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This time Plan B - back to Galloway

This time Plan B - back to Galloway


Postby PeteR » Sun Feb 03, 2019 3:29 pm

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Bengray, Woodhead Hill

Date walked: 27/01/2019

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If my previous walk was Plan C, this walk saw me only having to revert to Plan B :lol:

The weekend forecast (well, the Sunday when I was out) was a bit frustrating. Clear blue skies and planty of sun, but with the added bonus of "knock-your-block-off" wind speeds. I love a good walk, but do prefer if I can keep my head attached to my shoulders, so any idea of heading north was off the cards.

I'd opted instead for a couple of sub 2000s, with Plan A being two from the A7 - Pikethaw Hill and Wisp Hill. I suffered from a common bout of "cant-get-out-of-bed-itus", so knew I'd be knocking that idea on the head. After much faffing I eventually decided on Woodhead Hill. If time permitted I'd then have a go at Bengray, which I had run out of time to bag when out late last year.

I had had it in my head that Woodhead Hill was something of a tree bashing exercise, so while I was needing to bag it I wasn't overly enthusiastic. Well, I got it wrong.....so wrong. Ok, so the summit might be a mess, but the actual walk, short though it was, was actually a pleasure. Just goes to show how wrong you can be.

Woodhead Hill does come with a slight health warning.........signs were about suggesting that the say after my visit the woodcutters were coming to cut some wood. Based on my experince of the aftermarth of woodcutters cutting the hill could well be a mess........if the summit is anything to go by, it will be a mess. Once it's settled down though I'd like to hope it reverts back to a great little hill to visit

Anyhoo, less of the rambling on.

Given my faffing it was a later start than I'd wanted. I had set the sat nav for Lochanhead, although wasn't sure about parking when I got there. A few hundred yards past the Woodhead turning there are laybys either side of the busy AA711. Rather than block entrances, etc. I parked up in one of these and got myself ready.

ImageP1060321 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
Photo taken when vehicles weren't blasting pastj

The short walk back along the road was probably the worstof the walk, having to dive off the road as cars, vans and lorries came shoorting past. To my right was a herd of cattle, happily wallowing in their "do-ings". I almost started a stampede as I stopped to take a phot, seemingly spooking them from above.

ImageP1060322 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
Stampede just about to kick off

ImageP1060323 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
Had to employ the "Tufty Code" as I arrived at the track off to Woodhead.

My route took the substantial landrover track up past Lochaber Cottage to a fork, where I took the left fork.

ImageP1060333 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
Fork left

I then followed this track to NX926705, where I then left the main track and took the probablt Mountain bike track heading in to the trees.

ImageP1060335 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
Smashing little track to follow in to the trees. Nice, easy goingyy

I followed this track to about NX924711, where a track headed off in to the trees. This made easy walking all the way to the summit plateau, although as mentioned that is a mess and care is needed on gaining the cairn not to break a limb in all the brashings you have to negotiate.

ImageP1060340 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
The start of the track heading in to the trees

ImageP1060345 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
I needed to negotiate a slight detour round one fallen tree, but otherwise it's a lovely little forest walk, gaining height ahead of reaching the open hillside

ImageP1060346 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
The track continues on the open hillside, with the summit just a short distance away

ImageP1060348 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
A niice view toward Criffel - another great walk, if a little boggy at the top

ImageP1060357 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
The summit........it's a bit of a mess

ImageP1060358 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
Summit cairn

ImageP1060365 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
Beyond Criffel views from the summit were limited, although this could all change once the woodcutters have finished woodcutting of course

I'd expected the summit to be quite windy, but perhaps because of the trees still in situ it wasn't particularly that bad. Didn't hang around too much though, as a result of the somewhat restricted views. Rather than simply retrace my steps I decided to mix it up a bit and head off down another track, which was headed north(ish) and see where it went..........

An excellent choice I must say.

ImageP1060366 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
The track initially dropped down through the trees......i imagine this is one for the Mountain bikers to use

ImageP1060370 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
Dumfries

I eventually piked up a mountainbike track marked on the map and decided to follow that...........only inconvenienced a couple of them at one point later on

ImageP1060373 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
The Bealach Na Ba of Dumfries and Galloway

ImageP1060377 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
Picked up the main track eventually and headed back to the car. If the summit hadn't been as windy as I'd expected then the section just passed this gate by the quarry was certainly breezy. The area must act as a funnel, as it was hitting me with quite a blast

Back at the main road and it was a case of carefully negotiating the short walk back to the car, before heading off to tackle Bengray late in the winter's afternoon.


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In a way my tackling of Bengray was a bit bonkers. Light was already fading a bit when I was parking up. It would definitely be dark when I arrived back at my car.

On a previous trip last year to tackle the nearby Whitetop of Culreoch I'd noticed a sizeable (in more ways than one) herd of cattle roaming around in the area I was thinking my car might need parked to do Bengray..........this was concerning. Help is at hand, for those like me who are happy to add a mile to the route, in the form of a parking area for a viewpoint at NX607598just over the cattle grid (approaching from Gatehouse of Fleet).

ImageP1060385 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
Signs of the sun going down as I set off on my way

ImageP1060386 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
My roadside route from the parking area

Now it's confession time. This had been a bit of a "should I or shouldn't I" decision to bag this one. Although I had a route downloaded I conspired from the off to not really follow it. Before I reached the track at Laghead I simply decided to head over the open countryside, following an ATV track of sorts.

I never quite made it on to Benfadyeon, so didn't follow that part of the ridge to the sub 2000 summit. Instead I sort of skirted round it, making a vague rising traverse to the saddle between the two. Thankfully the area is well stocked with ATV tracks and animal tods, making the tramp a bit easier.

ImageP1060389 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
Oh I do like a tree

ImageP1060390 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
Climbed the gate, with it's electric fence across it.......seems the farmer needs to stick 50p in the meter, as it wasn't working

ImageP1060392 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
Heading vaguely in this sort of direction

ImageP1060397 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
My rising traverse

ImageP1060399 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
Still some nice views in the fading light

ImageP1060403 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
My target coming in to view

ImageP1060404 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
It looked like a bit of a drop down and then slog back up to bag the hill........thankfully there is a good ATV track that can be followedy

That said, I didn't follow it all the time, as it seemed to meander and the last thing I wanted was to find myself heading off away from my target.

ImageP1060410 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
There were a few ups and downs along the way, but progress to the top (or close to it) wasn't difficult

ImageP1060415 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
Still not too bad, as the light held out a while longer than I'd expected

ImageP1060420 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
Wigtown Bay

ImageP1060425 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
The final ection to the actual top is a bit of a bugger. I had to scale this fence, which had barbed wire on the top.........me and barbed wire don't get on, as the chilhood scar on my left leg can testify. If I'd gone a little to the left they haven't actually completed the barbing, so it can be scalled without risk to your vitals

From the other side of the fence it was then a slog over heather to finally arrive at the trig. By then light was being lost fast, so no summit views to speak of

ImageP1060428 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
Summit trig

ImageP1060430 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
Perhaps looks darker than it was

Keeping up the theme of not following my planned route, I had decided on the way up to vary by descent. Rather than retrace my steps I thought it would be a good idea to follow the line of trees down Dalmalin Hill and then follow the fence lines back down to the road. Now, in good light that might be a reasonable alternative..........but by the time I was a short way down it was basically dark. A voyage of discover in a 6 foot radius (or however far the beam from my head torch reaches).

Vaguely, via walls (all of which were pretty substantial and not ideal for climbing over in the dark), gates and gaps in the walls I was making my way toward High Creoch. Thanks has to be given to the flock of sheep I was annoying, as they kept running away through the gates and gaps in the wall, thus making my traipse in the dark significantly easier for me.

It looked like the inhabitants at High Creoch were home as I diverted in to the sheep and cows toilet (sorry, field) beside their abode. Goodness only knows what they must have though of this beam of light sliping and sliding past their house in the darkness, had they looked out their window.

Eventually I was passed the house and out of the field on to the driveway and then eventually the minor road and the short walk back to the car. Despite the apparent desire not to pay any head to the route I had planned and the sometimes less than pleasant descent back to the road it had actually been a really enjoyable last minute add on to the afternoon. Defintely glad I did it.


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User avatar
PeteR
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 2048
Munros:282   Corbetts:158
Grahams:89   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:176   Hewitts:3
Islands:9
Joined: Jan 27, 2010
Location: North Ayrshire

Re: This time Plan B - back to Galloway

Postby Fife Flyer » Sun Feb 03, 2019 10:14 pm

You really are daft at times Pete and if truth be known I would probably have done the same thing!!

Great and informative report as usual.
User avatar
Fife Flyer
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 2379
Munros:195   Corbetts:41
Grahams:16   Donalds:20
Sub 2000:120   Hewitts:2
Islands:5
Joined: May 15, 2013
Location: Guess?

Re: This time Plan B - back to Galloway

Postby PeteR » Mon Feb 04, 2019 1:12 pm

Fife Flyer wrote:You really are daft at times Pete and if truth be known I would probably have done the same thing!!

Great and informative report as usual.


:lol: It's all part of the experience Martin. I do have a bit of "form" in altering descent routes on the day or part way through a walk.

The biggest risk on the Bengray descent was the sheep and cows toilets I had to slip and slide through to be honest. Other than that it wasn't too bad
User avatar
PeteR
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 2048
Munros:282   Corbetts:158
Grahams:89   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:176   Hewitts:3
Islands:9
Joined: Jan 27, 2010
Location: North Ayrshire

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