A quick trip planned with very little notice - easy to choose the hills, not so easy to avoid the blistering heat.
Thursday 28th June
Brown Carrick Hill : 3.71km, 102m ascent.
Parked at the start of the track to the masts NS 297165
A nice easy stroll to the masts then hide/seek to the summit trig in order to avoid some curious cattle (felt very exposed - but took me back to childhood days, playing native American Indians stalking buffalo). Must be a superb view but far too much haze today - could only just make out Ailsa Craig!
Beneraid : 9.76km, 316m ascent
Parked at the end of the public road (Lemon Glen road) at NX112813. A wide grassy verge, even under the trees for some shade - but still tucked the wing mirrors in, very aware of passing farm traffic moving silage.
This walk became a bit of an ordeal - absolutely no wind and temperature seemed to be rising all the time. Ground baked rock hard. Easy route following the Stinchar Road, as described in other WH reports.
I had hoped to go onto Grey Hill after this but after a close shave (REALLY CLOSE) with 4 massive farm machines on the Lemon Glen road, I wasn't too impressed with parking opportunities on the small road (along the Water of Lendal) on the east side of the hill so decided to leave it for the following day.
Friday 29th June
Grey Hill : 5.1km, 287m ascent
I hadn't brought a paper map for the west side of the hill so the phone app, Backcountry Navigator, really came into its own with full 1:25000 coverage. Excellent.
Found a good layby (NX 153935) on the coast road and followed the track up to the masts and farm ruin before heading northeast up the track extension. A really enjoyable walk, easy going to the summit. Again too hazy for good views.
Nearly blown off the summit by 3 Tornados sweeping across the hill.
I would have loved to have had time to explore the geology of this area, absolutely fascinating. The track to the masts passes some clear fault lines (this is after all the line - or one of them- of the Southern Uplands Fault) but there is also a unique geological assemblage of tumbled rocks at the seashore by Lendalfoot, easily seen from the road and much more of geological interest at Girvan.
Craigenreoch : 4.38km, 195m ascent
From Girvan and then Barr, a spectacular road leads south east through the Nick of the Balloch and there is a good parking spot (NX 350923) near the cattle grid at the edge of the forest. Then up the slope to the never-ending fence line. Again, no breeze and baking hot. Even the sphagnum had dried out completely and just showed white on the grassy hillside. The heat, the flies (especially near the trees) but no drums - just the repeated blasts from the quarry (granite?) over to the south east.
I had intended to take in another couple of Sub 2Ks, but with the temperature now at 27 degrees and road tarmac melting, heading home to rehydrate with a couple of lagers seemed a more attractive idea.
Many thanks to other WH contributors who have posted full reports on these hills with much better photos - I almost feel I could have used just one photo for all four hills - the trig point backed by blue cloudless sky. No apologies - these photos will keep me going on grey misty days!
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