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No Dithering on the 7 Daer Donalds

No Dithering on the 7 Daer Donalds

Postby Fife Flyer » Thu Jun 09, 2016 4:16 pm

Grahams included on this walk: Ballencleuch Law, Queensberry

Donalds included on this walk: Ballencleuch Law, Comb Law, Earncraig Hill, Gana Hill, Queensberry, Scaw'd Law, Wedder Law

Date walked: 08/06/2016

Time taken: 6.9 hours

Distance: 28 km

Ascent: 1241m

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This little round of Donalds has been on my radar for a while and after reading all the available WR's I would like to thank gmr82, rockhopper and RTMcB for the useful info and photo's in their reports :clap: One thing you notice when set your sights on hills other than Munro's is how few reports there are :(
I was determined to get out before the weather changes for the worse and as I was expecting numerous peat hags, the recent dry weather would make the going so much easier 8)
Because I am such a thoughtful husband I said to Mrs F on Monday which day would you like me to hit the hills Wed or Thu? She preferred me to be absent on Wednesday, so decision made, now to finalise the plans.
I arrived at the 'limited' parking area, which as you can see from the photo was a bit muddy and wet, looks like there had been a shower or two overnight - we haven't seen any rain for what seems like weeks in Fife 8) :lol:
A useful point to note, the walk starts at nearly 350m, almost shades of Drumochter :lol: :lol:

Image Car park

Image Not the way ahead, that would be the way back

Image The way ahead and up

As soon as I got out of the car I was pounced on and assaulted by the local midge population, they must have thought I was breakfast, I had other ideas and was on my way in seconds, well minutes :lol:
The temperature was already in double figures and the humidity was rather oppressive and it wasn't long before I was leaking all over and I mean really leaking. I was beginning to wonder if I had enough liquid, especially if this continued. I had put a good dollop of sun cream on but with all the perspiring I would think it would be a tad diluted. Not to worry, I had hills to climb, well not really climb, more like walk up - if anyone is expecting to use there hands on this route forget it :lol:
The initial part of the walk involves keeping to the south (left) of the wall and the forest, once the forest is behind you just pick a spot and head uphill. Ideally I would have made for a junction in the fence to the right, but there were a herd of cows gathered there so I was forced to climb over a barbed wire fence, which wasn't too high and didn't shred any of my gear 8)

Image Looking back down towards the reservoir

Image The way ahead, note the blue sky

Once I reached the horizon, the obvious problem was trying to locate the summit, so after much wandering around I found what I thought was the highest point and continued on my journey :lol:

Image Comb Law summit area

One thing I noticed on this lengthy walk is that like lot's of walks in the Borders, fences and walls tend to lead you between summits. A useful addition on this route is the numerous ATV tracks, they make walking across tufty grass so much easier and do tend to be fairly direct :wink:
Another thing you will notice is the lack of decent summit cairns, there is only one trig point and that is on Rodger Law which isn't a Donald or part of the route :lol:

Image Looking back

Image The way ahead

Image The only peat hag that was damp!

Image Random cairn in between hills 1 & 2

Image One for the peat hag lovers :lol:

Image Summit collection on Ballencleuch Law

To make the walk a bit more interesting I was trying to keep a note of times between the summits, this was difficult as I said before some of the summits aren't exactly obvious. Timings will be at the end of the report :wink: Another thing I was doing to pass the time was trying to think of a witty title, this was proving to be quite challenging, 7 hours later I still couldn't really come up with much inspiration :lol: :lol:
On the way to Ballencleuch Law I saw the lump on the left (Rodger Law), so after checking the map I decided not to make a detour, even though there was a visible ATV track going right up to the summit :lol:
After a couple of photo's I was on my way again, a bit of descending followed by a bit of ascending, nothing difficult or steep until the last two hills.

Image Looking back

Image The way ahead

Image Typical terrain

Image The way ahead, follow the ATV track


Image Scaw'd Law summit cairn :lol:

Image I doubled the height of the cairn by adding a stone :lol:

On leaving Scaw'd Law and the now higher cairn, a good track can be utilised that heads up towards Wedder Law 8)

Image Track heading towards Wedder Law

Image Not quite sure there is enough traffic to merit such a track?

Image Noticed this interesting collection and my learned friends on Facebook advise me it is for catching vermin :wink:

Once I had ascended uphill using the track it was time to go off piste to the summit of Wedder Law, like the rest of the summits it was not what you would call memorable, it was so memorable I didn't even take a photo, it was during the descent I suddenly realised and I wasn't for returning :lol: As the walk progresses if you do the route the same way I did anti-clockwise, the descents and ascents increase and that is definitely noticeable on the final two ascents :lol:

Image Looking back

The highlight of the day was stumbling across a herd of wild goats, I wasn't aware they existed in the Borders?

Image Goats were resting in the peat hags

Image I must have looked pretty scary to make them run that fast :lol:



After the goat excitement it was time to continue onto the next summit of Gana Hill :lol:

Image Summit cairn on Gana Hill

Image Looking from Gana back towards Daer Reservoir

Image Track rather visible

Image Angle of ascent, by far and away the steepest walk of the day - on the way up towards Earncraig

Image Earncraig Hill or just a collection of stones?

Image Another fence to climb over once I worked out the direction to head in

Image Following the fence again

Image The way down, the peat hags at the bottom don't look overly inviting

Image The way up towards Queensberry, however I was entering the cloud

Image The prize for the biggest cairn of the day goes to Queensberry, sadly nae views

Image Obstacles on the way down, in the distance is Daer Reservoir and where the car is :roll:

Image Lots of wild cotton

The descent off Queensberry was easy on nice soft grass, however the route I was following involved a few more slight ascents which would lead me towards this derelict house - in the middle of nowehere.

Image In need of lots of TLC

Image Burn to cross to get to the derelict house

Once you are on the other side of the burn (Daer Water) you then pick up a really good track that takes you back to the Reservoir and the car, albeit is does have a few twists and turns :lol:

Image Good track

Image Daer Reservoir

Image How to ruin a nice photo, plant some wind turbines that were redundant due to the lack of wind

Timings give or take a few minutes, purely as a guideline, maybe of use to at least one person :lol:
To Comb Law - 40 mins
Comb Law to Ballencleuch Law - 25mins
Ballencleuch to Scaw'd Law - 40mins
Scaw'd to Wedder Law - 40mins
Wedder to Gana Hill - 35mins
Gana to Earncraig Hill - 40mins
Earncraig to Queensberry - 60mins

To sum up, a satisfying walk not particularly demanding apart from the distance covered, they are defintely the poor relations in the Lowther Hills :lol:
Next will probably be another trip into the Borders before the final Munro countdown begins in just over a weeks time :wink:
User avatar
Fife Flyer
Munro compleatist
Posts: 2517
Munros:257   Corbetts:52
Grahams:35   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:125   Hewitts:2
Joined: May 15, 2013
Location: Guess?

Re: No Dithering on the 7 Daer Donalds

Postby Alteknacker » Thu Jun 09, 2016 8:42 pm

Man, you was flyin' :D

You've definitely got into this speedy stuff...
User avatar
Posts: 3459
Munros:176   Corbetts:33
Joined: May 25, 2013
Location: Effete South (of WIgan, anyway)

Re: No Dithering on the 7 Daer Donalds

Postby Fife Flyer » Fri Jun 10, 2016 7:36 pm

Alteknacker wrote:Man, you was flyin' :D You've definitely got into this speedy stuff...

There wasn't really that much point in lingering, views were pretty samey and wanted to beat the rain :lol:
User avatar
Fife Flyer
Munro compleatist
Posts: 2517
Munros:257   Corbetts:52
Grahams:35   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:125   Hewitts:2
Joined: May 15, 2013
Location: Guess?

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