5 Ettrick Donalds and a Winter Camp
by hendry670 » Sun Dec 08, 2019 1:19 pm
Grahams included on this walk: Capel Fell, Croft Head, Ettrick Pen
Donalds included on this walk: Capel Fell, Croft Head, Ettrick Pen, Loch Fell, Wind Fell
Date walked: 01/12/2019
Time taken: 10 hours
Distance: 29 km
Ascent: 1421m8 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).
Joining a more substantial ATV track further up, I was soon on the summit before turning left to head down cat shoulder. I paused to admire the view from here which really is stunning in every direction, before starting my descent down the zig zags to the sheepfold below. A direct ascent of West Knowe looked painfully steep from here (especially fully loaded), so I decided instead to contour around, stopping to fill my water bottles from the burn before heading up the North East shoulder.
As I started the climb a thick mist suddenly rolled in and a bit of map and compass work was needed to stay on the right bearing. The views then opened up as I approached the summit, the mist blowing through and the sun beginning to set. Wonderful. A short stroll along the fence line from here and I was on the summit of Loch Fell. A quick scout around revealed a couple of flat spots for the tent so I decided to pitch up here for the night rather than push on into the darkness.
The views from camp were lovely, but it was also bloody freezing, so I was quickly inside, layered up and settling down for the night. I tried and failed to get the stove going, the gas being too cold – so settled instead for a cold snack and an early night after venturing out to look at the stars. The temperature I think dropped to around -7 overnight but I found with all the layers on I was able to stay warm. I slept well, waking around 8 as the sun came up. I’d had the gas canister with me in my sleeping bag overnight so was able to make a brew and some porridge and felt immediately transformed – so obviously needed defrosting after all Stepping outside it was a beautiful morning, around -3 still, but down to -10 with the wind chill.
After another brew I was soon packed up and making my way across to the top of Wind Fell. Dropping the rucksack here, I continued on to Hopetoun Craig and then to the summit of Ettrick Pen. It was nice to get the pack off for a bit, making progress a lot easier with the odd stop to savour the views and conditions.
Returning the way I came, I collected the pack and headed down towards Ettrick Head and then back up the shoulder of Capel Fell. Reaching the top – and with most of the climbing now done for the day, I could enjoy the fantastic views over to Hart Fell and a lovely ridge walk taking in a few more tops before dropping down to the Bodesbeck burn. On the way down to the burn I considered including a quick ascent of Bodesbeck law, but in the end decided against it with time now pressing on. Instead I picked up a good firm track heading out of the hills alongside the burn. Going was a bit slower than I’d anticipated as there was thick ice across the path in places, but I was in no rush so took my time, enjoying the beautiful afternoon light striking the hills around me.
Passing through a farm and out to a main road, it was then a short trek back to the start and home. A fantastic couple of days out enjoying the hills, so lucky to get these conditions two days on the bounce at this time of the year. A fantastic walking area and I was surprised to have the hills to myself, didn’t see a soul over the two days. Really enjoying walking the Donalds.
by iangpark » Sun Dec 08, 2019 9:46 pm
by arjh » Sun Dec 08, 2019 10:14 pm
by Outnabout » Tue Dec 10, 2019 5:58 pm
by hopper68 » Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:06 pm
by hendry670 » Fri Dec 13, 2019 9:20 pm
Thanks for this hopper68 hadn't realised about the different types of gas. I was just using ordinary Colemans. Ordered some extreme up - looks just the ticket - should make the next camp a bit more enjoyable!hopper68 wrote:Nice to see a camp on these hills ,i like the southern uplands ,done a few of the hills around Moffat . I camped on Ben Vorlich that weekend which was stunning..I don't know what gas you were using but i use Coles Extreme for winter without any problems...cheers looked a cracking trip..
by hendry670 » Fri Dec 13, 2019 9:29 pm
Outnabout wrote:Because of the report and those pictures, I'm hoping to do some of those on Saturday.
Thanks very much! Looks like it could be a chilly one - have a great trip
by onsen » Fri Dec 13, 2019 10:22 pm
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