Lousie Wood Hill is a Donald stuck on the end of the Lowthers ridge and one we’d left for another day (the ones before it were dull and we’d got bored). This hill isn’t exactly going to get the excitement mounting, but it made for a pleasant walk, especially when tagged on to a wander over the moors to Leadhills on a sunny summer’s day.
We parked beside the pretty Elvan Water and headed up the hill track to Glen Ea's Hill. These hills are managed grouse moors and with the Glorious Twelth just a fortnight away it was nice to have a wander before the shooting brigade turn up. The signs for a successful season certainly looked promising as the hills were jumping with Red Grouse that drove Jazz mad as she ran everywhere trying to play with them: they weren’t very friendly – just flew off with their “go-back, go-back” scolding.
Our route took us around the flank of White Law and then up the pass between it and Lousie Wood Hill. These hills have round tops but their sides are steep, so it took quite a few stops to “admire the view” before we got to the top. Unfortunately the view was a bit hazy but we could spot Tinto Hill and Hart Fell on the other side of the M74 flowing beneath us, and the Daer Hills to the south. After Jazz got her photo next to the trig point (for her growing collection) we headed down the steep quad-bike path 1 towards South Shortcleuch farm. The friendly farmer here gave us a good suggestion for an afternoon walk over the moors on the other side and drop into Leadhills.
These moors around Wellgrain Dod are spectacularly unexciting but did give a good view over to the Lowthers. Here too the moors were jumping with Red Grouse to keep Jazz amused. The walk was easy on a good track that drops down near Leadhills: a quaint conservation village where all the houses 2 seemed to be up for sale. One place that was open was the Leadhill Miners' Library – the oldest subscription library in Britain, established in 1741. It had always been closed on previous visits so it was great to have a look around with a friendly curator explaining things. Well worth making a visit.
As keen athletes, Jazz and I know the importance of proper hydration and on a hot day like this it is essential to keep your fluid and electrolyte levels topped up. We were therefore delighted to discover that the Hopetoun Arms was selling the stuff in convenient pint-sized containers. Suitably hydrated we could head back to the car following the route of the old railway line. This is a nice flat track that skirts the hills as it drops down to Elvanfoot and makes for a pleasant stroll away from the road. The flat is broken at one point where there is a steep gully that was obviously once spanned by a viaduct but little sign of it now: Mr Wikipedia tells me it was the Rispin Cleugh viaduct that met an explosive end in 1991.
This was a very pleasant figure-of-eight around the Elvan valley. We picked up another Donald, chased thousands of Grouse, pottered about in Leadhills, and generally enjoyed ourselves. Once again we had lovely weather 3 and the few people we met were very friendly and helpful. Not a bad way to spend a day.
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