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Dundreich - On The Buses

PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 4:19 pm
by thepigguy

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According to the SMC Grahams and Donalds book, while compiling his list of Lowland hills over 2,000ft in 1932 Percy Donald climbed the lot (hills and tops) in the space of five months, wearing his kilt and using public transport to get about.

Given the sub-zero temperatures in the Borders I left the kilt at home, but - with a nod to Percy - I caught the 07.50 Saturday morning bus from Edinburgh to Eddleston to tackle my first Donald. The Moorfoots seem to have a poor reputation, but this walk was an absolute cracker.

Plenty of seats free on the X62

About an hour later I got off outside the Horseshoe Inn and - after one wrong turning :shock: - walked up to the church.

Eddleston kirk

Then it was a case of following the track to a gate that takes you out of the village into open fields and the first of some beautiful snow-covered scenes.

Lane from Eddleston kirk, leading out of the village

Breakfast time

Looking towards the Pentland Hills

Heading across to the far corner of the field, it was easy to follow the track and then road to Boreland Farm, heading around to the back of the farm buildings, then across a burn and then a stile into a field which today had a bull in it, but he was happily getting stuck into his morning hay and his day was clearly not going to be improved by harrassing a lone walker.

Ignoring the farm track through the middle of the field, I aimed to the gate in the top corner by the strip of forestry.

Heading towards Boreland Farm. The way onto the hillside is in the corner of the field by the trees on the right.

Looking back at Boreland Farm from the strip of forestry

Going through two more gates I got to the north side of the trees and headed directly up to the top of Milky Law. This was a fair effort as it's fairly steep and the snow disguised any number of tufts and bumps, but it's a short climb and in a few minutes I was at the top.

There's an obvious path to the top of Brown Dod, but that looked very steep and I reckoned it might be icy, so I hopped (ok, I struggled) over the stone wall and followed that and the stock fence alongside it to the track which curls around to the east.

Brown Dod from Milky Law. The choice of paths is clear.

The track was better than expected and speeded me up a little on what was otherwise a fairly slow walk, although I stopped many, many times to enjoy the views south to the Dun Rig horseshoe, Dollar Law and over to Culter Fell and Tinto - all to be climbed this year, bus timetable permitting. Even poor old Bowbeat Hill with its forest of turbines looked reasonably attractive in the snow.

Looking south towards the Borders

As I reached the east side of Brown Dod and got a first proper look at the summit of Dundreich, the track seemed to peter out. A brief attempt to head straight to the top of Dundreich was abandoned because the snow was hiding a variety of annoying obstacles, so I picked up another ATV track to the top of Brown Dod and from there the way to Dundreich was obvious and a straightforward walk.

Dundreich from the top of Brown Dod

There were great views all round from Dundreich, but after being on the south side of the hill on the way up, the sharp north wind forced an extra jumper out of the rucksack and I ditched my original plan to head down to Portmore Loch and then round to catch the bus a couple of miles north of Eddleston.

Dundreich summit, looking south

Blackhope Scar from Dundreich

Heading back towards Brown Dod, about halfway I was tempted by an ATV track going west over a spur which provided an enjoyable few minutes before it got very steep and needed considerable care to get to the bottom where I rejoined the farm track back to Boreland.

Hurrying to make it back in time for the 12.30 bus to Edinburgh, I got careless and hit a snow-covered patch of ice on the track, my right leg shooting away in front of me and my whole weight going down on my left. Lying on my back muttering "I'm all right, I'm all right. Am I all right?", I had to roll off the ice to the side of the track and then scrambled to my feet, deciding to forget the 12.30 and sit down for a drink and biscuit. I definitely don't bounce like I used to.

By the time I headed past the farm and down to the edge of the village the dog walkers were out, several dogs coming over to make friends as I reached the gate. As I strolled down to just miss the 1pm bus, my knee aching just a little, I would have been wagging my tail - what a great way to start the Donalds.

The way down

Re: Dundreich - On The Buses

PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:54 pm
by iangpark
Congrats on the your first Donald - looked a wonderful day for it. I am still to do these hills so will keep the report in mind!

Re: Dundreich - On The Buses

PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:44 am
by thepigguy
Thanks. My son and daughter stay in Edinburgh so I'm looking forward to getting on with some more Donalds this year. I'm not put off by stories of bogs as I stay in Orkney where the hills get wetter the higher you climb!