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A weekend in the Manor & Moorfoot Hills

A weekend in the Manor & Moorfoot Hills


Postby weaselmaster » Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:24 pm

Grahams included on this walk: Blackhope Scar

Donalds included on this walk: Black Law, Blackhope Scar, Bowbeat Hill, Drumelzier Law, Dundreich, Greenside Law, Middle Hill, Pykestone Hill

Date walked: 28/02/2016

Time taken: 16.5 hours

Distance: 52.6 km

Ascent: 2336m

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A 3 day weekend with some less than awful weather forecast would be a good opportunity to test out (and hopefully contribute further to) Allison's back injury. She'd managed 2 shortish walks on single hills last week - how would she cope with 3 longer circuits? Time would tell. We had decided to make our base Mortonhall Campsite in Edinburgh once again and drove through after work on Thursday. There were not many folk about. We arrived after the reception shut and pitched in the camping field - no other tents once again.

For Friday's menu I had chosen the Donalds at the northern end of the Manor Hills - Pykestone Hill to Drumelzier. We drove through Peebles then took the small road out past Stobo Castle to Drumelzier, turned left down a driveway just after the phone box and parked up in a good gravelled area beside Mill Cottage. The book said to go round behind the cottage and follow a path on the east of the burn, but you could have as easily gone up the farm track - they met after a bit. There's a good grassy track that leads up Den Knowes - Drumelzier looked enchanting over to the right - we'd have the pleasure of ascending that one last. Over rougher ground to The Scrape (a New Donald) - the sense of space on this hill in particular was considerable, hard to think we were less than 30 miles from Edinburgh City. The hills to the South had a fair bit of snow left on them, unlike those we were on today. Next we followed the fenceline and reached the summit of Pykestone Hill, 2 crows that had been perched there flew off with a caw. Lunchtime, good chance to survey the landscape. We picked up the fence line again down to Grey Weather Law and thence to Middle Hill, another Donald. I'd decided we could do without the extra couple of kilometres to Taberon Law - only a Donald Top and expendible when Allison's recovery was paramount. We had some difficulty finding the highest spot on Middle Hill, but enjoyed the skyline over to Dollar Law and Broad Law in the distance.

Start of the walk
ImageP1120122 by Al, on Flickr

Drumelzier in the distance
ImageP1120123 by Al, on Flickr

View over to Middle Hill/Taberon Law
ImageP1120126 by Al, on Flickr

Summit of The Scrape
ImageP1120129 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120130 by Al, on Flickr

Pykestone Hill
ImageP1120131 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120133 by Al, on Flickr

View to Broad Law
ImageP1120135 by Al, on Flickr

Drumelzier from Middle Hill
ImageP1120137 by Al, on Flickr

Maybe summit Middle Hill
ImageP1120138 by Al, on Flickr


We headed down to Glenstivon Dod and glared at the drop before Drumelzier Hill - which was easily achieved as it happened. There's a cairn on Drumelzier before the true summit, then a cairn at the top. Allison was doing well so far, a big grin at the top. Down over a good peaty track to Logan Head then back onto the farm track we'd taken on the way up. A very pleasant and successful afternoon out this one.

Drumelzier
ImageP1120139 by Al, on Flickr

Summit looking North
ImageP1120144 by Al, on Flickr

Pleased as Punch
ImageP1120145 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120147 by Al, on Flickr

Back to Edinburgh in good time, a shower and change of clothes then into town. The lure of the Hanging Bat was too strong to refuse - had an early tea there and a few of their rather powerful beverages. Back at the campsite early, a bit worse for wear. Saturday morning found me, shall we say, a little fragile. Allison seemed fine, having quaffed as much as me. Must have been something I ate :lol: Anyway it was a return to the dreaded Moorfoot Hills where I'd been roundly scunnered by snow a fortnight ago - this time planned to do the circuit in reverse, with Dundriech first. It seemed inevitable to have to visit Blackhope Scar again and there was no quick way to come down from Bowbeat Hill. I endured the next five and a half hours, stopping to retch every 30 minutes or so over the day and being able to take in neither food nor fluid. I suspect that's not an awfully healthy way to hillwalk - I had hoped that the tramp would clear my head, but id didn't. The ascent was fairly pleasant, up a track past Gladhouse Cottage, a more gentle ascent than the other side had seemed. Up to Jefferies Cairn then to Dundreich, where we saw a few folk at the cairn in the distance.

Blue skies didn't last long
ImageP1120148 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120149 by Al, on Flickr

View over to Bowbeat
ImageP1120150 by Al, on Flickr

Summit Dundreich
ImageP1120151 by Al, on Flickr

The going got worse from now on. The boggy ground was largely frozen which did help a lot, but there was still a bit of descent and re-ascent. We cut down to a stream by a plantation before climbing up to the windfarm - Allison had lunch, I curled up in my belay jacket and wished to be left there. Struggling on we got to the windfarm and made use of the road between the turbines to get to the top of Bowbeat Hill - a gouge having been taken from it by the road. Down to Emly Bank then onto fenceline following paths to the top of Blackhope Scar - at least that meant that I wouldn't have to return here in future to help Allison get this one I'd already done :D It was much easier going than it had been when I was last here - subtract a couple of feet of snow and allow tracks to be seen, nay, tracks with the boggy puddles frozen properly and it is just better walking. We followed an ATV track past some grouse butts and down Hirendean Hill, to the ruined castle. There was a long strip of snow which normally would have tempted me to bum slide, but not today, it was all I could do to grimly grind out pace after pace. Back at the car I threw up for what would happily be the final time, drove back to the campsite and got into my sleeping bag. Allsion had to fend for herself, while I rejoiced in being able to keep a 500ml bottle of water down in the evening hours.

ImageP1120152 by Al, on Flickr

You can see the gouge out of the top of Bowbeat Hill
ImageP1120153 by Al, on Flickr

Winter lingers
ImageP1120154 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120155 by Al, on Flickr

Summit Blacklaw Scar
ImageP1120156 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1120157 by Al, on Flickr

Sunday - felt fine today! It had been very cold over night - car temp said -1.5 at around 08.30 and the grass was covered in thick frost. Beautiful looking morning however. We packed up and drove off Peebles way again - this time to try the southern half of the Manor Hills. I was not sure that Allison would be able to complete these, being her third day in a row, and was aware there was a footpath bisecting the hills which we might wish to use in that case. Anyway, as we drove out of Edinburgh we entered a cloud inversion - thick fog, with the roadside grasses and bushes covered in rime. We took the road to Manor Head just after Peebles and by the time we arrived at the white cottage before the bridge the sky was becoming clear blue. We'd decided to do the eastern hills first and set off across a field to a bridge and thence up the steepish slopes of Langhaugh Hill. Allison was definately struggling more today - a look of discomfort and a definate reduction in pace from yesterday. We pressed on, up a good track onto Waddyside Rig then scuttled about in heather and (frozen) bog to find the summit of Black Cleuch Hill, for what reason I don't know. We followed the fence line to Black Law and its two summits.

Cold crisp morning
ImageP1120158 by Al, on Flickr

At the start
ImageDSC00141 by Al, on Flickr

View N back up the valley
ImageDSC00143 by Al, on Flickr

The circuit
ImageDSC00145 by Al, on Flickr

Waddyside Rig
ImageDSC00146 by Al, on Flickr

Approaching Black Law
ImageDSC00148 by Al, on Flickr

Lot of snow on Cramalt Craig
ImageDSC00149 by Al, on Flickr

Minimalist cairn, Black Law
ImageDSC00150 by Al, on Flickr

I was a little anxious to see the way ahead to Deer Law appear so far, but there you have it, the map doesn't lie. On we went, Allison struggling a bit by this time, over Conscleuch Head and up to Deer Law, which had a standing stone as its cairn. We parked there for lunch and a look at what to do. Dollar Law looked snowy up top and I had left the crampons in the car. With all this glorious sunshine I could imagine the hard snow getting a slippy melted surface - maybe not a goer for today even if Allison had been fit. We could head down the footpath, or we could sneak in Greenside Law which was only 130m extra once we got to the start of the right of way. There's a substantial drop in height were you to try the direct route from Deer Law to Black Rig, so we contoured around below Conscleuch Head, sometimes on an ATV or animal track, sometimes not. Again I gave thanks for the icy conditions underfoot - this would be a morass in ordinary conditions. A fox perked its head out and dashed off ahead of us into another secret place- have to say we have very rarely met with foxes when out on the hills - see more of them in town now. Eventually we completed the traverse to Foulbrig and I persuaded Allison to do the "easy" 130m up to Greenside Law. The glorious sunshine had melted some of the icy puddles up here. I got to the top and eventually she joined me, looking thoroughly scunnered. I had been looking over at Dollar law whilst I waited for her - would have been do-able without crampons, but even if I had gone over there today I would have had to return for Cramalt Craig, so I can do them together sometime.

Black Law to Deer Law
ImageDSC00151 by Al, on Flickr

Conscleuch Head to Dollar Law
ImageDSC00152 by Al, on Flickr

Deer Law
ImageDSC00153 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00154 by Al, on Flickr

You can imagine how wet this is normally
ImageDSC00156 by Al, on Flickr

Greenside Law - c'mon it's not far!
ImageDSC00157 by Al, on Flickr

Start of the footpath
ImageDSC00160 by Al, on Flickr

View N from Greenside Law
ImageDSC00161 by Al, on Flickr

We found the ring trig at the summit then headed down and onto the footpath. This wound up a little below Redsike Head then proved a lovely high level walk back along the hillside, dropping down gradually to rejoin the road and leaving us with a couple of kilometres back to the car. A most enjoyable day, real taste of spring in the air today.

Notman Law and Dollar Law
ImageDSC00162 by Al, on Flickr

Hmmm enough said
ImageDSC00163 by Al, on Flickr

Bitch Craig
ImageDSC00164 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00165 by Al, on Flickr

Across to Dollar Law
ImageDSC00166 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00167 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00168 by Al, on Flickr


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

Last edited by weaselmaster on Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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weaselmaster
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Re: A weekend in the Manor & Moorfoot Hills

Postby Tinto63 » Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:07 pm

Nice report and I'm glad that you had better luck with the Moorfoots, the stretch from Dundreich to Bowbeat can be a real slog if it is not frozen. I agree about Middle Hill, very difficult to locate the top, but that's one of the attraction of the Donalds.

Sorry to be a pedant but your eighth photo, P1120135, is of Broad Law with its comms. mast and aircraft radio beacon, rather than Hart Fell.

Having completed the Donalds once and well on the way to a second completion I'm following your take on these hills with interest and admiration at the length of some of your days.
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Tinto63
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Re: A weekend in the Manor & Moorfoot Hills

Postby weaselmaster » Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:25 pm

Tinto63 wrote:Nice report and I'm glad that you had better luck with the Moorfoots, the stretch from Dundreich to Bowbeat can be a real slog if it is not frozen. I agree about Middle Hill, very difficult to locate the top, but that's one of the attraction of the Donalds.

Sorry to be a pedant but your eighth photo, P1120135, is of Broad Law with its comms. mast and aircraft radio beacon, rather than Hart Fell.

Having completed the Donalds once and well on the way to a second completion I'm following your take on these hills with interest and admiration at the length of some of your days.


It is indeed Broad Law, thanks for the correction. I really enjoyed the Manor Hills, maybe in part due to the better weather than of late, Although Allison is mourning climbing "proper hills" I feel a pleasant sense of pastoral adventure headign out into these southern hills
User avatar
weaselmaster
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1790
Munros:206   Corbetts:31
Grahams:69   Donalds:85
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Location: Greenock

Re: A weekend in the Manor & Moorfoot Hills

Postby Collaciotach » Mon Feb 29, 2016 8:41 am

The Highland weather was superb this weekend :wink:

I ve enjoyed your Donald reports from areas i would have previously dismissed as undesirable :lol: ....lovely countryside.
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Re: A weekend in the Manor & Moorfoot Hills

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Feb 29, 2016 9:36 am

Collaciotach wrote:The Highland weather was superb this weekend :wink:

I ve enjoyed your Donald reports from areas i would have previously dismissed as undesirable :lol: ....lovely countryside.


Hi Colla - yes I was looking at your Resipole post with some envy.
Allison's heading your way end of this week, will be joining her the weekend after next for a brief respite from Donalds, so hoping conditions continue to be lovely in Ardgour.
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weaselmaster
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Posts: 1790
Munros:206   Corbetts:31
Grahams:69   Donalds:85
Sub 2000:178   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

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