10.6km 650m 4.5hrs
Blackcraig hill, above New Cumnock - done it so many times. Almost declined when my son suggested it for a Saturday morning walk. I`d intended to go northwards, but with all the fallen snow and not being out for a month, thought this would be a wee stroll in the park. The single track down Glen Afton is being widened - to give better access for another section of wind farm ? The usual parking spots above the farm being taken by the workers and machines - we drive to the road end and gear up. Heavy fleece for the cold, leather boots with gaiters strapped down to keep out the snow, big sac and ready to go. Our reverse route, leads from the dam, over the hills of Cannock, Blacklorg and Blackcraig to where ever. The reported BBC fog for this morning has yet to appear, We crunch thro snow and pine needles beside a burn, till a turning area and series of concrete steps lead up the dam slope. A mirror reflection of its waters mimic our climb thro a short band of trees to open hillside with deeper snows. The sun, bright without heat, lightens the white surround so I pull glasses from my sac to protect my eyes and plod after Darren. Like old times, he breaks trail and I follow, my boots going knee deep at times as we climb steadily. From the small cairn on Cannock looking S, we can see the Lake district peaks, Ireland, Arran and hills North and East. There is a gray northern cloud coming in and sunshine on the still waters of Afton reservour give a reflected white trapezium on the skies grey backdrop. Amazing !
Cross the col for Blacklorg hill to see the extent of the windfarm. Then its an easy thrash down to boggy ground at the 2nd col before the climb up to Blackcraig. More snow, a chore. Three small pines trees dress this side of the hill and are usually decorated nearer xmas
Then the top, trig point and cairn with less snow and good views over the windfarm and hills. We call it a day here. The drop S then SW to the Craig burn gave rough going, cross fence, forest and water reaches a farm with an easy but slow return to the car.
Seen enroute- workers, sheep deer birds and a vole I disturbed crossing the long grasses of the burn
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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.