Hill of Mi-Stake
by Jaxter » Tue May 28, 2019 2:20 pm
Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Hill of Stake
Date walked: 26/05/2019
Time taken: 6 hours
Distance: 23.27 km
Ascent: 950m8 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
We caught the train to Lochwinnoch – when we arrived it was spotting with rain, a bit blustery and decidedly chilly. The weather was set to improve so we headed off….
It was an easy walk along the main road for a short distance. We had to watch out for otters….
I jokingly commented that this must be Loch Winnoch. Turns out it’s actually not – there appears not to be a Loch Winnoch at all and this is the entrance to Castle Semple Loch…
We followed roads steadily uphill through short spells of drizzle but nothing that required a waterproof. There were even sunny moments which obviously coincided with the steep uphill sections
Finally we were at the end of the road and onto the track – it wasn’t obvious, initially very grassy and indistinct. We were also out of the shelter of the trees and it was getting windy.
The outskirts of Lochwinnoch
The grass was damp but short and easy to walk on here; before long we could see back down to Castle Semple Loch
Our first objective was Misty Law - a hill of 510 metres, only 12 shorter than Hill of Stake itself, although it’s main claim to fame is that it shares its name with a porn star
This difference in height sparked a discussion about percentages which proved two things - firstly that it wasn't necessary to understand maths to be an engineer and secondly that it was going to be a really long afternoon
“Is that Misty Law there?” I asked…. Malcy laughed in my face This had been Malcy's idea and I clearly hadn't quite grasped the distances involved
Although we were on a track, it was pretty squishy underfoot and we regularly had to divert past large puddles as big as small lochans which were blocking the way. But it was generally sunny and the views were nice despite the wind making walking in a straight line difficult. Malcy being slightly heavier (those two pork pies he ate on the way made all the difference) was having a marginally easier time of it
Still smiling…for now…
It had been blustery at the station but as we climbed higher out onto the moor the wind became stronger and stronger and soon we were getting blown around all over the place – I was starting to wonder if I ought to have been more insistent about not walking against the wind in our linear walk “We’ll get nice evening views out to Arran” Malcy had said….
We rounded several more corners… “that could be Misty Law” Malcy said. “What?” “What?” “What?” at which point we gave up on conversation as it was far too windy
Looking back – amazing how benign the weather looks here, as it was I was holding onto my hat and being knocked sideways by the wind
Plodding on – uphill isn’t too hard until you’re trying to do it into 50mph winds
Finally at Misty Law the track disappeared and we climbed the final few steep metres onto the summit, marked by a small cairn and were hit by enough wind to get knocked over, although more amusingly Malcy’s hair was getting blown around so much he looked like he’d been electrocuted
Blowing in the wind…
We dropped immediately off the summit before making a mess of climbing a barbed wire fence and attempting to drop out of the wind enough to check the map – I wasn’t keen on going the wrong way
Hill of Stake ahead – looks miles away - 2.5km in fact, across tussocks and pathless moorland
We picked our route before heading off, some of the time we followed a fence line which was helpful psychologically at least. It really didn’t feel like it as we tripped over tussocks and fell in bogs, but we were making progress…
Across to Bute
Hill of Stake – the summit was a nice viewpoint but we weren’t able to enjoy it. This isn’t Malcy’s happy face…
I decided the trig point needed a good kick…but not surprisingly having a sore foot didn’t really help anything
We just needed out of there, fast. So we spotted our glen and went for it, bashing through tussocks, heather and all manner of other sh*te
Once down from the summit itself the wind was slightly less awful, at least I was able to walk in a relatively straight line. But because we were staying low we had burns to cross, steep trenches we had to drop in and out of and bog and lumps of all sorts. It was slow going. This was turning into an endurance test…
I wasn’t feeling good and was completely exhausted and kept tripping over my own feet. It had been a long week and I wasn’t feeling great before we started…. I pretty much wanted to be anywhere but here!
We knew we were aiming for a bridge and every corner we hoped it might be the one….but it just wasn’t. The glen, although it was quite pretty with some lovely waterfalls and cliffy sections, went on forever, or so it seemed
We stopped for some calorie intake which helped for a short while, plus it meant we were close enough to each other to be able to have something of a conversation, not that either of us had anything nice to say to the other
Eventually I was so fed up of ups and downs on terrible ground I looked ahead and suggested heading up along a wall which looked easier to walk on - going over a big lump rather than around. As this whole walk was his idea in the first place Malcy didn’t really have a leg to stand on so we headed uphill (after crossing yet another hidden trench )
Although it was even windier up high we did get some views out towards Arran, although not quite the lovely evening views that were promised…
Then my hat blew off and I got really annoyed If only we’d gone the other way we would have had the wind behind us!!
Now up high we could see the wind turbine which we knew sat just above the bridge. And Great Cumbrae, which meant we were at least getting somewhere….
We still had some bashing through rubbish to do – so many tussocks and then a final insult – stinging nettles! Looking back up the glen looked so innocuous….
The dam – this was super welcome as it meant the path down to Largs had become a big wide hydro track that was easy to walk on – this meant that my feet were finally on level ground and facing the right direction
The bridge – we would have dropped off the hills down to here, but because of the wind had to escape to the glen
It was still a few miles from here into Largs, but at least we were on better ground and away from the worst of the wind. Everything was starting to feel better until we realised we were going to just miss a train. And then it started raining.
Fortunately the rain only lasted a few minutes and we decided that we could go to the pub for some food before the train home. We were still friends. All was well. Eventually
by Sgurr » Tue May 28, 2019 2:56 pm
by denfinella » Tue May 28, 2019 11:28 pm
Must admit, Hill of Stake isn't at the top of my list. Well done on surviving though!
by Jaxter » Thu May 30, 2019 2:22 pm
Sgurr wrote:Could have been worse.I'm sure I remember reading a report when somebody stood on some slightly lighter than normal green stuff on the Hill of Stake and disappeared up to his hips. As for Misty Law, I used to trawl another web-site round Xmas to see whose reports had the most readership for the site "Oscars". Unsurprisingly a report from Doogz about his week on Skye where he did all the Cuillin in almost sold rain usually topped the lists, but Misty Law was not far behind, on account of its....alter ego is the wrong concept, but you know what I mean.
Sounds like we got quite lucky up there then Yes - I think I've heard the same story as you about the er...alter ego
denfinella wrote:Everything can be solved by a Wetherspoons. Though grilled chicken instead of the buttermilk chicken in the burger? Controversial...
Must admit, Hill of Stake isn't at the top of my list. Well done on surviving though!
It was a difficult choice in the end, everything on the menu looked so good! I settled for that because it came with brie
by Raynor » Fri May 31, 2019 6:03 pm
by jmarkb » Fri May 31, 2019 6:30 pm
by Jaxter » Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:56 pm
Raynor wrote:That's an interesting route. I've been waiting seemingly forever for a decent dry spell to do this one. Can confirm the deadly bog. I used to fish queenside loch up there regularly and have been thigh deep a good few times
Yikes....sounds like we got off pretty lightly then!
jmarkb wrote:Enjoyed that. I climbed Hill of Stake once - emphasis on the once!
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