Another 4 tough Donalds
by Fife Flyer » Fri Nov 04, 2016 2:30 pm
Donalds included on this walk: Cape Law, Erie Hill , Garelet Dod, Molls Cleuch Dod
Date walked: 02/11/2016
Time taken: 5.25 hours
Distance: 19 km
Ascent: 1260m2 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
After a fabulous weekend in London watching the American Football at Wembley, I felt the need to hit the hills again. The forecast was good so more Donalds were on the menu, so last night I went over the options. Dumfries and Galloway was an option but the 2 hour drive either way wasn't appealing so I decided to head down towards Moffat again as there are 4 red ballooons that could be done in a oner
I plotted the route and Naismith calculated it would take a shade under 6 hours. As things turned out the dogs got us up at 6am, so I decided to have breakfast and then head south. The good thing about leaving earlier than planned, meant I didn't get too caught up in the Edinburgh commuting traffic
I arrived at the small parking area I had used previously for Broad Law and was on my way just after 8am, the modern technology in my car advised me the temperature outside was -1deg
Autumn at it's best, Talla Reservoir
Looking back towards the dam, would have taken more photo's but as you can see a car is approaching
Looking down along Talla Reservoir
Parking area, used same spot for Broad Law
My original plan was to do the route anti-clockwise but I changed my mind due to the underfoot conditions, I thought by following the track initially my feet would stay drier, plus it would give me a chance to get my legs working on the slight incline. 5 hours later I was really pleased with my decision as the ascent up Garelet Hill would have been a real shock to the system.
Looking back to the start
The way ahead, would soon leave the track and head off to the right
After about 1km I decided to leave the track and now the going got tough, no path or even any hint of anything resembling a path just long frost covered grass. It was just a case of head down and grind it out stopping more frequently than I would have liked to get my breath. The good news is that because I was already at 450m I only had about 250m to suffer.
Looking back down whilst getting my breath
Looking across towards Broad Law
Typical Borders scenery
Once I reached the higher slopes of Carlavin Hill the going then became easier and the views opened up and it wasn't long before I reached the first summit of the day - the strangely named 'Molls Cleuch Dod'. When I say summit, it wasn't entirely obvious where the high point was, so I covered all the bases and wandered around.
One of many walls
Wind farms appearing on the horizon
Wind farm zoomed
A few of these near Molls Cleuch Dod
First frost for me this autumn
After MCD I followed the fence SE and then south paying the summit of Donald's Cleuch Head a visit. I then followed the fence towards Great Hill but after about 800m decided it was time to make my way downhill. I scanned the terrain I would be descending and picked out a route of sorts and was aiming to cross Games Hope Burn and ascend near the sheepfold. My thought process behind that idea was that the ground may be a bit more friendly underfoot near the sheepfold. The descent was easy as the grass was longish and the angle of descent was anything but severe.
Unfortunately I would have to descend right down there
Whatever this is? Zoomed
Opted to head for the sheep fold
Not quite a raging torrent
The ground either side of the burn was damp and I would imagine after a spot or two of rain would be anything but fun!!
Sheep fold from the other side
Now for the second tough ascent, the good news being there was less than 120m, the bad news was the grass was tufty and about a foot long. After a few stops to take in the views and a photo or two the terrain levelled out and I reached the fence and wall which would take me to Cape Law. Yet again the summit of Cape Law wasn't obvious, after a few photo's I set off NW following the fence/wall which would take me to Din Law.
Opted to walk between the fence & the wall
Looking in the opposite direction
You hear them before you see them
Makes navigating easy
One for the wind farm fans
Fruid Reservoir again
I think you can see the way ahead
Ellers Cleuch Rig, quite a lump
Couple of wild goats, full zoom, they spotted me first
The walk from Cape Law to the northern hill Garelet Hill is straightforward and it is just a matter of following the fence or wall, with the occasional deviation to visit a few extra lumps on the way if you fancy. Having said that it is also quite undulating but the descent / ascent is nothing like as bad as the 2 previous plods, mainly because the terrain underfoot is rather better.
Difficult to capture on full zoom
Plenty of descent and of course ascent
The final two summits of the day
The way ahead
Erie Hill summit
Only trig of the day, Garelet Hill
Garelet Hill really is a fantastic spot to take in the surrounding views and once the descent starts you feel as if you are almost vertically above Talla Linnfoots (farm). Descending was easy, although it was very steep the long grass gave good traction underfoot. The descent also gave me a good chance to look across Talla Reservoir towards Talla Cleuch Head. TCH is on my radar and my plan was to park along side the reservoir and just head up, but a better option probably easier in all respects is to park near to where I am parked now and head north from there as I would be starting at over 400m
Looking down on an Ambulance from Garelet Hill, zoomed
No zoom, it is a long way down and relentless
Great view down
Trying to highlight how long the grass is, about a foot in old money, easier to descend on, glad I didn't go up this way
Car zoomed, problem is still plenty of descending ahead and then the walk uphill on the road
Same view down
Indicating the angle of descent - steep
Looking back up
Looking across to Talla Cleuch Head
Once at the bottom of the descent there is a bridge that takes you across Games Hope Linns (river) and then onto the road. It is then a matter of plodding uphill on the road that has a gradient of 20%, easy in the car not much fun after 5 hours though
Looking down Talla Reservoir from the road
Looking back to Garelet Hill
This was a cracking day that was very enjoyable, the weather was ideal for walking, very little wind and nice chill in the air to keep me moving.
Next on the menu will be more Donalds, it is just a matter of watching the forecast to see where the better weather will be, got a few odd ones to visit so a bit of planning will be required.
by nigheandonn » Fri Nov 04, 2016 3:51 pm
The rusty thing is a kind of shepherd's hut - there's a photo of it towards the bottom of my report here http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=54948.
Going along to Talla Cleuch Head from Cairn Law is a bit rough because they've built a big new deer fence with sticky out legs which you have to dodge, but it's doable. I came down Muckle Side, which I think would be ok as a way up, but it is longer!
by Jaywizz » Fri Nov 04, 2016 5:53 pm
by Tinto63 » Fri Nov 04, 2016 6:45 pm
I have walked TCH from the Megget Stone via Cairn Law a couple of times and it is certainly less enjoyable now the deer fence has been constructed. You could also walk TCH from Hearthstane on the A701 (park next to the bridge, about 400m S of the Crook Inn), and go over Hog Hill, Manyleith Head, Snout Hill and onto Mathieside Cairn. It's hard work this way but you avoid the deer fence until Mathieside Cairn. On the way back I went down past Snout Hill and then cut down to the Hearthstone Burn and back on the track.
by ExpatEddie » Fri Nov 11, 2016 6:51 pm
I found it strange when I did TCH. From near where your car was and then going up the Broad Law route from Meggat Stone I was actually higher than TCH when I turned off to go to it. I think you have to do that to avoid the scar that is Talla Cleuch.
by simon-b » Fri Nov 11, 2016 8:53 pm
by Alteknacker » Fri Nov 11, 2016 11:57 pm