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Storm Ciara and the Ettrick Pentastar

Storm Ciara and the Ettrick Pentastar


Postby weaselmaster » Sun Feb 09, 2020 5:01 pm

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Cacra Hill, Goseland Hill, Lamington Hill, Law Kneis, The Wiss, Turner Cleuch Law, Ward Law

Date walked: 08/02/2020

Distance: 38.3 km

Ascent: 2014m

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A stormy weekend forecast, especially for Saturday night. Where, oh where would we go? The west looked like it was going to be particularly wet, but the Borders looked fairly good until Saturday afternoon, so I got down to some plotting. It's a while since we've ventured down the way for hills, but I remembered there was a cluster of five hills around Ettrick that I had once drawn up a - fairly crazy - continuous route for - if I remember correctly it was about 33km and involved lots of journeying through forestry. So maybe we'd just do them as single hills :wink:

Drove down on Thursday afternoon as usual - decided to camp along by the Meggat Water, a spot we've used a number of times now. The mercury was dropping swiftly, from a balmy 9 degrees when we lest Greenock to hover around zero as we got to Capercleuch. Ice on the road. But a clear, calm night. After putting the tent up, amused myself by taking a few long exposures under an almost full moon. A cold night followed - another case of frozen tent syndrome in the morning, with the car registering -3.5, had undoubtedly been lower than that during the night. Hot sausage sandwiches were welcome for breakfast, then we set off along the road for our first challenges.

ImageDSC02902 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02903 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02904 by Al, on Flickr


turner_wiss.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



The Wiss and Turner Cleuch Law sit across the road from each other. I'd drawn a gentle route that headed up the long shoulders of each, but on second thoughts I'd also drawn a quick one, half the length, that went up and down more steeply. It was turning into a beautiful morning, bright sun, no clouds in the sky and a crispness in the air. We parked beside a cattle grid, just below Turner Cleuch Law. It seemed reasonable to head up there first - we could see an ATV track running up the grassy flanks and were able to follow this almost to the summit. A bracing morning leg stretcher. Good views from the top, some licks of snow on the taller Manor Hills.

The Wiss
ImageDSC02908 by Al, on Flickr

Turner Cleuch
ImageDSC02909 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02910 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02912 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02913 by Al, on Flickr

Back down the same way then across the road, following a fence line, across a wee burn, past the circular sheepfold and up Carson's Cleuch, following a sheep track. This made for steady going, nothing too taxing. We crossed the fence where the fences join and followed a faint path to the trig column. Not a bad hill, especially on a day like this. As Allison spent almost all of her "Donalding" days under clag, rain and mist, the good weather was a minor revelation.

ImageDSC02915 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02917 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02918 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02919 by Al, on Flickr

We descended by the same route and headed back to the car. What next? We had Law Kneis to do, the longest of the routes, and one I didn't fancy leaving til Saturday with the prospect of having to walk for miles into strong winds. So we drove along towards Ettrick. I'd decided to route this one from the north, after reading some horror stories about difficulties getting through the trees on a more direct approach. So we drove along to Honey Cottage campsite, parked in a small parking area just before the narrow bridge (i had to reverse over the bridge having failed to see the sign) and sat having lunch.



law_kneis.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



We walked along the road to Annelshope Farm, cut over the stream on a small bridgelet and forced our way through a couple of fields. Ahead of us, on the hillside were trees! The map said that this way was tree-free...one of the disadvantages of using 20 year old OS maps I guess. The appearance of the trees threw me a bit - were we going to have a jungle fight on our hands this way too? We found a promising track, which promptly ran out into some trees - young plantings. Fortunately there were good animal tracks leading the way and we headed over Annelshope Hill, picking up a forestry track just before it met more dense forestry. We followed this for a bit, then it too ceased to be. A brief push through trees, following a drainage ditch, brought us to the boundary fence/wall, which we followed to the summit. A small cairn was not the highest point, which seemed to be an unmarked tussock about 200 metres further along.

ImageDSC02920 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02921 by Al, on Flickr

Trees are not meant to be here
ImageDSC02922 by Al, on Flickr

Law Kneis
ImageDSC02924 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02925 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02927 by Al, on Flickr


We retraced our steps to the start of the forest, but we'd noticed what seemed to be a way through the trees from up high and took this - miraculously it brought us back out to the track, which we followed back down to the start. It would be an easier, if slightly longer route to use our return leg for both out and back.Passed a very friendly pony in the farm field and noticed they also had a diverse collection of birds - peacocks, white doves and the fattest geese I've ever seen.

ImageDSC02928 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02929 by Al, on Flickr

Returned to the car - decided to spend the night at Honey Cottage - the site is open, but with a bare minimum of facilities. We pitched in a sheltered spot and hoped for a relatively calm night. However it was only 3.45 and the day was still sunny - time for another hill :roll: Cacra Hill was just a couple of miles away from the campsite and had a track marked at least some of the way up.


cacra.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



We parked by the beginning of the forestry track and set off, pleased to find the track marked on the map has been extended, almost to the summit. A lot of very recent plantings here - in fact the summit is peppered with new trees in a 6" baby stage just now, but won't be like that for long...We returned by the same route and drove back to the tent to get the tea on, reflecting on a productive day. The weather started to break in the evening, the wind occasionally howled, the rain rained and I slept badly.

Cacra Hill - start of the track
ImageDSC02930 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02931 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02932 by Al, on Flickr

New plantings at the summit
ImageDSC02933 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02934 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02936 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02938 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02939 by Al, on Flickr


ward_law.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



Saturday morning was a bit wet to start, though dried up fairly soon. Packed up the tent, deciding that we'd just head home after today's hills and not try and brave the storm to come - weaklings :lol: Ward Law was just along the road from the campsite - we parked where the map indicates parking and walked back along the road, finding a way up the steep hillside behind a farm cottage. Steep but firm short grass up Ramseycleuch Hill then onwards towards the large cairn summiting Ward Law. The wind was beginning to strengthen - there was a stile to be climbed to stand beside the cairn and Allison was apprehensive about being blown off :D We decided to take an alternate route down, keeping out of the wind as much as possible, but this did involve some adventuring around the Thirlestane Burn. A wee walk back along the road to the car, crows flapping in the wind, looking like they were having fun.

Ward Law
ImageDSC02940 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02941 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02942 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02943 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02944 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02946 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02948 by Al, on Flickr

We headed along to the James Hogg memorial a short distance along the road to Ettrick. Standing by the monument, we can hear what - at first sound - I took to be a wood pigeon but Allison maintained was an owl. And indeed it was a large long eared owl in a small aviary, hooting at us. Poor creature.

ImageDSC02949 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02950 by Al, on Flickr

Hogg Memorial
ImageDSC02951 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02952 by Al, on Flickr


We lunched in the car and headed home - but the hills were not finished with - I'd thought we could have a short walk up Goseland Hill, between Broughton and Biggar, and if time and wind permitted, Lamington Hill, south of Biggar, on the way home.


goseland.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



Goseland is a very quick up and down - we parked on the east side of Goseland Farm, where there's plenty of room for a couple of cars and just headed straight up the hillside, joining a farm track after a time. Good views over to Dollar Law et al. The wind blew behind us, giving us definite assistance uphill, which was welcome. It was very windy indeed at the top,

ImageDSC02953 by Al, on Flickr

Over to Dollar Law
ImageDSC02954 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02955 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02956 by Al, on Flickr



lamington.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



Back the same way and on, through Coulter to a car park beside Lamington Church. This hill involved a road walk (there's no parking available further into the Baitlaws Estate) then walking around the estate buildings and through a sheep field onto the hillside. A reasonable track follows the Bottom Burn along to some trees, an ATV track then heads up the hillside for about half the way before you have to leave it and press on uphill - again on short, firm grass. Even windier up here than on our last hill. Good views over to neighbouring Tinto. I decided to head down over the exposed back of the hill, enjoying the elements, although this did mean walking at a funny angle, bent into the teeth of the wind.

ImageDSC02957 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02959 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02960 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02961 by Al, on Flickr

Tinto
ImageDSC02963 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02964 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02965 by Al, on Flickr
User avatar
weaselmaster
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Re: Storm Ciara and the Ettrick Pentastar

Postby nigheandonn » Sun Feb 09, 2020 10:06 pm

I set out to do those five in a day in September, but managed two and a half, having been ambushed by unexpected trees on both Annelshope Hill and Ward Law.

Did you find a way through the trees on Ward Law, or did you manage to keep below them?
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Re: Storm Ciara and the Ettrick Pentastar

Postby weaselmaster » Sun Feb 09, 2020 11:00 pm

nigheandonn wrote:I set out to do those five in a day in September, but managed two and a half, having been ambushed by unexpected trees on both Annelshope Hill and Ward Law.

Did you find a way through the trees on Ward Law, or did you manage to keep below them?


That must've been highly frustrating!
There were no trees on Ward Law the way we went up - we kept below on the return leg, though did meet some in the cleuch by the burn. Going up and back by the out route would probably be best
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weaselmaster
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Re: Storm Ciara and the Ettrick Pentastar

Postby Klaasloopt » Mon Feb 10, 2020 9:31 am

weaselmaster wrote:I had once drawn up a - fairly crazy - continuous route


hi Weaselmaster and sidekick, I always read these reports, especially when they seem mad connoisseur-only, cherry-picking, stamp-collecting type walks on hills I've never heard of. Keep it up! :clap:
Klaas
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Re: Storm Ciara and the Ettrick Pentastar

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Feb 10, 2020 10:48 pm

Klaasloopt wrote:
weaselmaster wrote:I had once drawn up a - fairly crazy - continuous route


hi Weaselmaster and sidekick, I always read these reports, especially when they seem mad connoisseur-only, cherry-picking, stamp-collecting type walks on hills I've never heard of. Keep it up! :clap:
Klaas


Ah Klaas that makes me happy.
When are you coming back to Scotland for another one of your 9 day journeys? I'm tempted to try and follow in some of your recent footsteps on Jura :D
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weaselmaster
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Re: Storm Ciara and the Ettrick Pentastar

Postby PeteR » Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:07 pm

Well done for getting out.....my walking boots think I've retired as I've not been out in 3 weeks due to recent weather.......some of these can have an element of quick slog to the top, but I think I enjoyed all of them myself in their own way.
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Re: Storm Ciara and the Ettrick Pentastar

Postby nigheandonn » Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:54 am

That must've been highly frustrating! ... Going up and back by the out route would probably be best


It was a bit, but I'm easily distracted by new plans :)

It would, I expect, but I was trying to save myself some road walking by heading up where the path is marked on the orange map, past Thirlestane tower. A nice old path through the woods, but it was already pretty rough underfoot on the open hillside, and when I met unexpected trees I decided I'd had enough!
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Re: Storm Ciara and the Ettrick Pentastar

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Feb 11, 2020 3:34 pm

nigheandonn wrote:
That must've been highly frustrating! ... Going up and back by the out route would probably be best


It was a bit, but I'm easily distracted by new plans :)

It would, I expect, but I was trying to save myself some road walking by heading up where the path is marked on the orange map, past Thirlestane tower. A nice old path through the woods, but it was already pretty rough underfoot on the open hillside, and when I met unexpected trees I decided I'd had enough!


Ah that was pretty much the way we came down although we missed the tower. There was a path of sorts through the trees, then up onto the hillside. You would need to climb the deer fence at some point though
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weaselmaster
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Re: Storm Ciara and the Ettrick Pentastar

Postby Klaasloopt » Tue Feb 11, 2020 4:44 pm

weaselmaster wrote:Ah Klaas that makes me happy.
When are you coming back to Scotland for another one of your 9 day journeys? I'm tempted to try and follow in some of your recent footsteps on Jura :D


I'm coming in early: February 20 I start from Rannoch, hauling winter kit. Currently testing my new tent in the watered down Dutch version of Ciara. On first pitch, the forces of nature drove the center pole 5 inches into the ground :shock:
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Klaasloopt
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Re: Storm Ciara and the Ettrick Pentastar

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:38 pm

Klaasloopt wrote:
weaselmaster wrote:Ah Klaas that makes me happy.
When are you coming back to Scotland for another one of your 9 day journeys? I'm tempted to try and follow in some of your recent footsteps on Jura :D


I'm coming in early: February 20 I start from Rannoch, hauling winter kit. Currently testing my new tent in the watered down Dutch version of Ciara. On first pitch, the forces of nature drove the center pole 5 inches into the ground :shock:


Oh I’ll await your travel report with the usual keen anticipation 😊
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