Donalds Trumped - Round 2
by weaselmaster » Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:01 pm
Grahams included on this walk: Cauldcleuch Head
Donalds included on this walk: Cauldcleuch Head, Windy Gyle
Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Greatmoor Hill
Date walked: 28/01/2018
Time taken: 10 hours
Distance: 42.3 km
Ascent: 1753m7 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Arrived at the parking space beside the farm just before 10am, followed by a gang of bird murderers in a convoy of 10 or so SUVs. Got kitted up - no crampons/ice axe today as there was virtually no snow to be seen on the hills around. I reckoned it would have been another landscape entirely a week ago... I hoped to make it up The Cheviot as well today, and if time permitted take in the Sim of The Schil. Started off up the track to Kelsocleuch, past the ***** in tweed who were already blasting away at pheasants. Reached the fence line on Windy Rig quickly, entering clag at around 500m and continued on to the summit of Windy Gyle in an hour.
A distinct lack of snow this weekend
P1180443 by Al, on Flickr
P1180444 by Al, on Flickr
One to go!
P1180445 by Al, on Flickr
I was expecting an accumulation of snow on the flagstone "road" that runs along the Pennine Way but there was none (well the odd patch only). I was grumbling about my choice of winter boots now, as the hard surface of the flagstones wasn't very comfortable underfoot, but preferred that to wading through snowdrifts. The wind was ferocious - it had tried to blow me over coming up Windy Rig and there was little respite up on the plateau. Managed to find a hollow in the heather for lunch. I reached the split in the path at the start of the way up The Cheviot - this is Cairn Hill West Top, a Donald Top that has the unique property of being over 100m higher than the nearest Donald to it (743m vs 619m of Windy Gyle). Weird. I decided against going up The Cheviot as it was so windy - it's an English hill anyway (even if it is a Marilyn) so expendable. I decided I would do The Schil however, a good Scottish Sim.
P1180446 by Al, on Flickr
Cairn Hill West Top
P1180447 by Al, on Flickr
I continued along the fenceline, with flagstone paving intermittently underfoot. First up was the Mountain Hut on Auchope Rig - popped inside for a nosey. Lots of dehydrated food packets lining the walls, so one needn't starve in here. On over boggy terrain until I could see The Schil loom out of the clag towards me. Followed the fenceline up to a rocky little summit which was quite hazardous in the strong winds - I could barely keep my footing at the top. Then straight down towards Schilgreen and onto some track which brought me out at Sourhope, where the bird murderers were returning with their bloody haul slung over shoulders. And onwards by the road back to the car.
Onwards toward The Schil
P1180449 by Al, on Flickr
P1180450 by Al, on Flickr
P1180451 by Al, on Flickr
P1180453 by Al, on Flickr
Shil summit, sheep sheltering
P1180454 by Al, on Flickr
P1180455 by Al, on Flickr
P1180456 by Al, on Flickr
I had considered camping near Cocklawfoot - there's a nice spot beside the ford/wooden bridge, but I had plenty of time to drive round to Cauldcleuch in the daylight. I pulled into Mosspaul Campsite - we'd stayed once before and it seemed sensible to ensure a good pitch for what I reckoned would be a windy and wet night. No-one else there (surprise ) and a hefty fee for one person/one night but hey ho...at least there was a good shower. I got the tent pitched, fixed my tea and decided I'd turn in early - in bed by 5.55pm - oh dear!!
Managed a good sleep despite the wind and rain and prepared for the off quite early. Clag was down and the rain was on - just the usual sort of day for a completion Drove round towards Billhope and parked up at the start of a forest path, taking the route we'd used last time up to Tudhope Hill. Very wet underfoot - one of the less enjoyable things about a thaw is the lack of frozen bog to walk on. Wind was at least as strong as the day before, on my back as I was ascending, but I knew I'd have it in the face all the way back... The clag intermittently cleared, giving glimpses of the hill up ahead. Made it to the summit of Cauldcleuch in around an hour and a half and paused at the fence to have a wee celebration - me, myself and I, not even a sheep. I did have a wee bottle of Laphroaig - I only intended to have a nip, but the wind blew the bottle top right out of my gloved hand and it was irretrievably lost, meaning I had to drink the whole lot
P1180457 by Al, on Flickr
P1180458 by Al, on Flickr
P1180461 by Al, on Flickr
Yay! Completion party!!
P1180465 by Al, on Flickr
Under the unexpected influence of a double Scotch before 11am I struggled to find the next bit of the route, which involved heading to Windy Edge rather than just following the fenceline off Cauldcleuch Head - after a little misdirection I did get it right and continued over squelchy grassland towards the treeline on Swire Knowe. A further bit of effort took me to the trig point on the summit of Greatmoor Hill, a measly 1m short of being a Sim. Despite it being only 11.25 I decided on an early lunch in the shelter of the rocky cairn around the trig. Descent was by means of Reedy Edge - where I almost stood on a fox as it came bounding out of the undergrowth - and Sheil Knowe, where there was a horse and pony galumphing about, seemed pleased that the weather was warmer than it had been, came running past me in high spirits. Then down to the track along the Braidley Burn and onto the road. The few kilometres back to the car were not pleasant, on account of walking into a strong wind and being rained upon rather heavily.
On the way to Greatmoor
P1180467 by Al, on Flickr
P1180469 by Al, on Flickr
P1180471 by Al, on Flickr
P1180472 by Al, on Flickr
P1180473 by Al, on Flickr
P1180474 by Al, on Flickr
P1180475 by Al, on Flickr
So the Donalds are done once again - hopefully back to Munro business next weekend. Wonder when the next visit down this way will be...
by malky_c » Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:18 pm
If I had been more motivated, I might have bumped into you on the Cheviot on Saturday, but I just couldn't be arsed in the end!
by onsen » Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:25 am
- Munro compleatist
- Posts: 269
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by Fife Flyer » Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:21 am
It might be something I might do as I enjoyed the Donalds, having said that I am a fair weather walker not hardcore like you.
by rockhopper » Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:29 pm
Like others though, I took one look at the forecast and opted to stay put - cheers
by weaselmaster » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:47 pm
Wow that was scary
by Jaxter » Tue Jan 30, 2018 11:16 pm
by walkingpoles » Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:10 pm
All the best for your next round!
by robertphillips » Thu Feb 01, 2018 7:14 pm