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The Ettrick Hills Part 2

The Ettrick Hills Part 2

Postby iainR » Fri Jun 28, 2019 8:27 pm

Route description: Ettrick Hills horseshoe

Grahams included on this walk: Capel Fell, Ettrick Pen

Donalds included on this walk: Capel Fell, Ettrick Pen, Loch Fell, Wind Fell

Date walked: 28/06/2019

Time taken: 4.5 hours

Distance: 15.7 km

Ascent: 824m

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My previous visit to this group was in April last year when i walked the ridge from Herman Law to Bodesbeck Law and back having parked at Birkhill off the A708. I had originally planned to revisit the area later that year but several other hillwalking opportunities in the north took priority and i just put the remaining Ettricks on the back burner. This weeks clear blue skies made the long drive to Ettrick and up the single lane valley road to Potburn worth the effort. My target hills for the day were Ettrick Pen, Wind Fell, Loch Fell and Capel Fell. To add Croft Head would've meant a far longer and more grueling day in the sun and heat therefore i decided to keep it simple, besides i could always climb Croft Head from close to Moffat at a later date.
Parking near Potburn i noticed tree felling operations in progress on Pot Law complete with logging trucks which was an unwelcome sight for the long single lane drive out of the valley. Leaving the car just after 9am the morning temperatures were beginning to rise but a welcome breeze blowing down off the hills kept me cool and i set a good pace going past the Over Phawhope Bothy and up the forest track towards the open hillside. I reached the Ettrick Pen summit cairn in just under an hour and gazed along the ridge towards my next objective, Wind Fell.
1 Parking area__.jpg
Parking area

2 The walk begins__.jpg
The walk begins

3 Over Phawhope Bothy__.jpg
Over Phawhope Bothy

4 Left track to Ettrick Pen__.jpg
Left track to Ettrick Pen

5 Summit of Ettrick Pen__.jpg
Summit of Ettrick Pen

6 Remainder of my target hills__.jpg
Remainder of my target hills

On Ettrick Pen the breeze had turned into a light wind which was perfect to walk in and the journey to Wind Fell took less than an hour despite a large boggy section. The descent to the col at Loch Fell was the usual Southern Uplands experience, follow the fence down, cross a bog then follow the fence up the other side. The ascent of Loch Fell temporarily sheltered me from the wind and the very second that happened the local insect life came out to play with a vengeance, clouds of flies everywhere and over everything !
I reached the Loch Fell trig pillar about an hour after leaving Wind Fell and thankfully the wind returned to banish the flies allowing me to eat and take in the superb views of Galloway including Criffel and a hazy Solway Firth.
7 Summit of Wind Fell__.jpg
Summit of Wind Fell

8 Loch Fell from Wind Fell__.jpg
Loch Fell from Wind Fell

9 Back towards Ettrick Pen__.jpg
Back towards Ettrick Pen

10 Summit of Loch Fell__.jpg
Summit of Loch Fell

The walk down the hillside to Capel Fell was uneventful except for the flies and the bogs at the bottom of the hill which were extensive and still wet. The ascent was a bit of a slog due to the sun beating down and lack of wind but it was straightforward enough and the wind returned once i was near the summit which looked unmarked except for the remains of a rotting fence post lying a few meters from the main hill fence, i checked the app on my phone and i was definitely at the summit. The views from here were great as i got a better look at my ridge walk from last year as well as a few of the Moffat Hills, i also looked across at Croft Head with the steep ascent involved and was really glad i wasn't going there !
11 Towards Capel Fell__.jpg
Towards Capel Fell

12 Looking down Capel Fell__.jpg
Looking down Capel Fell

13 Summit of Capel Fell__.jpg
Summit of Capel Fell

14 View of Croft Head__.jpg
View of Croft Head

15 View of Saddle Yoke__.jpg
View of Saddle Yoke

16 View of last years exploits__.jpg
View of last years exploits

The return journey required joining the Southern Upland Way at Ettrick Head where the forestry gave a bit of respite from the sun but not the heat as it was stifling in there. All too soon i was back at my car after another fantastic day on these hills and not regretting the Croft Head omission at all !
17 Towards Ettrick Head__.jpg
Towards Ettrick Head

18 Track back to Over Phawhope__.jpg
Track back to Over Phawhope

P.S. No logging trucks encountered on the drive out.

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Posts: 52
Munros:41   Corbetts:22
Grahams:21   Donalds:52
Sub 2000:18   
Joined: Sep 8, 2015
Location: Hamilton

Re: The Ettrick Hills Part 2

Postby iangpark » Fri Jun 28, 2019 9:32 pm

Good to see these hills come up again so soon - and a sensible decision omitting Croft Head. I'd totally forgotten to mention the forestry going on near OP in my report; hopefully it'll be finished up soon. Belter day you got for it too - not a cloud about! I missed the fencepost on Capel Fell so it'll need a revisit, along with Mid Rig and Trowgrain Middle - your report a good excuse to get back post-haste.
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Location: Greenock

Re: The Ettrick Hills Part 2

Postby iainR » Fri Jun 28, 2019 9:52 pm

Thanks mate, i got a couple of pointers from your Ettrick epic which helped me decided to omit Croft Head !
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Posts: 52
Munros:41   Corbetts:22
Grahams:21   Donalds:52
Sub 2000:18   
Joined: Sep 8, 2015
Location: Hamilton

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