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A needed leg stretcher up Duncolm hill
by desmondo1 » Tue Jan 30, 2018 6:11 pm
Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Duncolm
Date walked: 29/01/2018
Time taken: 3.2 hours
Distance: 14 km
Ascent: 553mRegister or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
It seems ages since my Cairngorm adventures so I was looking forward to today’s walk. In fairness I had a Munro planned for last Saturday but with the extreme winds up top it was considered to dangerous, the correct call.
Instead today’s forecast indicated a good chance of cold sunshine along with the strong likelihood of being hit by a thunderstorm. Dress appropriately.
My choice was the sub2000 Duncolm, an hours drive and not too high should the weather deteriorate.
The walk began from the Kilpatrick Braes parking area, almost under the Erskine Bridge (signed Kilpatrick Hills car park). Only one other car here this morning but as I was putting on my boots one of the biggest dogs I have seen in my life got out of it, thankfully the owner tugged it the other way.
Follow that track
The route follows a minor road going past the gas works, boy what a smell of gas, don’t light a match here. It then curves left before you turn right at the next junction - signed 'Path - Kilpatrick Hills'. The tarred lane now leads gently uphill, passing a stone house and later crossing a cattle grid.
The Walkhighlands description of height being gradually gained was not being felt by my legs or breathing. I am not out of condition must be just out of sorts today.
You cannot get lost, just plod on up the track with the benefit that there are great views back towards the Erskine Bridge and Greater Glasgow, as well as along the Clyde, Greenock etc. A good excuse for a breather The self catering Gavinburn Cottages have an excellent view. From the start the track is 800 feet (244m) of steady climbing to reach Humphrey Loch.
When at the top and off to my right I spot 3 people, pretty far away, I presume on the Slacks.
The wind is chilling as Loch Humphrey comes into view, cutting a heavy chop across the water. No fish rising today, I presume the fishermen are allowed to drive up here unless there is another way in.
The weather has blown rain showers through before and behind me but so far so good.
Trees planted but allowing view of route ahead
As you will see there are stacks of tree planting taking place but they are newly planted so you get a view of the grassy track heading towards the hills.
With all the rain and snow melt the track is now significant patches of very boggy ground as it heads towards the first small hill. Behind which I can see Middle Duncolm, the main target still hidden.
There is a choice of going round the left flank of Middle Duncolm but this is a hill walk so over the top I plod.
Now Duncolm and its trig is a short distance away but there is a slippy grassy descent to negotiate first.
Duncolm from mid Duncolm
Safely down but more boggy ground at the bottom so I simply head up a faint track which weaves its way around the hill and before I know it the trig is in my face.
Nice view to the Campsies from the trig
The trig point is the highest point of the Kilpatrick Hills and the views do not disappoint: the islands of Loch Lomond disappear in a shower but I am compensated by a rainbow forming. The Campsie Fells are briefly in sunshine but give a great view of the ridge. Parts of Glasgow and surroundings can be seen. The Luss hills etc, all in all a nice spot with the moorland and some more lochs down below.
Shower passing nearby
But it is too cold to linger and I head back by the same route. I get hit by the fringes of a squall, the hail stinging my face but I overall got lucky with the weather.
However, on the way down from the loch instead of being alone I pass numerous people, the track to the loch has become very popular, maybe some are even going to Duncolm.
It could be a Highland summer snap
Back at the car park it was now almost full of cars, the blue skies bringing them out.
An excellent short return to the hills.
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