My first visit to these hills was a couple of years ago when due to time constraints i only bagged Pykestone Hill and its closest neighbour The Scrape, this time i had my mind set on the whole circuit.
Making an earlyish start i drove down the M74 where i noticed a lot of low cloud over the hills around the Abington area with clag covering the tops of the Lowthers, Tinto and Culter Fell.
When i eventually pulled into the tiny village of Drumelzier the hills there were miraculously clear so after leaving the car at The Old Mill i set off at a quick pace along the main path to Pykestone Hill where a cool breeze kept the worst of the insect life at bay. The path surface goes from gravel to grass then gravel again before an obvious grassy path breaks off from the main gravel track and heads up to the summit which is topped by a trig pillar and a small field of pointy stones which i'm guessing the hill is named after. The views from Pykestone during my last visit were great with the hills above Peebles being a highlight but not today with the persistent low cloud.
The route to the next Donald, Middle Hill, is straightforward with a good old Southern Uplands fence leading the way over the usual bogs and peat hags which given the extended dry spell were not a problem. Soon a fence junction is reached with the fence line on the right leading up to Middle Hill. It was here that i noticed the temperature dropping and the clag rolling in over the neighbouring hill of Dollar Law, quickening my pace i soon reached the summit area of Middle Hill where after a glimpse of my next Donald, Drumelzier Law, the clag swiftly covered everything and reduced visibility to about 20 metres. Luckily i found the path leading away from the fence line towards my target hill and soon the large cairn on Glenstivon Dod appeared out of the gloom. Since a strong wind had picked up i decided to have lunch at the cairn and wait until the clag thinned out which 20 minutes later it thankfully did giving me the chance to press on to Drumelzier Law and my final Donald of the day.
The views from the summit were spoiled by the low cloud which took a long time to shift from Middle Hill and Pykestone but eventually it did towards the end of my walk which is a usual occurrence with me.
The route back to the start is again very straightforward with a narrow path leading down the northwest ridge of Drumelzier Law where it curves east at Finglen Rig and links up with the main path along the valley floor.
When done under clear skies i believe this would be a great Borders hill round though sadly not today, but given the summer so far i can't really complain.
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.