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Achieving Graham Parity on Queensberry hill

Achieving Graham Parity on Queensberry hill


Postby weaselmaster » Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:13 am

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: 04/03/2017

Time taken: 8.75 hours

Distance: 29.5 km

Ascent: 1306m

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It's been a long time coming. I used to do Grahams when out on my own or when she was indisposed so built up a lead of about 30-odd over Allison. In the last months we have chipped away at her deficit and worked that number down until only 2 were left - Ballencleuch Law and Queensberry in Dumfries. I'd done the circuit from Daer Reservoir last spring in 6.5 hours in reasonable conditions. It was still a fair walk for the time of year - what I didn't know today was whether there was much snow left on the hills - this would impede us if there were. Allison was up for the walk, which would bring us both to 199 Grahams climbed and allow a joint 200th.


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I'd taken FifeFlyer's route rather than my own from last time as Allison isn't bothered about doing New Donalds, so we didn't have the faff of Rodger Law to include. We parked just north of the cottage at Kirkhope Cleuch and set off on a very boggy track up the shoulder of Comb Law. Rain had been promised by the Met Office but didn't manifest - in fact, it turned out to be a lovely day after some initial clag. However, we could see that there was snow higher up on the hills - oh dear... Starting at 350m makes the climb up Comb Law easy enough - we did hit the snow at around 550m - not too thick - ankle deep mostly but enough to impact on walking pace to a fair extent. The cairn-less top of Comb Law was reached then a trauchle along the fence line to Ballencleuch Law. Some very wet ground under foot. At the summit I did ask Allison if she wanted to head back down Rodger Law and we could drive around to do Queensberry on its own which would save 10km. She was keen to press on with our original plan, having psyched herself up for the round, despite the snow.

Kirkhope Cleuch, Comb Law behind
ImageP1140935 by Al, on Flickr

Comb summit
ImageP1140936 by Al, on Flickr

Avoiding the bog
ImageP1140937 by Al, on Flickr

Ballencleuch summit
ImageP1140938 by Al, on Flickr

Starting to clear
ImageP1140939 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140941 by Al, on Flickr

The going is relatively easy to the next Donald, Scaw'd Law. As we walked, there was some lifting of the clag which looked promising. We had lunch at the top - just gone noon. I was becoming a bit concerned about the pace as we'd only done 8km meaning there were still 20km to go. We decided to take the proper track to Wedder Law given the snow, probably the right call. I had intended to pop up Glenleith Fell, a Donald Top I hadn't visited but pressed for time it would have to wait. Onwards to Gana Hill where we found footprints of other walkers. A boggy/peat haggy section followed by a short steep ascent brought us to Earncraig Hill, our penultimate summit. Queensberry loomed ahead, snow topped (although to be fair, the snow was less deep as we walked on). A gentle descent down Berry Rigg brought us to the fence line at Capel Yetts and another steepish ascent to Penbreck - although I remembered it as being steeper. A final push through the peat hags at the base of Queensberry then follow the fence line most of the way to the summit. At last, she's drawn level - yay! It was now 3.45 and we still had more than 8km left to walk - would we get back to the car before darkness overtook us? The sun was shining, giving a goodly warmth to our tired bodies, press on.

Green Lowther away to the north
ImageP1140944 by Al, on Flickr

Queensberry in sight at last
ImageP1140947 by Al, on Flickr

The route to Queensberry
ImageP1140948 by Al, on Flickr

Penbreck
ImageP1140950 by Al, on Flickr

View back to the Daer Reservoir
ImageP1140952 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140953 by Al, on Flickr

Yay - catch up complete
ImageP1140954 by Al, on Flickr


We re-traced our steps down to Capel Yetts then started off along the northern flanks of Earncraig Hill. Problem is, there's a deep ravine, Berry Grain, to be negotiated and this meant gaining then dropping height. Allison was becoming tired and sore - the next task of ascending Lamb Hill was not to her liking. I thought it best to keep a moderate distance ahead of her. I knew there was a river crossing at the bottom of the hill before we joined the track which I hadn't mentioned to her, so I kept a good distance ahead til I reached that too :wink:

our return route
ImageP1140955 by Al, on Flickr

Coming up Lamb Hill - not happy
ImageP1140956 by Al, on Flickr

View down to Daerhead
ImageP1140957 by Al, on Flickr

It was a wee wade across the river to reach the derelict buildings at Daerhead, then a watery track which meandered along the Daer Water. We could see the barns at Kirkhope farm, but never seemed to get closer to them. Eventually we did, walking by the river which captured the hues from the sunset. A lovely evening the Daer Water so calm. Made it back to the car at 6.15pm still in daylight. A good day's work in the conditions, I think.

Daerhead
ImageP1140958 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140959 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140961 by Al, on Flickr

Interesting bridge
ImageP1140962 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140965 by Al, on Flickr
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weaselmaster
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Re: Achieving Graham Parity on Queensberry hill

Postby Jaxter » Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:50 am

Ooft that was a big one :clap: I was having similar snow and clag issues on the other Lowthers :lol: Looks like I should have stuck around for sunset :thumbup:
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Re: Achieving Graham Parity on Queensberry hill

Postby PeteR » Sun Mar 05, 2017 10:14 am

Big circuit that. Took me three attempts to get them and any Donald tops sorted (if I ignore the two aborted attempts at Queensberry that is). That delapidated bridge is "interesting" to say the least :lol: Had a frosty crossing of it a few weeks back.
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Re: Achieving Graham Parity on Queensberry hill

Postby rockhopper » Sun Mar 05, 2017 11:28 am

Nice route to fit into a winter's day - well done on your joint #199 :thumbup:

weaselmaster wrote:We re-traced our steps down to Capel Yetts then started off along the northern flanks of Earncraig Hill. Problem is, there's a deep ravine, Berry Grain, to be negotiated and this meant gaining then dropping height. Allison was becoming tired and sore - the next task of ascending Lamb Hill was not to her liking.
At the the risk of incurring Allison's wrath :wink: , wondered why you didn't head back up Berry Rig from Capel Yetts then west to the fence and up Lamb Hill to avoid the drop down into Berry Grain ?

weaselmaster wrote:I thought it best to keep a moderate distance ahead of her. I knew there was a river crossing at the bottom of the hill before we joined the track which I hadn't mentioned to her, so I kept a good distance ahead til I reached that too :wink:
Think I just avoided it by returning via Over law and Nether Law to cross by the bridge at the farm

Looking forward to #200 - cheers :)
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Re: Achieving Graham Parity on Queensberry hill

Postby Sick Kid » Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:44 pm

At the the risk of incurring Allison's wrath :wink: , wondered why you didn't head back up Berry Rig from Capel Yetts then west to the fence and up Lamb Hill to avoid the drop down into Berry Grain ?


Think someone went the wrong way :wink: .....thought myself it would have been better to retrace our steps :lol:
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Sick Kid
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Re: Achieving Graham Parity on Queensberry hill

Postby weaselmaster » Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:58 pm

rockhopper wrote:Nice route to fit into a winter's day - well done on your joint #199 :thumbup:

weaselmaster wrote:We re-traced our steps down to Capel Yetts then started off along the northern flanks of Earncraig Hill. Problem is, there's a deep ravine, Berry Grain, to be negotiated and this meant gaining then dropping height. Allison was becoming tired and sore - the next task of ascending Lamb Hill was not to her liking.
At the the risk of incurring Allison's wrath :wink: , wondered why you didn't head back up Berry Rig from Capel Yetts then west to the fence and up Lamb Hill to avoid the drop down into Berry Grain ?

weaselmaster wrote:I thought it best to keep a moderate distance ahead of her. I knew there was a river crossing at the bottom of the hill before we joined the track which I hadn't mentioned to her, so I kept a good distance ahead til I reached that too :wink:
Think I just avoided it by returning via Over law and Nether Law to cross by the bridge at the farm

Looking forward to #200 - cheers :)


One of the problems in using someone else's route and not paying proper attention to it at the planning stage (which was the night before we set out as I had planned to do Meall Mor up at Inverlochlarig. Guilty as charged :lol:
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weaselmaster
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Re: Achieving Graham Parity on Queensberry hill

Postby Fife Flyer » Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:59 pm

Well done to both of you, that would be a tough day in those conditions :clap: :clap:

Agree about the long walk back to the car :lol:
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