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New Year Walk near Abington .. in the clag!

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The 17-strong team met up at the Abington Services on the M74. When everyone had arrived .. and after a round of "Happy New Years" .. it was on to the long stay car park in Abington to minimise the number of cars to be left at roadside parking on the B797 at the walking start point. As it turned out, we could just have met there, as there was plenty of space between the two available areas .. ho hum, bit of a waste of time, but noted for the future. Willie had to be down in Moffat in the afternoon, so decided on a short solo trip directly from the Abington car park.

The now 16-strong team set off on the road to Glencaple farm, then began the steepish ascent of Craig Dod on the good bulldozed track. At 444m high, it was just tipping the clag, and the short descent and steepish pull up to the summit of Ravengill Dod at 538m took us well into the clag .. that windy and drizzly condition so typical of the Southern Uplands. The first to arrive took shelter in the shooting butt at the summit .. these hills are commercial grouse moor, with grit bins in evidence all along the route .. but the only thing they were shooting today was the breeze until the others arrived. After a summit photo, it was on to Coom Dod and then to Wellgrain Dod at 555m, where the customary New Year nip and cake were postponed until we had descended below the clag.

On Ravengill Dod  On Ravengill Dod  In butt number 1

Just beyond the summit, James led the group off the track and on to the heathery north ridge of Wellgrain for the descent to Glengonnar Water. Fortunately the heather was fairly short, and we surprised quite a few grouse who were cooried in at their favourite spots. When we arrived at the line of shooting butts above the Water, and well below the clag, we had a quick break for food, cake and hipflask nips with the group divided between butts numbered 1, 2 and 3. Then it was onto the good track by the Water for return to the cars. Everyone opted to head for home rather than drive to the Colebrooke Arms, probably because a complete change of clothes would have been required to be comfortable and presentable after a very wetting route. We'll maybe try this in the reverse direction on a summer's weekday and get some views ....?

GPS data for the walk:  12.4km (7.7mls) distance; 358m ascent; 4hrs 03mins (3hrs 24mins walking)

Willie reported: "From the car park I walked along the road then up the track to the radio mast. From there I went over Castle Hill and Raggengill Hill using various ATV tracks to get to the old Roman road which took me back to the road near Southwood Farm and followed it back to the car park. A good wee walk, mostly below the clag with a brief passing shower and a brief spell of sunshine".

GPS data for his walk:  9.5km (6mls) distance; 330m ascent; 2hrs walking time


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January Weekend to Newtonmore

The January weekend trip saw us return to the Newtonmore Hostel.

On Friday, Allan, Bob and Heidi drove straight to the hostel from where they made a direct ascent of Creag Dhubh (756m GR NN678972). The route finding on the descent proved easier than the ascent. Willie broke his journey with a walk to the radio mast and Meall Ruigh nam Biorag (544m GR NN 655904)) near Crubenmore, and James and Susan had a walk around Loch an Eilein at Rothiemurchus.

Gerry and Christine drove up via Spean Bridge and joined the Friday walkers for a meal in the Glen Hotel. Last to arrive were the workers .. Justin from the north and Ally and Cat from the south.

On Saturday, Ally and Cat made a tour of the three Monahdliath Munros (Carn Sgulain, A’ Chailleach and Carn Dearg) while James headed down Glen Feshie from Auchlean to the remote Corbett, Carn Dearg Mor. Allan, Bob, Gerry and Justin headed to Corrie Ardair where their attempt to reach Stob Poite Coire Ardair by way of The Window was thwarted by deep snow. Willie set off from the Hostel to climb Geal Charn (766m) and a different Creag Dhubh (787m GR NN 728036).

On Creag Dhubh  Below the Window

Meanwhile, Christine, Heidi and Susan walked the Badenoch Way from Newtonmore to Kingussie before returning by local bus.

With everyone safely back at the Hostel before dark, we had the now traditional haggis, neeps and tatties accompanied by Bob’s soup and Christine’s cheesecake.  A few whiskies may also have been sampled.

As the weather on Sunday was not as accommodating as the previous two days, low level walking was in order. Ally, Cat, Gerry, Christine, James and Susan headed to Loch an Eilein; Allan, Bob and Heidi walked from the Hermitage up to Rumbling Bridge; and Justin and Willie headed home.

Once again, the Newtonmore Hostel proved a warm and comfortable base for a winter weekend trip.

James Anderson

"But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed ....."

The group  Susan Anderson  Haggis, neeps and tatties  Cheeseboard  Burns Songs

It was a convivial evening (on Saturday).  Bob gave the Selkirk Grace; Justin Addressed the Haggis; I did a call and response version of Tam O'Shanter; Christine recited John Anderson My Jo; then after the hearty meal Gerry and Willie led an excellent sing-song of Burns songs and more, which continued late into the evening as we sat around the log-burning stove.

Susan Anderson

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