walkhighlands

Tough Donald Bagging Around Moffatdale

Corbetts: Hart Fell
Grahams: Andrewhinney Hill, Capel Fell, Croft Head, Ettrick Pen
Donalds: Andrewhinney Hill, Bell Craig, Bodesbeck Law, Cape Law, Capel Fell, Croft Head, Ettrick Pen, Hart Fell, Herman Law, Loch Fell, Swatte Fell, Under Saddle Yoke, Wind Fell

Date walked: 04/11/2019

Time taken: 24 hours

Distance: 82km

Ascent: 3700m

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 75/140. I had hoped to get them all done by 15th November, dad's birthday, but weeks of being variously unwell or working every day have sabotaged the goal. I'm attempting to 'up the game' with much longer rounds to make up for lost time...

Part One - Moffat to Over Phawhope


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



I travelled up to Moffat by train from Newcastle via Carlisle and Lockerbie, and when the bus deposited me in Moffat in good time, I didn't hang around - straight out on the road until I could drop down and join the Southern Upland Way. Following the 'old route' made for some very pleasant scenery, and once up the very steep 'dry gutter' it was a straightforward hike up to Croft Head. Cloud and rain had already set in, and by the time I had sped down the zig zag path at Cat Shoulder the light already seemed to be fading. With less focus on enjoying the views, and more 'head-down, speed-on' I hauled myself up the steep shoulder of West Knowe, after which it was straightforward (though wet) walking up and down various summits all the way to Ettrick Pen. It was now dark, and I didn't waste any time dropping down the steep side to join the track for a break at Over Phawhope bothy.

ImageEttrick/Moffat Hills by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageEttrick/Moffat Hills by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageEttrick/Moffat Hills by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

Part Two - Herman Law to Bodesbeck Law


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



I dropped some stuff off at the bothy, and prepared for the next slog. Travelling light and with gritted teeth and PLENTY of head torches/batteries, I stormed through the rain, along the Southern Upland Way for an hour or so, until gaining the hills again via a steep but straightforward climb. Night walking might not be for everyone, but I find I climb much more quickly, and focus on nothing but putting feet (and hands on some of these steep grassy domes...) in front of each other. The going 'up top' was far from easy, and very wet, but navigation wasn't difficult thanks to fence lines. I hated most of this section of the walk, the weather was pretty wild and in the dark my fears came out to play. A tough, bagging mission only, and no justice was done to the hills, which I could see the next morning were quite stunning. I stumbled a few times coming down from Bodesbeck Law, and fell in some awful mud on the track back down to the SUW and the bothy, but was delighted to find the bothy again, and sleep a few hours in absolute comfort on the leather sofa!

ImageEttrick/Moffat Hills by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageEttrick/Moffat Hills by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

Part Three - Over Phawhope to Blackshope


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



I could have slept for days already, but I was up again first thing, and plodded back up that muddy path at Potburn, this time leaving to haul myself across Potburn Rig, a couple of Donald Tops, and eventualy Capel Fell. It had looked dramatic from the 'other side' the previous day, but the walking on tired legs was a bit painful, and the sun wasn't up yet. Some light in the air, but nothing to enjoy or admire, and I cursed the point of hill bagging as I retraced my steps, slowly, contouring under the tops and dropping down to the track that would lead me to Bodesbeck. Every muscle in my body was aching, and when the madness of the final objective - the Black Hope Horseshoe - revealed itself in its beautiful but intimidating glory, I considered giving up. But after a rest, and a chat with a farmer (the only person I saw the whole time) who certified me insane when I revealed I had been 'up there' walking through the night in 'that weather', I steeled myself and headed into the mist.

ImageEttrick/Moffat Hills by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageEttrick/Moffat Hills by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

Part Four - Blackshope to Moffat


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



Climbing Saddle Yoke did indeed feel like a climb rather than a walk, and I'm not sure how I did it. Fear kicked in as I picked my way up the steep, wet, ridge, and adrenalin did that thing I now no so well - makes me go faster, blocks out views and even the desire to stop for breaks. It was a shame about the low lying mist, because I have a feeling that when the summit is actually visible, this might be the finest hill I've stood on in all Southern Scotland (so far). This 'classic borders hill walk', which I would love to do again in clear conditions and on its own, tested me to my limit. Walking was generally straightforward, but I was tired, the wind was strong, the visibility poor, and the views non-existent. Eventually at the other end of the horseshoe, I caught glimpses of Black Hope, but the VERY strong wind kept me from the path at the edge, and hanging back for most of the walk on boggy fence lines, I made light work of the last stretch back to Swatte Fell. At Swatte Fell, my phone suffered yet another water/sub zero injury, and I also ground to a halt myself for a short while, to let this walk sink in. I found myself crying a little as the adrenalin gave way to aches, pains, and the realisation that I had done about 24 hours of tough walking - almost but not quite getting me back on track with my charity challenge. I wondered if my dad would look down and be proud of me, or look down and think I am an idiot. Possibly both.

What I do know is that I am an idiot for initially hoping to extend this expedition to take in Erie Hill and the couple of tops over that way above Gameshope. Absolutely not an option this time, and this whole thing was a real lesson in knowing my absolute walking limits.

From Swatte fell I headed down to Blue Cairn and soon dropped back into Moffat. The ground was dry but very rough and in my exhausted state I nearly took a few tumbles, eventually making it back with about 15 minutes to breathe, before getting the bus and starting the long trip home.

Update. The day after, I have largely been unable to move, and have taken a day off work. I'm always learning...

ImageEttrick/Moffat Hills by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageEttrick/Moffat Hills by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

Click to mark this as a great report. Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Comments: 8



Binsey

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Attachment(s) Wainwrights: Binsey
Date walked: 18/10/2019
Distance: 9.5km
Ascent: 379m
Views: 6


Cairnsmore of Fleet

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Attachment(s) Grahams: Cairnsmore of Fleet
Donalds: Cairnsmore of Fleet
Date walked: 15/10/2019
Distance: 19.5km
Ascent: 965m
Views: 8


Deadwater Fell (Kielder)

Attachment(s) Date walked: 12/10/2019
Distance: 17km
Ascent: 475m
Views: 153


Cauldcleuch Head - A Very Pleasant Surprise

Attachment(s) Grahams: Cauldcleuch Head
Donalds: Cauldcleuch Head
Date walked: 01/10/2019
Distance: 13.1km
Ascent: 586m
Views: 178


A Donald With a View...

Corbetts: Cairnsmore of Carsphairn
Grahams: Blackcraig Hill, Windy Standard
Donalds: Alhang, Blackcraig Hill, Blacklorg Hill, Cairnsmore of Carsphairn, Moorbrock Hill, Windy Standard
Date walked: 14/09/2019
Distance: 41km
Ascent: 1935m
Comments: 3
Views: 495


It's No Fun on Beinn nan Eun

Attachment(s) Grahams: Uamh Bheag
Donalds: Beinn nan Eun, Uamh Bheag
Date walked: 02/09/2019
Distance: 30.4km
Ascent: 1005m
Comments: 7
Views: 449


Cloudy Crags, Alnwick

Attachment(s) Date walked: 28/08/2019
Distance: 10.2km
Ascent: 264m
Views: 88


Completing the Lowther Hills (Oddly Pleasurable Torture)

Attachment(s) Grahams: Ballencleuch Law, Queensberry
Donalds: Ballencleuch Law, Comb Law, Earncraig Hill, Gana Hill, Queensberry, Scaw'd Law, Wedder Law
Date walked: 21/08/2019
Distance: 40.5km
Ascent: 1645m
Comments: 3
Views: 377


Will I Ever Get a View from Blencathra?

Attachment(s) Wainwrights: Bannerdale Crags, Blencathra, Bowscale Fell, Mungrisdale Common
Hewitts: Bannerdale Crags, Blencathra, Bowscale Fell
Date walked: 14/08/2019
Distance: 17km
Ascent: 893m
Comments: 8
Views: 293

Christo1979


User avatar
Location: Gateshead
Occupation: Musician
Activity: Walker
Mountain: Cir Mhor
Place: Outer Hebrides
Gear: Map & Compass
Member: Associate member of The Rucksack Club
Camera: iPhone 7

Munros: 10
Corbetts: 11
Grahams: 19
Donalds: 44
Wainwrights: 65
Hewitts: 75
Sub 2000: 50
Islands: 25
Long Distance routes: Annadale Way    West Island Way    Berwickshire Coastal Path   



Filter reports


Statistics

2019

Trips: 52
Distance: 953.24 km
Ascent: 42488m
Munros: 4
Corbetts: 5
Grahams: 12
Donalds: 35
Sub2000s: 6
Hewitts: 41
Wainwrights 38

2018

Trips: 34
Distance: 613.54 km
Ascent: 24905m
Munros: 1
Corbetts: 4
Grahams: 2
Donalds: 3
Sub2000s: 5
Hewitts: 16
Wainwrights 17

2017

Trips: 12
Distance: 279.6 km
Ascent: 5709m
Sub2000s: 1

2016

Trips: 2
Distance: 27 km
Ascent: 772m


Joined: Oct 21, 2017
Last visited: Nov 17, 2019
Total posts: 152 | Search posts