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]

Monday 14 June 2021

Craiglee (NX461801; 531m)

Start:Bruce's Stone Car Park, Glen Trool
Sunday 13 June
Distance: 14.8km
Ascent: 590m
Weather: Disappointing!

I awoke to wall-to-wall sunshine, but didn't spring out of bed as is my wont. With only one hill on the agenda today there was no rush.

I'd convinced Mick to come with me, on the basis that most of the outing was on a track (on the route of the Southern Upland Way, so one that we've walked before). Once off the track I didn't expect the going to be hard, and even suggested to Mick that we might find a vague trodden line.


About 15 minutes in we noticed that all of the blue sky had now gone and that a cloud was sitting over the top of Lamachan. Surely just a passing low cloud, and the sun would be back any moment.

Then it started to rain. Just the lightest of drizzle at first, being blown on the wind. It didn't trouble us to don anything waterproof until we came to leave the track after 5km, to head across country to our objective.

The next 4.5km, out-and-back to that same point, were awful, with terrain that made the monster tussocks, dead grass, heather and bog of two days ago look okay. Here we had an entire hillside (right the way up to the trig point) that had been heavily pitted by cattle, leaving tussocks of varying sturdiness. Add in the new growth of grass, so you couldn't really see what you were standing on, and it made for ankle twisting, lurching progress, both upwards and down. The great stone slabs further up should have been of benefit, but whereas the rock had been exceptionally grippy yesterday in the dry, today it had random greasy patches that made me distrustful of stepping on any of it. What a choice: falling off unstable tussocks and lurching along, or slipping on rock. Walking poles would have been a good idea.

Part way through all this, we ascended into the cloud, such that we couldn't see where we were going, the rain got heavier and the wind picked up.

This was not living up to my preconception of the outing!

We lingered at the trig point for long enough to snap a couple of photos and for me to shove a hot cross bun in my mouth whilst Mick dug out his warm hat and gloves. 
Regaining the forest track coincided with the rain stopping, and with much of the return being downhill, we warmed up by jogging it.

You may recall that I gave passing thought to adding today's hill onto the end of yesterday. I now know that the descent to the forest track would have been a bit of a killer at the end of a long day, but at least I would only have had to contend with that terrain in one direction - and I would have enjoyed the top in the sunshine. So, with hindsight, I should have made the effort yesterday!

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