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Glen Afton revisited

Glen Afton revisited


Postby iainR » Sat May 12, 2018 9:25 pm

Grahams included on this walk: Blackcraig Hill

Donalds included on this walk: Blackcraig Hill, Blacklorg Hill

Date walked: 12/05/2018

Time taken: 4.5 hours

Distance: 12.9 km

Ascent: 722m

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My first foray into Glen Afton was back in summer 2016 when i climbed Windy Standard from there. Back then the approach to the hill was ruined due to tree felling operations and wind turbines as well as construction traffic. Forward a couple of years and i found the area covered in turbines with even more traffic, but this time the hills on the side of the Afton Reservoir where i was heading were turbine free.
My target hills for today were Blackcraig Hill and Blacklorg Hill, a Graham and a Donald with a couple of minor tops, Craigbraneoch Hill and Cannock Hill.
Once again i began at the car park near the Afton Water Works but this time i headed straight for the dam at the head of the reservoir. Walking along the top of the dam to its eastern side i entered a small wooded area and quickly found myself on the open hillside going straight up Craigbraneoch Hill. The going here was very steep and very wet with tussock grass all around but at least the sun was out and 30 minutes later i was on the hilltop where i noticed a marker post and an ATV track which i more or less followed all the way over the 3 remaining hills. It was here that i got my first real view of Blackcraig and Blacklorg so i wouldn't get lost !
The walk to Cannock Hill was quick with the track keeping me clear of the tussocks and going up the hillside was mostly dry giving me hope for the rest of the day.
1 Glen Afton parking area__.jpg
Glen Afton car park

2 The foot of the dam__.jpg
The foot of the dam

3 Afton Reservoir__.jpg
Afton Reservoir

4 The horror__.jpg
The horror....

5 Blackcraig from Craigbraneoch__.jpg
Blackcraig from Craigbraneoch

The view from Cannock Hill gave me a good look at Windy Standard and the sheer amount of turbines in the area and got me thinking about the hills i was walking on today and would they fall victim to the wind farmers next ?
A chocolate bar later and i was off to Blacklorg Hill at a quick pace using the same track which now followed a fence line up the hill.
6 Summit of Cannock Hill__.jpg
Summit of Cannock Hill

7 Windy Standard somewhere__.jpg
Windy Standard

8 Summit of Blacklorg Hill__.jpg
Summit of Blacklorg Hill

The view from Blacklorg Hill gave me a proper look at my route up Blackcraig and while straightforward enough things also looked rough and with that in mind i started down the obvious path past another marker post which strayed a good bit west from the fence line between both hills.
The col between Blacklorg and Blackcraig was rough with a real mixture of tussocks, peat hags and bogs but staying well west of the fence kept me out of the worst of the mess and the going rapidly improved as i began the steep ascent of Blackcraig.
9 Towards Blackcraig__.jpg
Towards Blackcraig Hill

10 Looking back at Blacklorg__.jpg
Looking back at Blacklorg Hill

On reaching the summit area of Blackcraig Hill i was amazed at how rock-strewn it was. I made for the trig pillar but had to wonder which of the numerous cairns that were scattered everywhere marked the true summit so after lunch i wandered around taking in some cairns and the fanastic views which included a lot of my Southern Upland regulars as well as the sea with Arran and Ailsa Craig in the distance.
All too soon it was time to leave and i reluctantly headed across to the fence line and walked north towards the path junction at Quintin Knowe where i turned left (west) and struggled along an exceptionally wet and boggy path which eventually led to Blackcraig Farm and the Glen Afton road.
11 Trig pillar on Blackcraig Hill__.jpg
Trig pillar on Blackcraig Hill

12 More cairns on Blackcraig__.jpg
More cairns on Blackcraig

13 The way down__.jpg
The way down

14 View above Blackcraig Farm__.jpg
View above Blackcraig Farm

On reaching my car i reflected on a great little hill circuit which might be on borrowed time if the wind farmers get their way.
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iainR
Walker
 
Posts: 66
Munros:49   Corbetts:27
Grahams:23   Donalds:56
Sub 2000:21   
Joined: Sep 8, 2015
Location: Hamilton

Re: Glen Afton revisited

Postby Robertgee » Tue May 15, 2018 12:14 pm

Hoping to do these hills soon, but in opposite direction from you. Would also like to include Alhang, so missing Craigbraneoch Hill, do you think this would be achievable in a day walk? From Alhang, what would be the best way back? I was thinking of heading to Millaneoch Hill and Wedder Hill, then Lamb Hill, but expect this is where the wind farm construction is being carried out. So would it be best to drop down to the reservoir and return from there? Thanks.
Robertgee
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 36
Munros:102   Corbetts:37
Grahams:32   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:92   Hewitts:34
Wainwrights:33   Islands:60
Joined: Dec 5, 2015

Re: Glen Afton revisited

Postby iainR » Tue May 15, 2018 7:25 pm

According to the SMC Graham and Donald guide the entire Afton circuit including Windy Standard and Alhang could be done in 7 hours omitting the pair of minor tops i did therefore Alhang along with part of my circuit might be 6 hours or so. To return down to the reservoir would be extremely boggy unless you found a track so i would be inclined to head for Millaneoch Hill and Lamb Hill then from there go straight for the reservoir where you'll pick up a forestry road running parallel with it. That particular stretch of road looked very quiet on Saturday as the construction work looked to be concentrated on Black Hill. Hope this helped you out, good luck.
User avatar
iainR
Walker
 
Posts: 66
Munros:49   Corbetts:27
Grahams:23   Donalds:56
Sub 2000:21   
Joined: Sep 8, 2015
Location: Hamilton

Re: Glen Afton revisited

Postby Robertgee » Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:31 pm

Thanks for the info Iain, had an excellent day on the hills on Wednesday. Posted trip report here https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=81162
Robertgee
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 36
Munros:102   Corbetts:37
Grahams:32   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:92   Hewitts:34
Wainwrights:33   Islands:60
Joined: Dec 5, 2015

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