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]

Saturday 21 April 2018

Scaw'd Fell and Lamington Hill

Scaw'd Fell (NT149028; 549m)

A stop for supplies in Moffat preceded us parking Bertie neatly a few miles away on the A702. There a substantial second breakfast was had, or perhaps a ridiculously early lunch, to fortify us for a jaunt along the Southern Upland Way* to Scaw'd Fell.

Scaw'd Fell doesn't sit on the Way, but it's not too far distant and an old forestry track led us out of the trees and onto its rounded expanse of heather and tussock. The going, whilst a little damp, was easy enough, with a vague trod to follow, and before long we were taking summit photos and admiring the lumpiness of our surroundings, set off beautifully by the blue sky.

I was all for taking a different, shorter, way back, but Mick favoured returning the way we had come (whether this was because he was after a longer walk, by way of training, or whether he doubted my assertion that we wouldn't have a problem getting back through the trees on my preferred descent route, I know not), so that's what we did.

It didn't strike me that Scaw'd Fell was a popular hill, but an ascending group of four was met as we went down and they confirmed that was their objective.

We arrived back at Bertie exactly 3 hours after we left, having covered 9.8 miles with around 500m of ascent. The speed surprised us, but we had been mainly on good tracks, and the ascent was spread fairly evenly across the distance.

(*We walked the SUW in 2014 (I think - time does fly, so I could have the year wrong), but as we passed this hill we were on a different hill across the valley, so there's no kicking myself for omitting this one at the time.)

Lamington Hill (NT001304; 492m)

Whilst I had this hill pencilled in for today, I wasn't sure that my shins were going to thank me for doing it. I could easily have deferred it until tomorrow too, as I've only got one top on the agenda then. However, the persuasive factor towards sticking with Plan A was that the weather was fantastic today and isn't forecast to be so tomorrow.

Mick only joined me for the first few hundred metres of the outing - at my request for fear that I was going to encounter a farmyard with dogs - and in sitting it out he missed a lovely summit and excellent views in today's good air clarity.

If my legs hadn't been weary and my shins hadn't been screaming, I'm sure I would have run the return leg. As it was I just strode out as fast as those shins* would permit and got back to Bertie a smidge more than an hour after I had left, having covered 3.2 miles with 300m of up.

(*This is not, I hope, any cause for alarm. My shins always become painful when I've not been up any hills for even a few weeks. Provided this is no different from usual, I'll likely be forced to rest for a day or two soon, then hopefully they'll settle down for the rest of the trip. Please...)

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