Another weekend of less than inspiring weather, but Sunday afternoon didn’t look so bad around Biggar. At one point we had thought to try a circuit of Donalds – Malky wants to finish them off now he’s in Glasgow a lot – but in the end we wussed out seeing as the winds were forecast to be high.
Other than some severe potholes, the roads were clear and we had no problems arriving at our start point for Dungavel Hill. The car was rocking in the wind which meant we weren’t hugely keen to get going….but eventually we did, hopping over a gate and walking across some very mushy ground
Once we started to climb the ground became a bit more sturdy although there was now more snow starting to cover the tussocks
The gradient became a lot steeper and the snow a lot deeper
A lot more snow
And then a blizzard hit – I managed to get my waterproofs on but not without a lot of snow going up my back We were very glad that the wind was coming from behind us for now, and were not looking forward to the return trip
It’s very easy to see how it’s possible to get disorientated even on small hills in a whiteout We were glad of the fenceline to keep us right! Just as we approached the summit the weather started to clear and we could see across to Tinto
Now the gradient had eased, the snow was even deeper and walking became quite awkward!
Malky leading the way
We were relieved to be at the summit and glad to be able to enjoy some views too
Culter Fell hills
Summit of Dungavel Hill
Taking my frustration out on the trig
Although the snow had largely stopped, the wind was wild and very cold so we beat a hasty retreat back to the car
1 hour 33 mins
We drove 10 minutes down the road to the lovely wee village of Lamington which had a helpful car park next to the church where we had a quick sandwich before setting off along the road past the primary school, crossing the main road and following a track up past some houses.
The views towards Tinto were excellent
The route past the houses was well signposted but unfortunately due to the recent heavy rain we had a hop a couple of gates to avoid getting completely soaked
Once past the houses we were on a forestry track for real and the ground was slightly less damp There were various strange looking storage containers and things, possibly connected with forestry or the landowners
The forestry track gained us some good height before dropping us nicely onto the ridge with a wall to follow. We were now out into the snow which was very pretty but my feet kept slipping
Out on the ridge line
As we continued along the wall we could see the top of Lamington Hill ahead – I’d seen this hill from the other side on my way down from the Culter fell round and had been tempted then. It looked good from this angle too
We crossed over the wall and continued up the lovely ridge – soon the summit was in sight
Trig point on Lamington Hill
Once at the top the views were awesome We couldn’t believe how much snow there was here!
Malky got a bit excited when we realised that this windfarm was on “Ewe Hill”
Wind farm on appropriately named "Ewe Hill"
Summit of Lamington Hill
Again it was super windy up top so we quickly dropped off the side – it was very steep to start with but there was barely any snow on this side of the hill!
Dropping down into the glen
Once on the track it was an easy walk out, but very muddy in places!
There were some lovely views of Tinto as we approached Baitlaws
Lovely views of Tinto
In fact, the views of Tinto were so good that as we walked down the road back to Lamington we decided we could go up it on the way home
2 hours 5 mins
We decided to go for the less well trodden route from Wiston Lodge which looked fairly deserted when we arrived.
A few minutes later we found ourselves sliding through muddy fields. I’m sure this route isn’t normally quite this damp but after the large dump of rain we’ve had recently it was a bit mental
We followed a wall or fence across the fields and as we gradually began to gain height the views improved
As we looked ahead to Tinto it looked big
Soon we were into the snow again
As we approached the base of the hill the snow became deeper, the path veered around to the right and it started spotting with rain again, which was being hurled at us by the vicious wind
After I struggled on for a short while I decided to let Malky and his big man legs break the trail as the snow got deeper
Malky breaking trail
As we climbed higher up the side we were actually relatively sheltered from the wind
Looking back to Dungavel Hill
Soon the rainclouds (which never really came to anything anyway) cleared and the sun came out
This route isn’t well used and Malky said he’d managed to lose the zig zag path when he was here before in the summer. In some ways the snow made it more obvious although we still blundered about in places
Malky on the zig zags
The sun hitting the ridge made it look quite appealing, but given the wind it was probably going to be one for another time
Soon we were almost out of the deep snow and onto the final ascent – it was going to get windy
Towards Lochlyoch Hill - the ridge in the other direction
Why take the easy way....
Windy Tinto summit
It wasn’t really the weather for hanging around – although we had thought it might be worth hanging around for a sunset but we changed our minds pretty sharpish
Weather coming in
Time to get going
Back into the deep snow
I discovered that the snow was fabulous snow-balling snow which Malky discovered as it smacked him in the back To be fair we both got some good hits in, and we got down a lot quicker than we’d got up
Malky running away from the snowballs
Back on easier ground we made faster progress – the light was definitely starting to go though
Looking back to Tinto
From here it was another very muddy walk back across the fields, which was annoying because all the snow had cleaned our boots and trousers We found a burn near the car to rinse some things off, before a relatively easy drive home. Good to get out, and enough snow to make it nice and exciting
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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.