Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
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.

Donald Tops

Donald Tops

Postby weaselmaster » Thu Feb 15, 2018 5:32 pm

Grahams included on this walk: Culter Fell, Gathersnow Hill

Donalds included on this walk: Chapelgill Hill, Culter Fell, Gathersnow Hill, Hillshaw Head, Lochcraig Head , Molls Cleuch Dod

Date walked: 15/02/2018

Time taken: 19.5 hours

Distance: 53.7 km

Ascent: 3028m

1 person thinks this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

With a forecast of heavy snow and high winds, it was not a weekend for Munros. An affront to my schedule, but hopefully will be able to make up some ground next weekend. So our eyes turned south - Allison has been feeling guilty that she has not completed all the Donald Tops - a dozen remained unclimbed for her. I have to admit that in my second round I have left a number of tops also unclimbed. Hmmm. So I worked out a weekend's worth of walking that would net her 8 of her remaining 12.

coom3.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Friday morning - we left at 7 and had a smooth run down the road to Glenkirk, which would allow us to approach the Culter Fell round from the east, saving 8 or 9km on the circuit from Coulter. It's a nice way to do the circuit if you aren't bothered about Hudderstone. Plenty of grassy roadside parking at the beginning of the walk. We followed the road to the farm and took the track up onto Chapelgill Hill - a steady pull on heather/grass. From the top it was over to the Top of Cardon Hill, under a lot more snow. We'd left our snowshoes in the car, something we'd regret as the day wore on. Top reached, we turned our attention to Culter Fell - looking crisp and white ahead of us. The section from King Bank Head is notoriously boggy - at least it was snowy, not too boggy today. Crusty icy snow on Culter Fell made ascending easier and we paused for a breath.

ImageDSC00651 by Al, on Flickr

Culter Fell
ImageDSC00652 by Al, on Flickr

Cardon from Chapelgill
ImageDSC00654 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00656 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00657 by Al, on Flickr

Things you find stuck in the snow #1
ImageDSC00656 by Al, on Flickr

There's a long downward trot over Moss Law to Holm Nick before the climb to Gathersnow Hill - we followed the track, under varying amounts of snow to the top. From here it was across towards the windfarm and Coomb Dod, by way of Hillshaw Head - we met another walker out taking his exercise. Coomb Dod reached, we about turned and retraced our steps up Gathersnow, meeting another walker who expressed his gratitude for the tracks we'd ploughed in the snow. On to Coomb Hill and down towards the track at Holms Waterhead and back to the car. My GPS was playing up, not receiving a signal for some reason... We pondered whether to camp in the valley where we'd parked or drive along to The Meggat where we'd be walking tomorrow. We were quite close to the farmhouse here, so decided to move along to The Meggat and our usual waterside spot.

Down to Holm Nick
ImageDSC00659 by Al, on Flickr

Gathersnow to Coomb Dod
ImageDSC00660 by Al, on Flickr

Weathered trig of Coomb Dod
ImageDSC00662 by Al, on Flickr

Things you find in the snow #2
ImageDSC00663 by Al, on Flickr

Coomb Hill
ImageDSC00665 by Al, on Flickr

When we drove along to Talla Linfoots we were faced with a very snowy steep road up the hillside towards the Meggat Stone. I did attempt to get up the hill, but when the car started slithering towards the drop on the left, I decided that was a bad idea and had a rather hairy reverse back down the sinuous slope - ditch on the right, drop on the left. By this time it was getting dark - we cast around for a place to pitch and eventually ended up pitching by the river at the bottom of the hill. Lumpy and wet and right in the teeth of a gale coming along the valley. Some extra guy lines and a few big rocks were required to keep us attached to the earth and a very noisy night ensued. Rain came on in the evening and battered right into the tent. We did manage some sleep despite the noise - in fact Allison said I fell asleep right away despite the chaos outrside. Better wind than loud Edinbuggers!

great4x.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Saturday morning - the road still impassable despite rain all night, I had to edit my route and start from where we'd parked rather than 100m or so higher up the hillside. Carlavin Hill is one steep honey - still a fair amount of snow underfoot. We inched up towards the cairn in poor visibility, tough going underfoot. I'd brought my snowshoes today, Allison had chosen to leave hers behind. We continued along to Molls Cleuch Dod, the going becoming easier on firmer snow with deep drifts burying the fence in places. On to Donald's Cleuch Head then a deviation to Great Hill and back, with a stop for lunch down from Firthhope Rig. From here we had to contour round White Coomb to Gupe Criag and the final Top of Carrifrans Gans - there and back took and hour. Noticed a collapsed cornice avalanche on Hart Fell. Back along by Donald's Cleuch Head and onwards to Lochcraig Head. The day had brightened up nicely, blue skies instead of clag, always welcome.

Steeply up Carlavin Hill
ImageDSC00666 by Al, on Flickr

Talla Reservoir
ImageDSC00667 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00669 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00670 by Al, on Flickr

Summit of Great Hill
ImageDSC00671 by Al, on Flickr

Round White Coomb
ImageDSC00672 by Al, on Flickr

Carrifrans Gans
ImageDSC00673 by Al, on Flickr

Hartfell - avalanche evidence
ImageDSC00675 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00676 by Al, on Flickr

Carrifrans Gans
ImageDSC00677 by Al, on Flickr

Another view of avalanche debris
ImageDSC00678 by Al, on Flickr

Clearing up - view to Donald's Cleuch Head
ImageDSC00679 by Al, on Flickr

Towards Loch Skeen
ImageDSC00680 by Al, on Flickr

Up to Lochcraig Head
ImageDSC00681 by Al, on Flickr

From here it was down over Nickies Knowe towards the road - Allison falling over in the boggy lower section and getting a wet bum :lol: When we reached the road there were 3 guys from Borders SAR who had been called out with a story of a family car going off the road further along - asked if we'd seen anything. They'd not been able to get their Defender up the hill (which made me feel a bit better about my efforts the evening before). We walked back along the road and saw a collection of Mountain Rescue folk at the foot of the hill. Soon the helicopter came over - don't know the outcome of thier search. We had thought of camping in the same place as last night, especially since the wind had dropped, but it was a little busy :lol: Instead we drove about a bit looking for a suitable spot before settling on a nice level grassy pitch at the north end of the Talla Reservoir where we spent a quiet night.

Talla again
ImageDSC00682 by Al, on Flickr

Snowy road
ImageDSC00683 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00684 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00686 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00688 by Al, on Flickr

hunttab2.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Sunday - Taberon Law and Hunt Law were on the menu today. These are outliers of the Drumelzier and Dollar Law circuits respectively and the latter I remember as being quite a slog. I saw they were easy to combine from an approach along the Stanhope burn, reached by walking along a private road from the A701.We parked up in a layby north of the bridge across the Tweed and walked through the estate buildings with quirky metal sculptures, past signs pointing the walkers' right of way. Then onto a firm track that led us to the shoulder of taberon Law, where a helpful bulldozed track went all the way to the summit. There was one of those foul crow traps with one incarcerated occupant - I didn't free it though felt bad about that. Allison was a bit breathless at the top - the cough/cold that's been plaguing her all week not liking the claggy air and steep ascent. I wondered if she was fit to go on, but she insisted she was.

ImageDSC00690 by Al, on Flickr

Up the shoulder of Taberon Law
ImageDSC00692 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00693 by Al, on Flickr

Steeply down by some gross butts towards a narrow footbridge over the burn then up another ATV track, again passing gross butts to the summit of Hunt Law. The eigth of her Donald Tops claimed. We retraced our steps and wandered back along the track, drove back to Glasgow and had time for a wee wander there, sampling a new cafe on Great Western Road (V&V's) where we had coffee and cake but noted their fab menu including Pakora Toasties!! Then a bit more walking and a fine Chinese style repast in the Hug and Pint.

Hunt Law
ImageDSC00694 by Al, on Flickr

Walking the plank
ImageDSC00695 by Al, on Flickr

Hunt Law
ImageDSC00696 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00697 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00698 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00700 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00701 by Al, on Flickr

great4.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

User avatar
Hill Bagger
Posts: 1897
Munros:214   Corbetts:44
Grahams:76   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:353   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

1 person thinks this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Walkhighlands community forum is advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?

Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Csnixon, pigeon and 64 guests