The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Bogrie Hill and Fell Hill

A new day, a new location. We're down in Dumfries and Galloway now, which is where we will remain for the rest of this trip.

Bogrie Hill (NX789859; 432m)
I had intended to try a novel route (i.e. nobody else has been daft enough to try it) up this hill, purely for ease of access from the A702, avoiding any driving down little lanes. Then I read all of the trip reports telling of an easy ATV track from the usual start point and suddenly the little lanes seemed like a good choice after all.

The drive-in turned out not to be bad at all and as a bonus the parking place, which I hadn't even been able to see on StreetView, proved to be big enough for a Colin.

There’s not much to say about the hill. The ATV track was found exactly where I was told it would be (a good thing as, left to my own devices, I wouldn't have spotted it) and it led me all the way up to the summit.

The tyre marks through the tussocks were a little harder to follow in descent (or I just wasn't paying much attention), but I made it down regardless and on we went for my next hill, and a bit of an adventure...

Fell Hill (NX722844; 417m)

I had also decided to do this one from the A702, so as to save the detour along lanes to get to the usual start point. What I'd completely failed to notice until we got to my start point on the west side was that we'd been within a kilometre of the usual start (to the east) when we drove to and from Bogrie Hill. Mick offered to drive me back around there, but aerial photos had suggested that my route would go. Who knew? Perhaps I was about to find a much better way up this hill? Or maybe I was about to have an absolute 'mare. Either way, I insisted that I was going to find out.

I'd only made it about 100m from the road when I landed myself up to mid-thigh in a stinking pool of bog. It wasn't the best start (particularly as I'd worn boots; oh how I wished I'd chosen my usual mesh trail runners, which would have let the water back out). Alas, the going didn't get any better, even if it did get drier.

I was only half way up at the time I'd estimated for my arrival at the top, so duly texted Mick to convey that there was no way I was coming down the same way, whereupon he relocated himself to the other side of the hill.

The going outside of the forest was so bad (the usual rough terrain, but with monster tussocks, and reeds and grasses between hip and shoulder high) that I took to weaving my way between the trees. Contending with stuff like this...

...was much quicker and easier than the alternative wade through rough greenery.

That worked for a while but then I got to a new plantation, followed by an old but dense one, where I had no option but to fight my way up the break.

Here’s a photo looking back. What amused me was the presence of fire beaters in a place where there is no evidence that anyone has ever been daft enough to go. Except for the person who put them there, of course.

I was nearly at the top of the forest, and pitching about like a drunk, when suddenly a truck drove from left to right just above me at a speed that suggested a good driving surface. I came out on this...
...and was soon walking through a windfarm construction site.

After a few minutes I abandoned the road (not knowing where it went) for another upwards yomp, this time an easy one (as these things go) up to the summit. Gosh, I was pleased to be there!
Part of my decision to try to the west side of the hill had been based on a recollection of reports of the track on the east side being a wet approach. It turns out that it is newly upgraded, I think for forestry operations, rather than being the windfarm access. Thus, having resisted asking for a lift from the forestry man who was just leaving, getting down to the road was unexpectedly quick and easy.

It had taken me an hour and a half to get up the hill. My descent took half an hour, even though it was a little further. (4.2 miles total, with just 200m ascent.)

After all that, I decided against my third hill today!


  1. Am I allowed to laugh out loud? A little chuckle perhaps? A snigger? Excellent stuff, and all in aid of our amusement.

    1. Please do - it makes me feel better about slogging up a hill and falling in pools of water!