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103 - and still counting

103 - and still counting


Postby Jaywizz » Tue Aug 16, 2016 10:57 am

Corbetts included on this walk: Hart Fell

Donalds included on this walk: Hart Fell, Swatte Fell, Under Saddle Yoke

Date walked: 14/08/2016

Distance: 15 km

Ascent: 978m

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I don't post walk reports very often, but this was such an enjoyable day it needs to be celebrated.
It didn't get off to a promising start. Low grey cloud, 100% cover. Leaving the car at Blackhope cottage, I walked back (SW) along the road to look for a gate. Avoiding some frisky cattle in the first field, I went through a small gate to the left of the cattle sheds, across an empty field, through a gap in the stone wall behind more cattle sheds and into a small plantation of young oak. A fence was easily by-passed close to the stream, and then it was steeply uphill through midge (and tick?) infested bracken.
WH 1.jpg
Looking back to the small plantation and cattle sheds

Not sure I took the best route after this, opting to stay on the south side of Hang Burn, but a real bonus was stopping to watch a merlin chase a meadow pipit, the latter frantically zig-zagging low over the heather, its movements exactly mirrored by the merlin. No meal on this occasion, the merlin finally pulled up and flew off.
Approaching the top of Nether Comb Craig, the low cloud, which had been threatening from the start, descended further, so it was on with some waterproofs. The light rain did nothing to dampen my spirits as mist swirled in the valley below - as dramatic as many a big mountain day.
WH 2.jpg
Could almost be the edge of a corrie in the Cairngorms (but vegetation is all wrong)

The diversion to the summit of Swatte Fell was confirmed with map and GPS, and as I retraced my steps, the cloud lifted.
WH 3.jpg
Heading east from Swatte Fell

Now I realised I was not alone. Over Falcon and Hartfell Craigs, several groups of mountain goats raised their heads as I passed.
WH 4.jpg
Obviously knew I couldn't run fast enough to catch them ...............

Nor was I alone on the summit of Hart Fell. A wheatear eyed me nervously, so although it was pleasant to sit there a while, I moved on as I'm sure there were young birds somewhere among the stones. The better going over Hartfell Rig gave way to extremely wet ground at the col, and as my route skirted the small streams that flow into Whirly Gill. Yes, there are tussocks, but by now my spirits were so high I could easily find delight in such a variety of grasses, sedges and rushes.
The ground was drier underfoot on the pull up to Saddle Yoke. A raven gave me such a close and slow fly-past that I wondered if it sensed something about my state of health that I didn't know ............... and then the cloud broke to give small patches of sunshine (but never where I was).
WH 5.jpg
Looking back across 'the saddle' (on the right) and the now cloud-free summit of Hart Fell

The drop down and climb up again at 'the saddle' were really enjoyable - those who write off the Borders as round boring lumps should really try this walk - and then it was the long descent down the south ridge, on to the track beside the Blackhope Burn, and the car parked right beside the gate.
WH 6.jpg
The view south west down Moffat Dale - and my car by the cottage

A superb day all round, and these hills take my total of 'new to me' summits with my 2-year old knee to a grand total of 103. I look forward to many more hill days. Studying maps, reading guidebooks is all part of it - now I need to work on clearing my diary (whoever said you'll have more time when you retire!!)

PS Route was the classic horseshoe as described on WH
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Jaywizz
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 226
Munros:237   Corbetts:32
Grahams:70   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:123   Hewitts:9
Wainwrights:4   
Joined: Sep 16, 2012

Re: 103 - and still counting

Postby simon-b » Wed Aug 17, 2016 8:57 pm

A nice description of what looks like a great route, Jaywizz. I'll be staying in Moffat soon and am really looking forward to this walk. It's good to see you enjoyed it so much.
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simon-b
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 1914
Munros:282   Corbetts:30
Grahams:7   Donalds:12
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:156
Wainwrights:214   Islands:4
Joined: Jan 2, 2012
Location: Wakefield, West Yorkshire

Re: 103 - and still counting

Postby Jaywizz » Thu Aug 18, 2016 11:19 am

Thanks, simon-b. If you are up on those hills, and it's a good day, you may want to 'collect ' Cape Law at the same time. McMole did that a few days after my walk! Wish I had included it now - but would probably still be recovering ........
User avatar
Jaywizz
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 226
Munros:237   Corbetts:32
Grahams:70   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:123   Hewitts:9
Wainwrights:4   
Joined: Sep 16, 2012

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