Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Backpacking The Ettrick Hills

This was a walk which had been on @ianwood2011 and my radar for quite a while. The weather window was Mon/Tues of this week, and after an easy drive up through the Eskdalemuir Forest we parked beside the Ettrick Water near Crook Cottage.

Last minute checks to make sure we haven't forgotten anything!

Glad to leave the tarmac and start to gain some height on the South side of the valley.

The fist summit of the day as we head Southwest...ish was Ettrick Pen, a Donald, Marilyn and Graham.

It had been dull and overcast since we'd left the car, but as we descended Ettrick Pen the sun was trying to break through. 

Ian on the Donald Hopetoun Craig, with Ettrick Pen receding into the distance.

Last summit of the day Wind Fell, not particularly windy...but very wet underfoot!

A knee punishing descent over pathless tussocks brought us to the col of Ettrick Head.
Take ggood notice you'll see a very similar scene later on!

Following the Southern Upland Way down into the valley to Over Phawhope, an MBA Bothy.
In very good order....lets hope it stays that way.

We were carrying tents but as the bothy was unoccupied (although a cyclist did turn up later) we decided to take advantage of the stove and stay inside.

After a decent nights sleep we woke to dense mist/cloud. But it soon became clear that higher the sun would be shining.

Sure enough the inversion tarted to appear as we headed back up to Ettrick Head.

Back at Ettrick Head and time for the climb to Capel Fell.

Ian looking back towards the Ettrick valley, still filled with mist.

From the summit of Capel Head the view to the North meant we could see the hills North of Moffatdale.

Meanwhile West was Croft Head.

Looking North into Black Hope, Hart Fell being the high point.

Our route lay generally Northeast, the next hill being the Donald Bodesbeck Law.

A stiff climb up pretty pathless terrain and the summit arrived, this is the view North.

The broad ridge undulates (lots of them) Eastwards towards Mid Hill.

The next Donald is Bell Craig, from here White Comb is the hill above Loch Sween across Moffatdale.  

This is the summit of Andrewhinny Hill, the last "listed" hill of our trip. Another Donald, Marilyn, Graham.

Before we descended back to the Ettrick Water, we walked over to Mid Hill (another one) and its ancient cairn.

Mid Hill's Southeast ridge led us unerringly back to the valley and the car.
Fortunately it had a quad track for much of the way which made for quicker progress.
It had been a great trip, we only saw 1 person and his dog on the hill 30km of solitude, the Southern Uplands deserve a better press we thought.

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