I somehow managed, having spent the whole of last week in a room with a plentiful supply of plug sockets, to leave Montrose with both of my laptop batteries flat. Careless! That has meant that I’ve not been able to look at my electronic maps, which in turn has meant that I’ve not been able to make any sort of a plan as to what to do beyond today (I’d come up with the plan thus far before leaving Montrose).
We are now at a campsite. The laptop is powered up, and I’ve spent a couple of hours plotting and contemplating – yet I still can’t decide whether to go to the Pentland Hills next and head home via the M6, or head for the Lammermuir Hills and go home via the M1. Decisions, decisions (gosh, I’m really not good at making decisions).
Anyway, before the campsite chores and the powering of devices, there were a couple of hills. Surprisingly nice hills too (I’m not sure why I didn’t expect either to be nice; maybe it was how they looked on the map?).
Mick didn’t much like the parking spot for Benarty Hill, so off I went by myself, almost immediately making a meal of the ascent as I walked back and forth trying to find the track I needed to get out of the forest. I didn’t find the track, but I did eventually find a path which led me nicely to the top of the forest, from where clear lines through the heather took me slightly circuitously to the summit. An excellent viewpoint, it was, and I enjoyed a few minutes up there before heading back down. I made a better job of the ‘down’ portion of the outing: I’d covered 1.7 miles in 45 minutes to get up, contrasted with 1.1 miles in 21 minutes to get back down!
Not dreadfully far away was Dumglow Hill, which was even worse for parking, although this time it wasn’t a litter-strewn lane (in fact the lane by the first hill had been one of the most litter-strewn and fly-tipped lanes I’ve ever seen) causing an uncomfortable feeling, it was a complete lack of parking for a Colin-sized vehicle at my chosen start point. Mick duly waited again (moving Colin when someone needed access to the gateway he was blocking), as I headed off.
With this hill being well protected by forest I had taken careful note of other people’s routes and knew that at the track end I needed to go: “35m left, 35m south, 300m right”, which seemed like an odd set of directions (why left and right rather than points of the compass?), but on the ground they made perfect sense and worked a treat.
Breaking out of the forest my objective was still hidden by trees, and it was a treat to finally catch sight of it standing proud before me:
A few minutes later I was on the top, waving down to Mick.
I resisted all urges to try out other breaks through the forest (short cuts make for long delays and all that), so retraced my steps … until I got back to the track when suddenly a good break on my right seemed too good to ignore. My instinct was (for once!) right, and it cut off a chunk of distance without throwing any obstacles or difficulty in my way, although I suspect that in a few weeks once the undergrowth has got a bit higher, it may be a less straightforward option.
The stats for the outings were incredibly similar: both were 2.8 miles long, but the second hill involved 100’ more ascent at 800’.
Now, what do you reckon? Pentland or Lammermuir Hills next?