Little hill, outstanding views

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Attachment(s) Date walked: 14/02/2018
Distance: 3.7km
Ascent: 350m
Views: 4

Toughest Jungle Warfare Yet

Sub 2000s: Law Kneis, Ward Law

Date walked: 07/02/2018

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 9.5km

Ascent: 671m

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Ward Law route

I know you will be thinking that walking through a forest isn't that bad, I used to think that and now having conquered quite a few forests I thought that too. Out of all my jungle warfare expeditions, the ascent/descent of Law Kneis wins hands down, more of that later.
To set the scene, a weather window of opportunity arose so I contacted George (dibs) and he was up for a trip out, as he had volunteered to drive I suggested that he select the hills. As we are both still not 'hill fit' George came up with a cunning plan of 3 Marilyns down Ettrick way. The first problem when doing your research with the majority of Marilyns is the lack of WR's and these 3 hills are a prime example. George had downloaded Johnny Corbetts routes onto his GPS whereas after reading and studying all the available routes I created 2 routes for Ward Law, 3 for Law Kneis and one for what should of been our final hill Cacra Hill, more on that later.
George offered to pick me up at 8.45 with the theory was most of the commuters would be sitting in front of their computers so the traffic shouldn't be a problem. George had an executive decision to make once we were over the Queensferry Crossing, do we go the long way round and onto the M9 or head in towards Barnton and then past the Gyle. George opted for the latter and it wasn't the best decision he had made. It made us appreciate how lucky we are that we don't have to commute to work any more.
Our plan was to conquer Ward Law first as that was the highest of the three, I knew Law Kneis was going to be the most challenging and that would be next.
George managed to park his car near the odd junction in Ettrick and we set off about 10.30. The route I had plotted was what we call direct and as with most direct routes that means the ascent will probably be a bit steep.

Parking spot

Gate to climb over before the ascent

Looking back down at Georges car

Angle of ascent

Looking back

The way ahead

The monster cairn on Ward Law



Final descent

Once back at the car it was a short drive along to the car park where we had our lunch and then set off on the 2nd leg of our adventure. Little did we know what fun lay ahead of us.

Nice large car park, not very busy

We set off over the bridge and followed the track slightly uphill, on arriving at a sort of gate, one of those bars across the track, we then turned right and headed uphill leaving the easy walking track behind. Now the going gets tough, we were trudging uphill over snow covered forestry debris, doesn't sound too bad but we had no idea what we were stepping on, tree stumps were obvious but the rest was a guessing game.

We opted for the more substantial bridge to the left of this

Demonstrates how cold it had been

We would turn off the track just after the tree line

The way up and ahead

Looking back

George loving the terrain

George almost reaching the normality of the track

The way ahead, we didn't opt for the obvious fire break, we took a left turn just before it

The way ahead, can see the sky ahead through the trees so can't be that bad

George loving the deep snow whilst ascending

Still looks OK ahead

Soft fluffy snow

Let the fun begin, cue the obstacle course - over, under or round?

We opted for the latter - round, so it was into the forest

More obstructions ahead

Over under or round?

Over under or round?

We opted for quite a few rounds

As we were getting diverted by all the obstacles and not exactly losing our way we stopped to see exactly where we were in relation to the summit, I knew we weren't too far from the summit and had 3 different routes plotted on my phone. I got my map out of my bag and George gave me the co-ordinates from his GPS and it transpired we were less than 400m from the summit - sounds easy but when trees block the way it isn't long before you lose your sense of direction. Re-assured we set off again.

Action shot of George battling the residents

This is an "over" one

Another elegant "over" one

Close to the summit now, soft snow hiding muddy ditches, George pointing one out to me

My feet were getting damp as the snow was coming over the top of my boots

George looking for and admiring the summit area

This lonely tree appeared to be just about the highest point

Looking south along the line of old fence posts

Looking north

After all the effort of reaching the highest point on Law Kneis we were totally deflated to find no reward on the summit, it would have been better if the monster cairn on Ward Law was on Law Kneis. We discussed descending and agreed that we definitely wouldn't be retracing our steps - with hindsight that would have been a much easier and better option.
We headed back following the fence posts and then started descending down a different fire break.

A sign of what lies ahead

More of the same



Now we got into a proper pickle, there were fallen trees everywhere and after assessing the situation we decided to literally walk along the fallen trees, looks easy but they were raised off the ground and as you can see covered in snow. Concentration and great care and the progress was very slow, we would walk along five or six fallen trees before eventually getting back on terra firma.

Trees everywhere

Action shot of concentration

Nearly on terra firma

Once we had navigated all the debris we knew we were near the edge of the forest.

Looking back to where we exited the forest

The way ahead, yet more uneven debris covered with snow, the safety of the track in the distance

The safety of the track

Storage box for 'hunters'

We decided to stay on the track all the way down, certainly longer in distance but we weren't bothered.

Once we reached the track the descent back down to the car didn't take too long, as we approached the river a few flakes of snow were falling and it was nearing 3.30. We had planned Cacra Hill which we knew was an easy up and down which would take about an hour, but the weather wasn't looking too clever and we were also concious of meeting the commuters round Edinburgh again, so we decided to tackle Cacra another day.

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Law Kneis route

Looking back this was a cracking day out on contrasting hills, it highlights that NO hill should ever be taken for granted, I did say to George before we set off that Law Kneis would be the difficult hill and it defintely turned out that way.
If anyone else is thinking of tackling Law Kneis WE would recommend sticking to the track and approaching the summit from the north.

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Comments: 1

A Biggar Trio

Attachment(s) Sub 2000s: Black Mount, Broomy Law, Goseland Hill
Date walked: 01/02/2018
Distance: 10km
Ascent: 670m
Comments: 1
Views: 110

Jungle Warfare in the Borders (again)

Attachment(s) Sub 2000s: Grange Fell
Date walked: 26/01/2018
Distance: 2.5km
Ascent: 195m
Comments: 5
Views: 254

A couple of easy hills south of Kelso

Attachment(s) Sub 2000s: Hownam Law, Linton Hill
Date walked: 13/01/2018
Distance: 9km
Ascent: 500m
Views: 159

Drumochter Eastern pair in the snow

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Munros: A' Bhuidheanach Bheag, Carn na Caim
Date walked: 07/01/2018
Distance: 20km
Ascent: 825m
Views: 20

Hart Fell Horseshoe 2nd time

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Date walked: 12/12/2017
Distance: 14km
Ascent: 1050m
Views: 25

Allermuir & Castlelaw Hill (2nd visit)

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Sub 2000s: Allermuir Hill
Date walked: 10/12/2017
Distance: 9km
Ascent: 600m
Views: 27

Broughton Heights

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Sub 2000s: Broughton Heights, Trahenna Hill
Date walked: 24/11/2017
Distance: 11km
Ascent: 615m
Views: 30

Meikle Bin

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Sub 2000s: Meikle Bin
Date walked: 11/11/2017
Distance: 10km
Ascent: 400m
Views: 32

Fife Flyer

User avatar
Location: Guess?
Occupation: Retired
Interests: Driving, cycling & music
Activity: Munro compleatist
Pub: None in particular
Mountain: The last one
Gear: Walking poles
Camera: Fujifilm
Ideal day out: Anywhere as long as the weather is half decent
Ambition: To stay safe

Munros: 71
Corbetts: 44
Grahams: 34
Donalds: 89
Hewitts: 2
Sub 2000: 45

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Joined: May 15, 2013
Last visited: Feb 17, 2018
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