October Day to the Southern Uplands near Moffat

"Donalds in the Clag"

Nine walkers met at Cathcart for this round of Donalds, with another eight making their own way to the main street of Moffat.  At the appointed hour of 9am, since there was no sign of Willie, or Steven and friends, the decision was made to take up residence in the 'Rumbling Tum' until everyone was present.  After teas, coffees, bacon rolls and pastries, and with everyone assembled, the now quiet tums headed for the start point at Capplegill on the A708 Selkirk road.  This local area had probably not seen the forecast for good weather, as the cloud was sitting firmly on the tops, and the wind speed was slowly increasing.

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Two of the group decided to stay at low level and opted to walk the round of St Mary's Loch .. the remaining 15 took to the hill at 10am for the initial ascent of Nether Coomb Craig.  As with most of the Uplands, the going can be tough .. no tracks and sometimes difficult terrain.  The group went into the clag at around 550m, and remained there more or less until descent at the end of the day.  The first top was reached, with yet another electric fence to cross, and the group continued above the cliffs towards Swatte Fell on a good ATV track.  Since the summit was out on a ˝km leg from the main route, some opted to wait and enjoy a sandwich, while others went out and back.  As if by magic, the clouds obligingly rolled away to reveal the hills .. and the onward route.  The others also took a break on their return, but as we prepared to continue towards Falcon Craig, the clag rolled right back in.

The group on Swatte Fell  In the clag on Hart Fell

The going had been pretty easy from Nether Coomb Craig, but after a little steep descent from Falcon, the route up to the summit ridge of Hart Fell was a bit of a slog.  After another food stop, the group moved off at various times to make the descent eastwards to Hartfell Rig and down into the broad col beyond.  Another short break in the clag showed the way across the moorland to the start of the ascent to Under Saddle Yoke .. no need for navigation, although the compasses and GPSs were all ready.  We did get brief views from Under, but the wind was now pretty strong, and the little traverse down and up to Saddle Yoke was a bit tricky.  About half way down the long descent to our start point, we emerged below the clag, and took the last short steep descent being entertained by a shepherd moving his flock across the hill entirely by whistling signals .. without dogs.  As the last few arrived back at the cars at 4.30pm, he drove past in his 4x4 and said "Oh aye .. the forecast hasnae been right here for a fortnight!".

Descent from Saddle Yoke

The Black Bull in Moffat was the next target, and after a couple of refreshments and some hot food, everyone returned home after a tough but enjoyable day in the Uplands.


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October Weekend to Mull

Gordon King becomes the Club's third Corbetteer

On the Friday Bob, Allan H, and Gordon climbed the Graham "Beinn Fhada" on Mull .. Willie didn’t climb the Graham but had a stravaig on the lower slopes of Ben More to keep his knee good for Saturday.  Tom, Louise and Ben also climbed the Graham after they abandoned an ascent of Ben More because they couldn't find a place to cross the burn safely .. they may possibly have started on the wrong side of the burn as Willie went up the path to 200m then contoured round to pick up the normal descent path OK.  Allan B tried to climb a Corbett in Moidart en route but hit lots of delays and ran out of time; Mark and Miriam visited Iona; and everyone else had a leisurely day, despite extremely wet conditions, driving and sailing from Oban to Mull.

The raging burn with Beinn Fhada behind  A drookit Beinn Fhada

We all met up at the Western Isles Hotel in Tobermory, where we were staying on Friday and Saturday nights, for an excellent 3-course dinner served by very nice staff at a table for 16 in the conservatory, which has a nice view over the bay and had a nice evening together.  Saturday started with an excellent breakfast.  Iris (my mum) stayed in Tobermory for the day as the hill was too easy for her (!?) and 15 of us and Ben set off to Craignure where we met Jim, who had come over on the ferry from Oban (2nd round of Corbetts Jim?).  After having firstly all driven past the wee road for our start point we then all set off up an access road which led to a 2nd radio mast at around 550m.  We then continued on up the ridge to a huge cairn and trig point at 754m where I shocked Gwen by saying it wasn't the summit!  Not much further along the ridge, which was steep on one side and swept away on the other, we approached the summit of "Dun da Ghaoithe"!  I wasn't allowed up to it until the welcoming party had sorted an archway of people, poles, and yes Bananas! (nice one).  I then got to climb this very impressive cairn.  Relief!  Jubilation!  I don't normally pose well for photos but made an exception here as Allan H had passed me the crowbar to get the smile off my face!!  Hunners of photos were taken and the big black cloud didn't come this time .. the weather was magic!  We then celebrated with some bubbly, cheesy oatcakes and shortbread and a piece of Chinese cake which my brother David had brought .. Ben loves oatcakes!  After taking in the stunning views Bob, Allan H, Andrew (my son) and myself added on the Graham "Sgurr Dearg", and the rest returned to meet back at Craignure, to which Jim had sprinted to catch a ferry back to Oban.

The summit's over there ...  Arriving at the summit  Gordon King completes the Corbetts on Dun da Ghaoithe  A celebratory refreshment is enjoyed ....  Cheers!  The Club Corbetteers  The group on Dun da Ghaoithe 

The view from Dun da Ghaoithe  On the summit of Sgurr Dearg  The cake  Cake, gifts and Mum

Some went to the Mishnish pub before meeting in the hotel for dinner.  I was going to the bar when I noticed something that left me speechless .. "THE CAKE".  Thanks Heather and co!  I had to get a specialist to cut it (Miriam), and a special photo was taken of my Mum, David, Andrew me and "THE CAKE".  I then got some very special presents which are in pride of place .. many thanks!! A great night was had by all again after another lovely meal.  On Sunday it was time to leave after breakfast, and thanking the staff most got the 11am ferry (Ian and Iris a later one) where some restocked with more cake and returned to Oban from where you could clearly see the whole route of "Dun da Ghaoithe".  The King family spent some time in Oban including watching the old firm match.

That's the one ...


Gordon King

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