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A String of Donalds from Drumelzier

A String of Donalds from Drumelzier


Postby Christo1979 » Sat Jan 25, 2020 1:39 pm

Donalds included on this walk: Dollar Law, Drumelzier Law, Greenside Law, Middle Hill, Pykestone Hill

Date walked: 18/01/2020

Time taken: 9 hours

Distance: 32 km

Ascent: 1708m

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I'm attempting to climb all 140 Donalds and Donald Tops in aid of charity. 'Donalds for Donald' is a personal challenge in memory of my late father, Donald, and in aid of Mesothelioma UK. After the walk in this report, my total is currently 112/140. I had hoped to get them all done by 15th November, dad's birthday, but weeks of being variously unwell or working every day had sabotaged the goal. I'll hopefully compleat them soon.


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A coach from Newcastle to Edinburgh then a pleasant journey from Edinburgh by bus saw me arrive in picturesque Drumelzier about mid-morning, and I took time to wander down and find 'Merlin's Grave' before heading into the hills. It was a crisp, chilly morning, but it was beautiful and sunny, and the MWIS forecast was significantly more optimistic than previous weeks. With a spring in my step, I plodded up the track into the glen, leaving it a little way in to make straight up the hillside to Logan Head.

ImageWalking in The Manor Hills by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageWalking in The Manor Hills by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

The ATV track meant navigation was straightforward, and besides I"d spent so many months poring-over maps and working out how I would join the Donalds together, I felt I knew every track, bump, and feature from memory. The pace was brisk and I soon reached the summit of Drumelzier Law. Layers went on to combat the significant chill, and I enjoyed some gorgeous clear views before stomping down, then stiffly up, to Glenstivon Dod. The short grass made for easy walking across Middle Hill and on to the inconveniently positioned Donald Top that is Taberon Law, and the ground was just frosty enough to give a satisfying crunch underfoot. From Taberon Law it was straight back along to Middle Hill, and across the rougher ground to Long Grain Knowe, from which my next objective, Dollar Law, teased me - it looked a lot further away than it actually was!

ImageWalking in The Manor Hills by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageWalking in The Manor Hills by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageWalking in The Manor Hills by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

I followed the fence straight up the side of Dollar Law, and over about the 750m contour the weather suddenly turned. Significantly colder gusts, more icy underfoot, somewhat slower going. It was a relief to reach the trig point in good time, however, and I didn't hang around before heading on to Fifescar Knowe. A little idiosyncratic, this section of the walk, and I probably should have tackled the couple of Donald Tops and indeed Greenside Law as part of another walk, from Meggett Reservoir, but a combination of this being a bagging challenge, being behind schedule, and the fact I'm using public transport and it takes a degree of expedition planning to make repeat trips, all conspired to make me push on and add this 'there-and-back' section to today's walk. Fifescar Knowe and Norman Law were easily bagged, but the conditions were a little wild again on the way across to Greenside Law. This would mark the furthest point for today, and I could look over to tomorrow's hills.

And wish that I'd decided to wild camp, after all.

ImageWalking in The Manor Hills by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageWalking in The Manor Hills by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageWalking in The Manor Hills by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

I followed the old Thief's Road back the way I had come, and made very quick progress back up and around Long Grain Knowe to Grey Weather Law. Pykestone Hill was easily climbed, and then the third of today's out-and-back inconveniences, but fortunately very short - a hop up to the Donald Top 'The Scrape'. Light was fading and on returning to Pykestone Hill I just dropped down the heathery hillside until I hit the Thief's Road again. The easy walk back to Drumelzier seemed to take forever, but the sun going down over the Culter Hills was a sight to behold, and it was with some pride that I realised, scanning the skyline, that I had walked all these hills and had come a long way since first having the idea to wander up a Scottish Hill back in 2018. I caught the bus to Peebles where a short but comfortable night awaited in a hotel (what is this luxury?) before an early start for day two of this Donald bagging trip.

ImageWalking in The Manor Hills by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageWalking in The Manor Hills by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageWalking in The Manor Hills by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageWalking in The Manor Hills by Christopher Watson, on Flickr
Christo1979
Walker
 
Posts: 253
Munros:15   Corbetts:40
Grahams:35   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:101   Hewitts:174
Wainwrights:194   Islands:25
Joined: Oct 21, 2017
Location: Gateshead

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