Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Hods Hill & 3 surronding Donald Deweys

Walk Summary
Follow fence down from Hods Hill
then reascend Mosshope Bank left & centre
A brief excursion out of Area 28 to tackle my first Marilyn in area 27. Hods Hill is really the only one in that area within driving distance of the trips base at Moffat Camping and Caravanning Club Site.
A brief excursion because it is just one day, but at 9.78 miles not so brief in distance compared to other walks on this trip.
As well as being a Marilyn, Hods Hill is also a Donald Dewey, but by walking an anti-clockwise route rather than the planned clockwise I was able to visit 2 extra Donald Deweys making 4 in total but also a 5th TUMP for just an extra 2 miles on top of the planned route.
Yet another example of how easy it is to lose the trips focus of Marilyns in area 28:The River Tweed to the English Border and to start gorging on the strawberry of the 60 Marilyns in area 27: South-West Scotland. But like the elephant of the 1556 Marilyns of Great Britain you have to start somewhere.
But why bother with Donald Deweys or even TUMPs?
Well you never know if you may start working on that list as well.

Other walks on this trip
25th Whitfell & Black Combe
26th Whitbarrow, Gummer's Howe & Top o'Selside
28th Dodd (Lorton)
29th Birkside & Hunt Laws
01st The Wiss
02nd Hods Law & surrounding Donald Deweys
03rd Law Kneis & Ward Law
06th Croft Head & Scaw'd Law
08th Four Marilyns between Moffatt and Berwick
10th The 100th English Marilyn

Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 02 December 2015
Walkers - Steve Smith

Accommodation - Moffat Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Start Point - Small layby on B7076 opposite works access to A74(M) (GR - NT03420 12142)
Start Time - 12:08
Finish Point
 - Small layby on B7076 opposite works access to A74(M) (GR - NT03420 12142)
Finish Time - 16:35
Duration - 4hrs 27mins
Average pace - 2.20mph
Distance Walked - 9.78miles
Height Ascended - 664.69metres

Peaks visited
Munro (282)
Murdo (443)

Corbett (221)

Graham (224)

Marilyn (1218S - 1552E,W&S))

Hods Hill (52S - 174E,W&S)
Hump (2168S - 2976E,W&S)

Hods Hill (65S - 251E,W&S)
Donald Dewey (248)
Wintercleuch Hill (8)
Hods Hill (9)
Beld Knowe (10)
Mosshope Bank (11)
S: Scotland. 
E,W&S:England,Wales & Scotland

GPX can be downloaded from

Walk Description
The days unscheduled Donald Dewey - Beld Knowe.
It would be rude not to.
Gambling on the weather forecast being correct and that it really would stop raining by lunch time I set off just after midday in steady rain and was nearly put off at the first hurdle. Across the bridge over the fast flowing Harthope Burn I could see a lock and chain on the gate to Harthope House. Thinking about heading back to the van and looking for an alternative crossing I thought I would check the gate anyway.
Amazingly the lock clasp was not closed, so why not check with the house if it was OK to gain access to the planned route behind the house. Approaching the house all windows were open and it was obvious it was in the middle of a major renovation so maybe in the future this will not be a viable access route. 
Behind the house was a bridge over the main east coast rail line and access to the track heading uphill alongside Harthope Burn towards Wintercleuch Hill.
Weather refusing to follow script during approach to turbine 
on Wintercleuch Fell near the head of Glenthirston Burn
Not quite straight forward as the ford over the burn was in flood and after checking there was not a dry route over I quickly waded calf deep the 5 or 6 steps to the other side, managing to avoid any ingress of water over the top of my boots due to the tight wrapped new Alpine gaiters.
Continuing towards the left side of the wind farm on Wintercleuch Fell the weather seemed to ignore the improving forecast in the form of low cloud on the summit and almost obscuring the wind turbines I was using to keep me heading in the right direction. But by the time I was at turbine house near the summit the weather did improve allowing sight of Hods Hill and good visibility for the rest of the day.
Reaching  Hods Hill at 14:10 I could see the two extra unplanned Donald Deweys of Beld Knowe and Mosshope Bank and while I am not pursuing this list (yet) my strengthening peak bagging instincts would not allow me to ignore them with bright winter sunshine and at least two hours of daylight remaining.
Always satisfying to return to walk start/end point
after day alone in the hills with just enough daylight left
That is not to say I am losing my new found wisdom to not overdo things or losing focus on the trip objective of concentrating on Marilyns. The bad weather and lost walking days had allowed me to recover ensuring the extra miles would strengthen me rather than weaken or aggravate tired recently injured recovering muscles. Also there was not an option to do another Marilyn today.
By 15:50 I had visited both Donald Deweys and managed a return route over the TUMP Camping Hill. With daylight fading fast all I had to do now was head down hill and back to the van. Not a time for complacency or thinking the day is over because you can easily turn an ankle in these conditions. However after heading away from Harthope House 4 hours earlier, apart from the wind farm I had seen no other people or evidence of mankind. So crossing the final ridge and seeing the line of pylons and vehicle lights on the A74 is one of the most satisfyiing feelings and reasons why I enjoy hill walking so much 

More Photographs
On way down Wintercleuch Fell looking south towards the days Marilyn - Hods Hill
Click on photograph to view slide-show

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