After the trauma of leaving my old hat at the top of Craignaw last week I obviously had to get an exact replacement. it turns out the new version is now Teflon coated which means it can be used as Jazz’s water bowl as well as its other functions. And we certainly needed it today because it was hot and dry. It seemed fitting that we try it out on a hill near where my old hat lives: a Donald called Larg Hill that we had to leave out due to lack of time when we were next door at Lamachan Hill and Curleywee. Continue reading
The last time we were in the Dungeon Hills we ran out of time to do Craignaw and so a return was needed: as this is a Donald we couldn’t leave it out. And contrary to your expectations, this did actually involve a modicum of planning. It needed to be:
- before the summer when the bracken in Glen Trool is awful;
- after a dry spell to avoid a mud bath;
- with a breeze to keep the insects at bay;
- on a decent day when I had a pass from my domestic servitude.
Well today was the confluence, and we had a great day, if a bit on the tough side. Continue reading
It’s a May Bank Holiday with decent weather forecast, so obviously we are into “avoid-the-crowds” mode. And where else but the Southern Upland Way (SUW) almost guarantees you’ll meet no-one the whole day? So our eyes were drawn to one of the longer stages that we still needed to do in the western half, and with the Missus offering to pick us up at the end, we were set for the section from Overfingland to Moffat. Continue reading
The last time I took a day off the government’s ONS said that the country slipped back into recession, such is my productivity. However, with a beautiful day forecast and everyone else working (i.e. watching the Olympics on iPlayer) I thought I could escape notice and so we headed for the hills. The target was a couple of Donalds near Culter Fell with an Iron Age fort thrown in for Jazz. We’ll just have to wait for the Q3 figures to see how much the economy suffered from our day in the sun. Continue reading
It was time for the annual summer Walking Challenge and this year Jazz, Stuart and I had decided on doing the Awful Hand range straddling the Ayrshire/Galloway border. But how to plan for the vagaries of the Scottish “summer”? Well, our approach was to have a curry, get out the diaries and say “How does the 14th sound to you?”. A simple and, as we’ll see, very effective strategy. After the success of last year other people are clamouring to join us, and so our party was joined by Archie, an ex-Olympic coach (seriously!) and so someone used to dealing with performance athletes such as ourselves. Continue reading
I was brought up in the Esk Valley with the Pentland Hills on one side and the Moorfoot Hills on the other. Probably because they are just round lumps the Moorfoots were somewhere I never walked. Time to rectify that, and even bag three Donalds into the bargain with a nice circular walk from Portmore Loch. It all started well, but then the rain set in and gave us a very soggy afternoon. Continue reading
Today for inspiration I opened Nick Wiliams’ excellent Southern Uplands guide with the intention of walking where it opened (so long as it looked interesting and wasn’t too far away, obviously). So step up Heatherstane Law. However, don’t try to find this on an Ordnance Survey map because there it is called Hudderstone. Clearly when the OS surveyor asked a local for the name of yonder hill their accent was a little on the strong side and the literal transcription made it into the database. Whatever name you use, it was a nice day out, and a good example of how quickly a guide-book can go out-of-date.
The map just south of Biggar goes all brown and contoury 1 and is an area we usually just drive passed. Well, a bit of winter planning came up with a route that takes in one of the bigger lumps, Culter Fell and a few of its friends in a nice circuit taking in four Donalds and so today my legs got a much-needed stretch on a beautiful Spring day. Continue reading
- I’m sure that’s a word. ↩
I’ve always liked the bit heading north on the M80 when Stirling comes into view and you can see the Ochils rising dramatically from the Forth valley. Today was our first time walking in these hills and it was tough. We did have a couple of clues. The first is the “rising dramatically” bit in the first sentence: we’d have to climb dramatically. The second was the map: our friends at the Ordnance Survey clearly couldn’t fit all the contour lines together so just used a big brown crayon to colour things in. Continue reading
As keen followers of these ramblings will know, our usual planning process involves a quick check of the maps on a Friday evening with a glass of Chilean red for company. Not so this time: the Brat had managed to persuade her Mother that a pre-University party wouldn’t result in the house getting trashed. Jazz and I spotted the warning signs very early and made plans a month in advance to clear out for three days walking well out of ear-shot. Today was the first day and we were doing a nice circuit of three Donalds starting at the Grey Mare's Tails between Moffat and Selkirk. Continue reading