a short life.

Summit cairn of Dunsyre Hill looking south to Black Mount
Imagefullsizeoutput_314c by Neil Mackay, on Flickr

Short cropped grass gives way to banded heather on Mid Hill, an indistinguished dollop with a dozen stones on top. From there we continue north over Green Law to Bleak Law with its double-cairned summit. The weather's brightening and we sit here for a short time; there are decent views in all directions.

Ascending Mid Hill
Imagefullsizeoutput_314e by Neil Mackay, on Flickr

Looking north from top of Mid Hill
Imagefullsizeoutput_314f by Neil Mackay, on Flickr

Bleak Law and its two cairns
Imagefullsizeoutput_3151 by Neil Mackay, on Flickr

The route continues through its most unpleasant section thereafter – a boggy plod alongside a fence line. Fortunately its short-lived and drier ground is quickly reached on the south slopes of The Pike, which seems to wrap into Darlees Rig with no real separation.

Darless Rig has a trig point and marks the start of the return route, first east towards White Craig and then south over Black Law. On the way, we stop for lunch at Simon Lockhart’s memorial stone. (His ashes are scattered nearby. ) It's enclosed within a stone circle and has a stiff wicket gate for access. According to Anderson, Lockhart was a shepherd. The wording on the stone describes him more grandly as the ‘Laird of Lee and Carnwath’. Either way, his epitaph is simple and touching: ‘He lies in the hills he loved’.

The stone circle of Simon Lockhart's headstone
Imagefullsizeoutput_3153 by Neil Mackay, on Flickr

Imagefullsizeoutput_3154 by Neil Mackay, on Flickr

'He lies in the hills he loved'
Imagefullsizeoutput_3155 by Neil Mackay, on Flickr

Sticking to the higher ground, the route continues south over Black Law’s two tops and passes the Covenanter’s Grave, where it soon rejoins a stone track to Easton Farm. The farm's like the Marie Celeste - evidence of people working recently- but nobody about. There are however a pile of sheep carcasses; clearly this part of the country is no place to be one :( .

A road walk back to the car to finish. I enjoy this part of the Pentlands very much. It’s a welcome contrast to the crowds following the trade routes at the opposite end.

Edited 30/1/17: Text added, pics transferred from FlickR and status changed from personal log to trip report.
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