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Talla Donalds Day 1: A Bagging Bogathon

Talla Donalds Day 1: A Bagging Bogathon


Postby iangpark » Sun Sep 15, 2019 7:05 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Broad Law

Donalds included on this walk: Black Law, Broad Law, Cramalt Craig, Dollar Law, Greenside Law, Talla Cleuch Head

Date walked: 13/09/2019

Time taken: 11 hours

Distance: 37.25 km

Ascent: 2002m

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Date: 15/09/2019
Distance: 37.25km (43.6km incl. bike)
Ascent: 2002m (2327m incl. bike)

I'd had this route planned out (like most others) since March 2018 and it was set to be my longest ever day trip. Coupled with the fact that I was feeling the beginnings of a cold coming on after four days of solid hillwalking and that I got absolutely drenched at the Maiden Paps the day before, I wasn't exactly ecstatic at the thought of walking >30km. I was awake by 7am, had breakfast made by the lovely guest house host and began the fun drive through Yarrow to the Megget Stane by 9:05am after dropping the bike off at Glengaber. What a road!


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Although the air was still chilly, the sun was out and warming me up quickly. I got my hat out; unknowingly I'd be calibrating the temperature of my head every 5 minutes for the next three days. The ground was boggy but fortunately I had my wellingtons on (torture you may insist, but it was the best decision I made all day). The way up to the shepherd's cairns was shorter and more gradual than expected. I dropped the bag off there to nip over to Talla Cleuch Head.

Looking up Gameshope towards the 'morrow's hills:
1 - Looking up Gameshope towards tomorrows hills.jpg


Talla Cleuch Head:
2 - Talla Cleuch Head.jpg


As usual, the hill was much further away than it looked on the map. The massive deer fence that was up was good support for traversing the bogs and it didn't take too long to reach the summit, from which I quickly departed after checking for the correct summit feature. Once back at the bag, it was a massive and uneventful trod up to Broad Law, where I had just been beaten to by two other walkers. The views were spectacular but it was the coldest spot of the whole day, unsurprisingly, so I didn't sit for long.

The Eildons from three days prior - after seeing their outline on so many walks it was satisfying to see them this time:
3 - The Eildons from 3 days prior.jpg


Looking back to highest point in the Scottish Borders:
5 - Looking back to highest point in the borders.jpg


On my descent, I had no idea how shapely Broad Law was on its far side at Polmood Craig - it looked much like its twin The Merrick. Looking at the distance to the massive outlier of Hunt Law was draining in of itself.

Hunt Law a good 5km there and back (Taberon and Drumelzier Laws behind):
5 - The massive outlier of Hunt Law with Taberon Law and Drumelzier Law behind.jpg


There was a good ATV track that slowly descended towards the new-ish bulldozed track, but not one down the middle of Sherraside Rig itself. I dropped the bag at the new track and made my way up and back in 20 minutes or so; fresh ATV tracks, a red grouse and fresh shells indicated what the new path was likely for, if the hill's name already didn't.

Culter Fell, Tinto, Chapelgill Hill and Cardon Hill from Hunt Law:
7 - Culter Fell, Tinto, Chapelgill Hill and Cardon Hill.jpg


Broad Law from its better side:
8 - broad laws better side.jpg


It was again a very slow, long climb back to where I'd left off to begin the short but steep climb up Cramalt Craig. I took a teabreak and photo at the top and was on my way post-haste. I'd initially thought Dun Law was Fifescar Knowe, but a quick check on OS Maps put me right - this was probably the easiest bit of the day as it was just a big, flat, grassy field to traverse.

Cramalt Craig summit:
9 - cramalt craig summit.jpg


Would it still be a Donald if a Wheatear wasn't tagging along with you?:
10 - would it still be a donald walk if a wheatear wasnt joining you.jpg


I could see from Fifescar Knowe that Dollar Law had a big group on it - I counted 17. Other than Tinto, I'd never seen that many folk on a Donald. They were coming my way so said a few "hiya"s on my ascent.

Very un-Donald-like:
11 - second busiest donald.jpg


Dollar Law trig:
12 - dollar trig.jpg


I stopped quickly to get out of the wind behind the trig and began my descent onto the Thieve's Road, which the big group were now on.

Back to FK, CC and BL with a distant White Coomb in the background:
13 - back to fifescar knowe, cramalt craig, broad law and a distant white coomb.jpg


It was a pretty boggy trod along and up to Notman Law, but the summit itself was quite pleasant with good views. I spotted a harrowing sight of a sheep which had recently succumbed to the elements after getting its horns caught in the fence on the way down. Made for quite a silhouette but chose not to take a photograph.

Looking down Ugly Grain to Manorhead and the beginning of Manor Water; Blackhouse Heights above:
14 - looking down ugly grain into manorhead with blackhouse heights above.jpg


Notman Law top:
15 - notman law summit.jpg


Descent to Greenside Law (the name was obvious now) with some soil creep:
16 - descent to greenside law with soil creep.jpg


It was slidy and steep down to the base of the hill but not as deep as I'd expected. The way up Greenside Law wasn't quick though as I was starting to get pretty knackered by now. The summit was pleasantly obvious and I quickly got out the wind by entering into Foulbrig. The name could not have been more fitting: very unconsolidated terrain, immensely boggy, dodgy fence and very slow going. The saving grace was Bitch Craig which was nice and shapely.

Bitch Craig from Foulbrig (someone clearly doesn't like it here!):
17 - bitch craig from foulbrig - someone really hates it here.jpg


After miraculously making it across with dry feet, the ascent of Black Law loomed. This was far and away the hardest hill of the day terrain-wise. Almost every step required a good deal of thought as wet feet now meant wet feet for the next two days. Fortunately I made it after what felt like an hour to the W top, apparently the true top.

Conscleuch Head and Deer Law from Black Law W Top:
19 - consceluch head and deer law.jpg


The Cheviot from two days prior:
18 - the cheviot from 2 days prior.jpg


My struggle was not over however as I now had to get across to Blackhouse Heights, what I believe to be the most remote Donald of them all. Even from the angle I was coming from (the fastest way) it was still almost an hour there and back. There was unbearable old peat cuttings to walk along which couldn't be walked along or in-between on the way over to the E top, but there was a decent sheep path down to the saddle, where it was an easy climb back up.

Both Black Law tops from Blackhouse Heights:
20 - black law from the remotest donald.jpg


Now that I was on the home straight, I began to speed up a bit. After the 25-30 minutes back to the bag, the long descent to Conscleuch Head began, which was rather sore on my crushed feet. Both these hills were expansive in person and both had an ascent which took at least 10-15 minutes each. There were ATV tracks for both fortunately, making them almost indistinguishable.

Deer Law summit stane:
21 - deer law summit stane.jpg


I was very eager to get onto a real track so made my way down sharpish into Glengaber, N of Cons Cleuch while the sheep watched on. It was grassy again here so the slipperyness increased tenfold and I fell a couple of times. The track was painful to walk on but my pace finally got back to normal again. It was at least 20 minutes on the track before I made it back down to the Megget road and the bike.

Bike at Glengaber about to be swiftly alighted from again:
22 - bike at glengaber about to be swiftly jumped off again.jpg


I had utterly forgotten to take into account that my cycle back to the Megget Stane was an uphill ride (at least partially) and there was no way my legs were up for battling through the first bit of ascent. I walked most of the way until the nice easy descent to Cramalt Farm before getting off again. At the high point of the road I locked the bike up, left the bag and, at complete odds with everything my body was wanting me to do, I began the scramble up the immensely steep rock and heather onto the Clockmore Shank. Over a very precarious fence, I have no idea how I was actually getting up the hill under my own steam. There was a lot of snorting and grunting noises, coupled with numerous mental images of David and Goliath and I very slowly made my way through the deep heather, past the two or three false summits to the top of Clockmore in around half an hour. I walked to two or three possible high points, took a photo and left in under 30 seconds.

Broad Law horizon from Clockmore:
23 - broad law horizon from clockmore.jpg


I was back at the bike in around 20 minutes and began the second enjoyable descent to Meggethead. At this point the wind was so strong that I was effectively stopped entirely even when facing downhill, and the imposing climb to the stane put me off trying to cycle completely. I walked the bike past a couple of folk, met a man from the BFT at the stone, we chatted about the Trust for a few minutes, chucking the bike into the car and beginning the descent to the parking at Talla Linnfoots.

Talla Linnfoots with Codleteth Hill:
24 - talla linnfoots with codleteth hill .jpg


After some slightly under-cooked slice sandwiches, half a Sapporo and some chocolate, I tried my hand at sleeping in the car for the first time, ready to begin the next two days.
Last edited by iangpark on Sun Sep 15, 2019 10:01 pm, edited 3 times in total.
User avatar
iangpark
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 229
Munros:3   Corbetts:13
Grahams:23   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:40   Hewitts:12
Wainwrights:15   Islands:9
Joined: Dec 29, 2015
Location: Greenock

Re: Talla Donalds Day 1: A Bagging Bogathon

Postby inca » Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:16 pm

Ooft :shock: That's a big day in some rough terrain Ian. From memory, I think I did that batch over 2 or 3 days. Quite a haul - well done :clap: :clap:
User avatar
inca
Walker
 
Posts: 304
Munros:223   Corbetts:69
Grahams:82   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:184   
Joined: Sep 21, 2012
Location: Edinburgh

Re: Talla Donalds Day 1: A Bagging Bogathon

Postby iangpark » Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:21 pm

inca wrote:Ooft :shock: That's a big day in some rough terrain Ian. From memory, I think I did that batch over 2 or 3 days. Quite a haul - well done :clap: :clap:


Cheers inca! I couldn't really believe I'd survived it unscathed to be honest - I think if the sun had had his hat on, it would have been a very different day :lol: Maybe an option for your second round :wink:
User avatar
iangpark
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 229
Munros:3   Corbetts:13
Grahams:23   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:40   Hewitts:12
Wainwrights:15   Islands:9
Joined: Dec 29, 2015
Location: Greenock

Re: Talla Donalds Day 1: A Bagging Bogathon

Postby Fife Flyer » Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:43 pm

Well done Ian that is some route you 'selected'. One of the beauties of tackling the Donalds is the planning and working out a way to link them together. Having said that, like you said they look much easier on a map!!
Once I have finished the Marilyns south of the Central belt, I quite fancy a 2nd Donalds round.
User avatar
Fife Flyer
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 2319
Munros:158   Corbetts:46
Grahams:35   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:104   Hewitts:2
Islands:5
Joined: May 15, 2013
Location: Guess?

Re: Talla Donalds Day 1: A Bagging Bogathon

Postby iangpark » Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:56 pm

Fife Flyer wrote:Well done Ian that is some route you 'selected'. One of the beauties of tackling the Donalds is the planning and working out a way to link them together. Having said that, like you said they look much easier on a map!!
Once I have finished the Marilyns south of the Central belt, I quite fancy a 2nd Donalds round.


Thanks Martin - I too have loved seeing others' routes and editing them to my liking. I saw recently that most of the subs I've done near Dumfries are in fact the only ones you haven't! Can't say I share the same enthusiasm for a second round though :lol:
User avatar
iangpark
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 229
Munros:3   Corbetts:13
Grahams:23   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:40   Hewitts:12
Wainwrights:15   Islands:9
Joined: Dec 29, 2015
Location: Greenock

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