A wedding just outside Moffat brought me painfully close to hills and it seemed a shame not to climb something afterwards. I arrived at the fish farm and found somewhere to park before doing a classy change from little black dress to more comfortable walking attire in the car
I booted up quickly as it was chilly in the wind. I headed off across the bridge and towards the track. Turning left just before the house I followed the forestry track upwards. It was easy walking and I covered distance quickly.
The hills the other side of the road looked fantastic and I looked forward to climbing them.
The track was a long way around and I did think of cutting cross country but it seemed easier just to do the distance. Reaching the end of the track i found an ATV track which led me to the top of Capel Fell.
Views opening out towards the summit
The summit was unmarked but was a good viewpoint and allowed me to get my bearings of the round.
I also looked out to Ettrick Pen and decided that it might be a hill for another day as it was already 6.30! Leaving that decision until Wind Fell, I followed the fenceposts downhill towards the bealach where I bog hopped across some squishy peat hags before following the fence back uphill and to the left.
The top of Wind Fell was like it said on the tin, and it was a chilly wind too. At least this summit was semi marked with a couple of broken fenceposts.
Windy Wind Fell
Ettrick Pen from Wind Fell
I looked across to Ettrick Pen. I reckoned it would probably take me an hour to get there and back and it was already quite late. For once I decided to be sensible and headed back the way I'd come until the fence split. Here I continued to the bealach and started heading up Loch Fell. It was a bit damp here and I was regretting leaving my gaiters in the car as my socks were getting wet!
Underfoot conditions aside it was an easy stroll up to the summit of Loch Fell where I was greeted by a trig point!
Ettrick Pen looked even further away now!
It was chilly so time to add more layers before heading off. The sky was getting very dark and I had a feeling the weather was closing in. I followed the fence towards Croft Head.
Looking ahead to an obvious path up Croft Head
Soon I was heading very steeply downhill and beginning to wonder if there wasn't an easier route....
Sure enough after crossing the fence and heading diagonally towards the sheep Pen I noticed a couple of cairns and a path which looked a much more sensible gradient. Ah well....
Safely down I crossed the Southern Upland Way and made for the obvious zig zags up Cat Shoulder. Unfortunately I left the path for a photo....
...and returned to the wrong one which was heading down the valley. I soon realised my mistake and had to do a bit of off-roading to get back to the zig zags. Numpty again...
The zig zags made for a very easy ascent and before long I was on the ridge.
From here it was a simple task of following the fenceposts along to the summit, marked only by the meeting of 4 fences. However the dark skies had passed and it was a beautiful evening; the views were excellent.
Lowther Hill on the horizon
From here I had a choice of retracing my steps down the zig zags or following the fenceposts more steeply downhill. I have a dislike of retracing steps so chose the direct route. It turned out to be more of a gradient than expected but made it safely down to the valley path.
It was a wee bit squishy and I decided to cross over when I could to walk down the easier track the other side of the river.
Looking back up the glen
It was an easy walk out and got me back to the car in just under 4 hours. It was nearly 9.30 so I'd made it back in daylight...but only just!!
The midges were out so I very quickly debooted and got on the road, getting home just ahead of 11. At least the roads were clear by then!!
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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.