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]

Sunday, 5 May 2019

Sunday 5 May - Dun Rig and Friends (NT253315; 744m)

The walk that got deferred from Friday to Saturday (for a better weather forecast) got deferred again to today when I discovered, on Friday evening, that there's a parkrun in Peebles. With Scottish parkruns not kicking off until 9.30am, and with the weather forecast being better in the morning than the afternoon, waiting another day for the walk seemed like a better plan than fitting both in.

Thus, at about 9 this morning, we left Bertie at the end of the Glen Road in Peebles and set off up the Cross Borders Drove Road, which took us past Kailzie Hill and over Kirkhope Law, before it veered off down to Traquair and we continued on the well-trodden line along the ridge, over Birkscairn Hill and Stake Law to our true objective of Dun Rig.

The initial climb towards Kailzie Hill had seen us de-jumpering and for a good while I happily walked along in baselayer and windshirt, with a baseball cap on my head and just fingerless mits protecting my hands. Then, just before the climb up Birkscairn Hill the wind turned slightly, picking up pace a little too, and it was as if we had been plunged into the arctic. The forecast did say we would be experiencing -7 whindchill up there today and that's exactly what it felt like. Even with my jumper, beanie and full gloves back on, I didn't overheat on any of the subsequent climbs. Every now and then a few flakes of snow drifted past us, but not enough to amount even to a light flurry.

I did also walk over various grassy lumps, approx 65m SW of the trig, to make sure I'd visited the highest point.

The plan had been to drop down to the glen after Dun Rig and walk back along the track down there, but with the ridge on the west side of the glen now visible to us, it looked like the nicer route, so we continued up high.

After a boggy section between Dun Rig and Glenrath Heights, a relatively sheltered spot was found for lunch just before the climb up Middle Hill. The sun even came out for ten minutes or so at the end of our break/beginning of our climb - the only sunshine we had all day.

At Hundleshope Heights there was a failure to navigate. We followed the trodden line and continued along it for a while before I looked at the landscape around us and realised we weren't headed towards the intended descent route. A few hundred metres of wading through heather ensued, during which Mick pointed out that the land around us was clearly being managed as grouse moor, yet we hadn't seen a single grouse. In fact, we hadn't seen more than a handful of birds at all. In fact, save for a couple of sheep and hares, all animal life had been absent, all day.

A good track* - pity we didn't follow it right from the top of the hill!

Once down in the bottom of the glen it was just a couple of kilometres or so on a good track (the latter section being tarmac) back to Bertie. We arrived there having walked exactly 14 miles. I haven't counted contours to work out ascent, but (unusually) both of our Fitbits agree that there was 3000' of up.

It was a good walk and undoubtedly vastly superior to my originally plotted route of and out and back using the track along the bottom of the glen. A shame that we didn't have a bit more sunshine (per the forecast), and a bit more warmth as early May deserves, but at least it was dry and we had good visibility.

(*A good track, except that it was booby trapped with a pointy rock sticking out of the left hand tread at a point where I was looking somewhere other than at my feet. I caught the underside of my heel on that rock and crashed to the ground with great speed and quite some force. I suspect I'll be a bit bruised in places tomorrow.)


  1. Replies
    1. Ouch indeed. My neck and shoulders were particularly disapproving of my ground-diving antics. At least I did it with sufficient time to recover before Friday.