East Face of Sell Moor Hill

Sub 2000s: Sell Moor Hill

Date walked: 31/07/2020

Time taken: 2.5 hours

Distance: 10km

Ascent: 260m

The east face of Sell Moor Hill is one of the great last problems of Scottish hillwalking. The north access is a cliche with five out of six of the recorded completions on that side. Barring the tricky entry to the field, over the fence and round the fir tree, this is a route sadly lacking in challenge over its one kilometre length. The sixth account, https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=57982 by nigheandonn, uses the Border Railway to assault the terrifying west face (pictured here from a trip into the Moorfoots last year.)
pic 1 590.jpg
Summit over the T-shaped wood

An outing as a horse labourer gave me the opportunity I sought. They were riding on Lauder Moor and I swapped light shite-shovelling for a lift to the car park. One of the tricky elements of the east face is the anonymity of the hill - in fact I never really saw the summit till I was 10 metres away. Anyway I headed on to the moor then turned west to face the notional position. I pointed the camera in an approximate direction. Thoughts of Rum Doodle came to mind, "Will it go?".
pic 2 590.jpg

I made speedy progress on good tracks till I crossed the track to Allanshaws. I'd meant to follow this for a kilometre and strike on up through the woods. However I got timorous about a huge herd of cattle and possibly climbing dry-stane dykes, so I went parallel to the road. This gave me one dyke to cross and I looked for a gate. When I reached it, it turned out to be nailed shut. I went on the broken bit of wall, over the first barbed wire strand then under the second.
pic 3 590.jpg
Then I retrieved my bag which had hooked up on the way.

Once through I was ambushed by bog and tussock and detoured to avoid a nasty swamp. Somewhat bothered, I achieved the summit. It's got decent views of Eildon and Deaf Heights stretching up to Windlestraw.
pic 4 590.jpg
I returned down the tourist track and then across the road and down a fine green track. My pleasure was only lessened by fairly constant attacks by clegs. Back, I felt smug that I'd not done a mere two kilometres and I'd not had a drive way out of proportion to the walk, in contrast to the baggers. Of course a seven ton horse box is faily showering particulates across the countryside, but that goes to the rider's account, not mine.
pic 5 590.jpg

It could be argued my north east approach didn't truly conquer the east face. I leave that challenge to another, more intrepid generation.

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Activity: Mountain Walker
Pub: Hudsons, East Kilbride
Mountain: Foinaven
Place: Glen Affric
Gear: Altberg Boots
Ideal day out: Epic ridge walk

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Distance: 10 km
Ascent: 260m
Sub2000s: 1


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Joined: Jul 15, 2011
Last visited: Sep 28, 2020
Total posts: 182 | Search posts