February Day Trip to the Ettrick Hills
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6 members braved the elements for the February day trip to the Ettrick Hills. Bob, Ally, David and James met Heidi and Steven in Moffat before the short drive along to the Selcoth farm and fishery.
Full waterproofs were donned before starting the walk up the forestry track emerging at around 500m above Sailfoot Law. From here an unmarked ATV track led to the summit of Capel Fell (Donald and Graham, 678m). A short extension was made out to White Shank via Smidhope Hill before returning to Capel Fell. The drystone dyke along the ridge provided enough shelter for a brief stop before descending by our uphill route.
Views were limited in the low cloud base and the rain was fairly persistent throughout. However, the snow threatened on the MWIS forecast failed to materialise. A stop at the Rumblin Tum in Moffat for warming food and drinks was made before our return to Glasgow.
February Weekend to Fort William
On Friday, Allan, along with Cornel, picked me up and we headed for Fort William. The journey up was through a lot of surface water but we arrived at the Ben Nevis Hotel around 1.00 pm. As our rooms weren’t ready, we donned the waterproofs and boots and took the path from the hotel over the footbridge and on to the Great Glen Way. The River Lochy was very high and we were buffeted by the wind and rain as we walked to the canal. Arriving at Neptune’s Staircase, we had a coffee at the café.
After the break, we decided to walk to the end of the canal. The rain had stopped and by the time we reached the last lock, the waterproofs had dried out. The walk back to the hotel was again breezy and the area around the footbridge over the river had become flooded so we postponed a visit to Inverlochy Castle.
We got booked in and booked our time for dinner. Justin arrived in time to join us and the rest of our group gradually arrived at various times in the evening.
On Saturday, 9 of us had decided to walk from the hotel to Gairlochy. Justin went off to do a park run. After cars had been left at Gairlochy and the drivers returned, we set off again on the Great Glen Way. This time we were able to get under the railway bridge to visit Inverlochy Castle. Again buffeted by the wind, we made our way to the café at Neptune’s Staircase. After the break, we headed along the canal path with the wind at our backs. Occasional hail showers didn’t deter us. A diversion to view the Sheangain Aqueduct was made as well as searching for some geocaches along the way. A break was taken at Moy before completing the walk and recovering the cars for the return to the hotel.
On Sunday, as the weather seemed better, Allan, Cornel, Justin and I decided to tackle the Graham of Druim Fada (Loch Eil). The initial walk up through the forest was good but on the open slopes as we got higher the wind got stronger and there were a lot of snow showers. Around 600 metres we decided that continuing to the summit was not a good idea so we turned back. Once back at the forest, I took a couple of photos .. one of an unusually shaped tree .. before heading back to the cars and our journey home. Ally and Cat had intended to climb Gairich, but turned back before arriving due to the snow conditions. The rest of the group had all made their way home.
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