It has been a month since we were last in the hills, so my legs had gotten use to the easy life. Time to get some altitude, and the Lowther Hills seemed like a good idea with a circuit from Enterkinfoot on the A76 beside the River Nith up to East Mount Lowther. We’ve climbed this Donald before from the easier Wanlockhead side and the views were stunning, so we were looking forward to the view with our lunch. Unfortunately, the rain thought otherwise – probably just a result of me saying only a month ago that the weather was always great in this area: I should learn to keep my mouth shut. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
There is something about the name “Rhinns of Kells” that is just lovely. A quick check through my beautifully arranged and catalogued photo collection shows that it is 5 days short of four years since I last walked on this ridge and it was long overdue for a repeat. Last time I did it on my own 1, but today I had two companions: Stuart and her Jazzness. Both had been making noises about doing “The Rhinns” for months now and today was the day. This time was special because we were aiming to do the whole thing from [place name=’Coran of Portmark’] down to [place name=’Meikle Millyea’] in one jaunt.
- Jazz being but a twinkle in her Dad’s eye ↩
Mullwharchar apparently comes from the Gaelic meall na h-adhairce meaning “big lump of granite sitting in the middle of nowhere” (I’m paraphrasing here). It’s the remoteness rather than its height that makes this a challenge (although it is a Donald). No matter which way in, it’s a slog. Jazz and I did a reconnaissance back in January using the route over the Wolf Slock and thought a trek in from Glentrool would be the better bet. Well, today was the judge – and, guess what, we were right – just. Continue reading
In our quest for hillwalking pleasure, Jazz and I headed further east to Annandale just north of Moffat to do a lovely circuit taking in Hart Fell and the Devil's Beef Tub. This is a lovely part of the world with the next batch of Donalds that we need to do. They had always seemed too far away for a day trip but it turned out the M74 makes them closer in time than some of the places in South Ayrshire. Continue reading
We’d tried to walk these hills last year but a strong wind made me worried that Jazz’s ears would catch a strong gust and she’d end up on the Antrim coast. Now we were back, but still the wind was pretty strong. Only later did I discover that Curleywee comes from the Gaelic cor na gaoith meaning “point of the wind”. So it would be a windy day – but the good thing is: it would be a warm wind! Incredible to remember that only a fortnight ago we were in multiple layers in the snow: today it was shorts+T-shirt with SPF15 liberally applied. Continue reading
This was third-time lucky at starting this walk: previous attempts thwarted by bad weather: what has become known as “The Curse of Miller”. 1 But today the sky was blue and the sun shone 2 and Spring was definitely just around the corner. Continue reading
Have you ever listened to silence? Not just the quietness you get when the resident teenager switches off her music, but real silence. The sort of silence where the auditory part of your brain goes “Who pulled the plug out?”. Well, that’s what I got today on Shalloch on Minnoch. The sort of silence when there is no wind, water, insects, birds, planes, cars, people, or mad Spaniels doing something noisy and stupid. After a few minutes even the blood in your ears calms down and you hear: nothing. It’s rare and magical. Continue reading
Queensberry is a Donald and was the last in the Thornhill area that we needed to do. It looked pretty dull from neighbouring hills so it was left. Mistake. Although the hill itself isn’t great, the walk has lots of interest – in particular the cairns. It is also on the edge of the lovely Forest of Ae and we got great views over this expanse of wilderness in the late afternoon sunshine. Continue reading
This hill gets overlooked when climbing the neighbouring Cairnsmore of Carsphairn because it is a bit on the dull side. Today was different as we thought we try out a different approach: instead of the tourist route up from Green Well of Scotland (NX556944) we would instead go up from Knockgray on the other side of Carsphairn. The B729 doesn’t have any good parking spots on this part (and we certainly don’t block farm drives) so we parked at the war memorial in the village and walked up. It was beautiful day: cold with a lot of snow and ice around, but a cloudless blue sky – perfect.