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Kilpatrick: Duncolm & Slacks Circular

Kilpatrick: Duncolm & Slacks Circular

Postby Marty_JG » Fri Dec 02, 2016 4:06 pm

Route description: Duncolm and the Slacks, Old Kilpatrick

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Duncolm

Date walked: 01/12/2016

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 14 km

Ascent: 655m

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Duncolm & Slacks Circular Trail.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Duncolm & Slacks Circular Graph.jpg

Starting/End Point: Kilpatrick Train Station & Car Park

Start: 11:40 am
Finish: 16:50 pm

To Duncolm: 2 hours 15
(Lunch: 25 mins)
Return Leg: 2 hours 30
Total: 5 hours 10

These hills were a mystery to me, moving to Glasgow they've been part of my landscape for years given they are (I think?) the horizon of the Great Western Road from Byres Road outwards. Sometimes I'd get vague mutterings of "The Campsies", but I knew that was heading north not north-west. Even the likes of Google Maps didn't help as they don't name general hill ranges.

Well, thanks to Garmin's Basecamp and Walk Highlands the mystery got resolved and a plan of action formed. Well, a back-up plan of action - I'd planned and overnighter in the Trossachs to bag something big. Or at least a bit bigger. But circumstances forced a change of pace to a single day. Why not go local for my first recordable bag?

I looked around at the existing WH trip reports and most are a variant of returning the way you came, so I plotted a circular route. This is also going to be a first outing for my spanky new Montana 680. I know the picture quality isn't going to compare to a camera camera but they're geotagged and will do for trail memory. Oh, and here's a thing: I was playing around with the camera settings to see how large the file sizes were for the three permitted MP sizes: 2, 5, 8, and left it on 2 megapixels. Bah!! So you'll forgive the SUPER low image quality. They should be merely mediocre.

Anyway, set off nice and late thanks to waiting till 10am for the shops to start selling fiery hip-flask juice, back home to decant, and over to Partick train station for the eminently reasonable £3.50 off-peak return ticket. Arrived just after half eleven and several hours of light lost. Out of the train station and it looks like I'm in the right place:

001 Car Park.jpg

The "Path" to the Braes is well signposted and to the start of the walk; the hills looked to be getting some nice sun & I hoped to get to see some of it:

002 Start.jpg

So trudge, trudge, trudge up what are basically roads. But the view back is gorgeous! I now understand why I'm able to see them from my block - because I can see my block from them!

003 Lookin Back.jpg

The trail continued up, just ascent and path, but rounding a corner there was an out-of-place rock pile that looked like a Dr Who set. Nothing else like it on the walk.

004 Scramble Optional.jpg

As I continued I met a couple of couples walking back, little did I know they would be the very last people I saw that day. Anyway it's about 3km of distance going up to the 300m mark, an overall height that'll be mine for most of the day. Then a wee dip to Lake Placid sorry I meant Loch Humphrey. It really was beautiful and still. Apparently a "club" trout fishing ground and out of season, so again nobody around. I wish I had a wee packraft with me, oh well maybe next year.

005 Loch Humphrey.jpg

You walk around the loch and it's gets a bit of squelchy here and there, and a view over to Berry Bank on the right. I didn't feel the need to detour over to it, I have (slightly) bigger things ahead of me.

006 Berry Bank.jpg

My photo of Little Duncolm didn't work out, but I did capture the "featureless puddingness" of the featureless pudding that is Middle Duncolm.

007 Middle Duncolm.jpg

And so stomp stomp up it and a view to my halfway point and "point" of this trip so to speak, the only hill to qualify for anything in the Kilpatrick range: Marilyn Duncolm herself!

008 Marilyn Duncolm.jpg

Getting up here was the first and last time I had to lean forward to grab some tufts of grass. Getting to the top I was rewarded with fantastic views, the weather couldn't have been nicer, except for a stiff enough breeze I put my hood up. If I have this right this is a view looking NW over towards the Trossachs. I'll have to get over there! But not today. Today was snapping this Trig and proving it was me with my pair if hipflasks, one of which was worryingly light by this stage.

009 Trig Point Hipflask.jpg

It was too windy to summit break, heading south just a few metres descent and it was nicely sheltered so got the EVA foam sit mat out and battered into lunch: a feast of Mini Babybel, Pepperami, a boiled egg and another wee nip or six. Heading down I admired the impressive-looking Birny Hills.

010 Birny Hills.jpg

The descent continues along that fence, well-marked and squelchy lower down. Eventually you get to the Burnellans Tribute, and I noticed a lovely wee spot just large enough for a 1-tent wildcamp. The watersound is a good background volume without being overpowering. I'm definitely coming back here for a night out I tell ya.

011 Cool Campsite.jpg

And down a bit further until you get your first good look at Greenside Reservoir.

012 Greenside Reservoir.jpg

I started down and around to the left of the reservoir. From the map I have I worried slightly the stream might be too big to cross and require a detour, but other than being marshy and muddy it was fine. The reservoir had a fence around it at one point but it has rusted away almost to nothing. In this case something is worse than nothing as metal spikes jag out at irregular intervals. Still, at least this portion of the fence remains:

013 Fencing Fail.jpg

And it continues round to the, erm, something of the reservoir. Head? Foot? Outlet? Dam? Oh, and take notice of the round yellow splotches under the bridge.

014 Outlet.jpg

It turns out that despite being the only person for miles around I am not alone. This is clearly a HIVE of YOOF!

015 Yoof!.jpg

And so around, and I'm looking up the final 100 metres of ascent for the day towards The Slacks. The legs are tired and I'm not looking forward to it greatly, but I'm also aware I have an hours walk and an hour's light, so best crack on!

016 Onwards.jpg

And I would have done it in a fell swoop but I couldn't help look back and admire the Duncolms glinting in the last of the reddening dusky sunlight. Never again will you see such a fine collection of almost immeasurably flat pancakes.

017 Three Duncolms.jpg

And so on to the summit of The Slacks and the last of today's great views of urbanity: Erskine, Dumbarton, right round to Glasgow. But that sun hitting the horizon, pretty though it is, isn't good for me, I have 45 minutes of sunlight left, 300 metres of descent and 3km to go... and something that has been playing my mind for the last hour: I've forgotten my headtorch. The brand-spanking new fully charged headtorch I bought for exactly this kind of thing. I know. I know! As I said I've been beating myself up about this for an hour at least - the last time this Old Boy Scout makes this mistake.

018 Trig Point Slacks.jpg

I make good progress downhill, the path is clear... more MTB treads than footprints. The lads that peddle this hill will be fit as fleas. Probably the sort of yoof that vandalises innocent reservoir concrete. It is good to see Glasgow & The West from the vantage, but isn't it a bit early for them to be so fully illuminated?

019 Everythings Fine.jpg

Apparently not. It starts darkening quickly and I have nightmares of phoning Mountain Rescue 500 yards from the trail start. This was the last useful photograph I got:

020 No Its Not.jpg

And yet my eyes adjusted enough I could make it back to basepoint, a bright screen GPS was a delight. I made it back down to the "branch off" point of the day and took a snap. Not wanting to stop I got some motion blur, like the Photoshop Filter but done manually by being in motion.

021 The End.jpg

But I stumbled down to "the lights" of civilisation, or at least the lights of the high-speed A82 spaghetti-connector to the A898. The walk back to the Railway/Carpark is a half click and a good opportunity to continue to admonish myself about the torch.

But other than that, a nice day out. The weather was perfect... unbelivable for the start of December. December in Scotland that is. The desolation was wonderful, and strange to have that sensation so close to Glasgow. Time of year/week contributed to that of course.

I'll definitely revisit "my horizon" again. Probably with a tent in the pack. And a light.
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Re: Kilpatrick: Duncolm & Slacks Circular

Postby denfinella » Sat Dec 03, 2016 5:04 pm

Very nice - I can see these hills from my flat and should probably put them on my shortlist. Looks a good circular route - is there a path all the way down from The Slacks back to the A82? Likewise between Duncolm and Greenside Reservoir (suspect not for the latter)?
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Re: Kilpatrick: Duncolm & Slacks Circular

Postby teaandpies » Sat Dec 03, 2016 5:34 pm

I was lucky enough to see a grouse up there which i wasn't expecting.

I also got a row for walking on a path used by mountain bikers... :shock:
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Re: Kilpatrick: Duncolm & Slacks Circular

Postby Marty_JG » Sat Dec 03, 2016 6:27 pm

@denfinella Yes, there was a distinct well-trodden path my entire route. It's not shown (that I can see) on OS 1:25 but it is shown on OpenStreetMap which I use in my Garmin satnav device/software (that's why I took the route). Flicking between maps there are definitely trails on OS 1:25 not on OSM as well as trails on OSM not on OS 1:25. Perhaps I should get "into" contributing to OSM.

@teaandpies Aye, grouse frightened the living daylights out of me a couple of times!! I neglected that part of the report. I'd give room to MTB users if I saw them but I'd not react at all well to abuse. Reading-up, the Forestry Commission don't mind MTB users on the trails but there are no formal or reserved tracks for them. Then again Bampots Will Be Bawbags as I imagine they say round here.
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Re: Kilpatrick: Duncolm & Slacks Circular

Postby Marty_JG » Sun Mar 05, 2017 2:44 pm

Got to do a cheeky camp on Friday night (03/03/17) at the head of Greenside Reservoir, the spot I mentioned above. Walked the long way round (via Duncolm) very clear day and some magnificent views. Quite cold, some sporadic snow, and that little location does get the wind howling down it (fortunately I had presence of mind to angle the fin to the wind this time). Saturday was a bit misty, tried the same return route, got to the Slacks, but found it difficult to judge the modest southern trail so headed west instead along a more defined trail to just south of Sheepfold. The trails are not not marked on the OS maps but it's on the OSM/TalkyToaster ones. Now I know where to turn eat it'll be much quicker to return to.

Lovely little discreet spot, providing you like the sound of running water. 8)

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