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Half a Hartfellt Horseshoe

Half a Hartfellt Horseshoe


Postby iangpark » Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:05 am

Corbetts included on this walk: Hart Fell

Donalds included on this walk: Hart Fell, Swatte Fell, Whitehope Heights

Date walked: 16/11/2017

Time taken: 8 hours

Distance: 25.7 km

Ascent: 1159m

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A last minute suggestion by Iain ended up with us both meeting up in Moffat for what might be my last hill trip of the year. We accidentally got on different buses so met each other there! I'd had this Donald (and tops) route planned for a while but had wanted to do it with pals as good photo opportunities were available. Were too pressed for time to visit the two view pedestals often seen in reports - one to the E of Nether Coomb Craig (I think) and the other at Hound Shoulder, on the Coomb Craig Ridge.

Started out along Old Well Road - took small detour over farmland to get to actual Well Road. Followed the path along past farmyards and sheep fields looking up to Greygill Head, before finally entering occasionally steep forestry paths. We had to decide between Birnock Cloves and Pirnie Rig - we decided on the short but much steeper Pirnie Rig as it meant less backtracking towards Nether Coomb Craig.

Inside Forestry:
1 - Path In.jpg


Pirnie Rig was immensely steep - arguably the steepest incline I have ascended in D&G so far, but the difficult bit only lasted 15 or so minutes. After that it was a gradual tussocky walk over to the ridge. We got heavily rained on on the way up but only briefly.

Up Pirnie Rig (The Easy Bit):
2 - Up Pirnie Rig.jpg


Looking back into Moffatdale and Nithsdale:
3 - View Back.jpg


Short backtrack to the top of Nether Coomb Craig after navigating a couple of fences - views a bit hazy due to raincloud but views into Black Hope were steep and spectacular.

Iain overlooking Black Hope (NCC cairn to right):
4 - Iain and NCC.jpg


Looking over to Hart Fell:
5 - Over to Hart Fell.jpg


Swatte Fell was further and steeper away than expected but not too bad - ATV tracks all the way to the dry stone dyke - no summit feature, but beside furthest conspicuous wall collapse there is a small cairn below the summit. Quite boggy while following dyke and fence along. 40mph winds and some brief hailstones on way up meant hands too cold for camera pictures!

Clear ATV paths ahead to Falcon Craig - we saw someone on some kind of Kubota-buggy following the ridge along, as well as a walker descending FC. Ascent up Falcon Craig was much steeper than the map makes out - mattress-like ground solidity on way over too.

Iain at summit of Falcon Craig top:
6 - Iain at Falcon Craig Summit.jpg


Every single hill was looking steeper than I had thought. The enormous expanse of Hart Fell took a while to get up - I'd assumed the summit was in a similar area as Swatte Fell, but only after getting onto the plateau did I remember it's right at the fenceline.

Up Hart Fell:
7 - Up Hart Fell.jpg


Looking over to Arthur's Seat (Not the Edinburgh one!):
8 - Looking over to Arthur's Seat.jpg


Back to Coomb Craig Ridge (with common photo area) and Swatte Fell plateau:
9 - Looking back to Swatte Fell and Coomb Craig Ridge (2).jpg


Summit Hart Fell and only trig of the day (Culter Fell on horizon):
10 - Summit Hart Fell.jpg


Pressed onwards, deciding to follow deer fenceline (sensible decision) over what was probably the most prolonged steep section I have come across on a Donald so far - known as 'The Gyle' apparently.

Rust-coloured terrain of Hart Fell:
11 - Rustycoloured Terrain.jpg


E face of Whitehope Heights:
12 - Whitehope W Face.jpg


Very steep glen:
13 - Steep Glen.jpg


Although having to skirt around to the N to get up Whitehope was a bit of a hassle, the summit was reached much faster than previously expected. Struts of fence mean you can't really follow it as you'd like. Few steep sections but terrain relatively good.

Final summit of the day:
14 - Summit Whitehope Heights.jpg


Herein lied the difficult part of the walk for me - Navigating us back down to the farmyards and eventually the road. This took at least an hour - I had used OS Maps route planner to map the easiest way down that maximised time on tracks and used it on my phone, but even still, following it correctly wasn't easy.

We headed along the fenceline until it hits a 90 degree corner and climbed over the fence. Followed an ATV track along Cocklaw Knowe ridge and then joined track after 10 minutes or so. This (extremely slippery) path took us down through sheep fields until above a rectangular area of forestry. We decided to bypass the Corehead Farm path and follow the Annandale Way to the N of two small lochs hidden away. Reached River Annan in no time. Walked up to the bridge and finally got to flat ground. The moment we joined the path was quite literally the last bit of decent and it had taken a bit of a toll on us.

Just over an hour walk back into Moffat along the farm road with legs like jelly, and in perfect time for the next bus. If this trip had had two cars, we could have probably knocked off 10km. Regardless, it was nice to finally start a new range of Donalds which I'll likely be working on for the next good while - route plans already sorted of course!
User avatar
iangpark
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 264
Munros:10   Corbetts:15
Grahams:24   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:56   Hewitts:13
Wainwrights:15   Islands:9
Joined: Dec 29, 2015
Location: Greenock

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