Author Topic: Ettrick Horseshoe  (Read 173 times)

snoopdawg

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 251
Ettrick Horseshoe
« on: 19:34:39, 06/12/17 »
A 2 day trip that nearly didn't get off the ground. The intended day of travel Thurs 30/11 was a bad day in the NE of England. Heavy snow blanketed the coastal regions causing traffic problems and the weather gradually worked inland to where we were. I had been packed and ready to go and set off in worsening conditions around 1pm expecting to take a couple of hours to get up to Selkirk. The first port of call was the Hexham area which gives access to the A68 which normally takes 15 minutes but in the condition took 50 minutes. Knowing that the west was clear I gave the A68 a miss and headed off to Carlisle up the M74 up to Moffatt only to find that the road to Selkirk was closed!. The diversion was to go via Peebles and Innerliethen, quite a distance so I tried the road over Talla and Meggett reservoir's only to find it frozen over so the full diversion it was cutting over from Innerleithen to the Gordon arms and down into Ettrick, still driving at 17.30hrs. The things we do for a trip away!
Got parked up easy at the head of the bothy and took the pre packed backpack ,rucksack for the next day and fire starter logs for 2 days and began the walk up Over Phawhope bothy which is only 20 minutes up the forest tracks. Got to the bothy quickly and found it surprisingly warm at 7C even without the stove on. As the bothy was empty I selected the bottom bedroom figuring that the door was better at keeping the mice out than the top bedroom door. Unpacked I realised that I had left my "water of life" bottle in the car safely packed so it was a pleasant moonlit walk back to the car and return to the bothy. Now in for the night the stove was lit and the temp raised to 12C, quite pleasant considering it was frozen outside.
Over Phawhope Bothy
DSC01808
The days route was the Ettrick horseshoe, or one version of it. The route goes straight from the bothy door and ascends via a marked track up through the forest fire gap. I ascended quickly and I think I was on the top of Ettrick pen in about 1hr 10mins. From there it was a simple case of following the fenceposts over frozen ground to Hopetoun craig and then onto Wind Fell, the gradient never harsh. I wandered over to a cairn just shy of the top of Wind fell. I don't know the reason for it, or its positioning but it makes for a superb viewpoint

Looking down to OP Bothy from the forestry track up towards Ettrick pen

DSC01812
Top of Ettrick Pen

Looking west from Ettrick pen towards Wind Fell

Looking back towards Ettrick pen

Cairn just shy of Wind fell looking to Croft Head
DSC01816
 DSC01817
Same cairn looking to Hart Fell
From Wind Fell there is quite a drop down to the col before the gradual ascent of Loch fell where I met the only other Hillwalker of the day. The Donalds are a great secret, they are like the Cheviots, so accessible yet you rarely see anybody. From the top of Wind Fell I went over to the NW top and then the savage descent by the forest edge heading for the sheep shelter in the col before the steep ascent of Croft Head and return to the same point
Loch fell

DSC01821
View north towards Hart Fell
 DSC01822
DSC01823
Steep descent towards Croft head
From there the SUW is followed up to Ettrick Head and the grassy gradual ascent of Capel Fell is made. I could have continued on, onto the NE ridge and down to the bothy but I backtracked and went back to the SUW as I'm sure ill have a crack at it quite soon. Easy tracks made for a casual walk back to the bothy where I found Jim, his son Stuart and grandson Harvey in residence and with the fire on at 3pm. Loads of wood had been gathered and cut and they had brought coal. Unfortunately around 7 they decided to go home so I had the bothy to myself again but with all that wood and coal. Such hardship!
DSC01827
View back to Croft fell from Ettrick head
DSC01828 
Hart Fell from Capel fell
DSC01830
Saturday morning was not so great with lowish cloud and the threat of rain in the air. Walked back to the car with all my gear and drove around to the Grey Mares tail car park. The wind was strong in the glen as I started off up the steep slopes west of the waterfall onto SE slopes of White Coomb walking into the clouds at Rough Craigs. The weather didn't change on top. It started raining and the rain was driven by strong winds blowing from the north. Anybody who has been on these hills will know there is no shelter so you just get on with it. I had put an extra top on , on the top of White Coomb and such was the weather it didn't come off until the car park. I continued on onto Firthybrig head and made a detour to top Molls Cleuch Dod another Donald, before returning and ascending Lochcraig head before descending via the NE shoulder and then S to Loch Skeen following the fence.This was about the 6th walking trip I've had up to the Donalds and I've now done roughly a third. More trips are planned and more involving bothies.
DSC01832
Ascending the shoulder of White Coomb at Rough Craigs
DSC01837
Loch Skeen from the descent of Lochcraig head
« Last Edit: 19:54:48, 06/12/17 by snoopdawg »

April

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4646
Re: Ettrick Horseshoe
« Reply #1 on: 21:24:27, 06/12/17 »
Great report to go with more of your lovely photos  O0 It really does look a great area to hike.
"Who would've thought...... you are light and darkness coming through" words by Tim Armstrong

sunnydale

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7798
Re: Ettrick Horseshoe
« Reply #2 on: 11:57:14, 07/12/17 »
Lovely photos O0
***Happiness is only a smile away***

Ridge

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5342
Re: Ettrick Horseshoe
« Reply #3 on: 12:53:13, 07/12/17 »
Stunning photos  O0
As you say the things we sometimes do for a walk but usually well worth it.
Over hill, over dale. Thorough brush, thorough brier....
I do wander every where

adalard

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 859
Re: Ettrick Horseshoe
« Reply #4 on: 13:30:28, 07/12/17 »
Sounds like a great trip, after the initial slog getting up to Scotland. The views are stunning and you got fantastic photos.  O0  Thanks for sharing, enjoyed the TR.  :)

Islandplodder

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 376
Re: Ettrick Horseshoe
« Reply #5 on: 15:40:06, 07/12/17 »

Lovely walk.
I do remember a sinking of the heart when I realised how far you have to go down and up again at Ettrick Head.  Somehow, I had managed to think feet when reading metres, and it took a great of will to carry on round the ridge instead of going back down the SUW. I think you made the right call there!

redeye

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2376
Re: Ettrick Horseshoe
« Reply #6 on: 17:51:57, 07/12/17 »
Great photo's and a great read of an area I don't know, nice one  O0

henryb

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1120
Re: Ettrick Horseshoe
« Reply #7 on: 18:42:06, 07/12/17 »
Great report and photos - would that region be in the Trossachs or Cairngorms?

snoopdawg

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 251
Re: Ettrick Horseshoe
« Reply #8 on: 22:01:13, 07/12/17 »
Neither Henry. Its in the Borders nr Moffatt

April

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4646
Re: Ettrick Horseshoe
« Reply #9 on: 08:34:28, 08/12/17 »
Henry, it will be difficult to access Ettrick without a car I think, no public transport seems to go by it. There are buses to Moffat though, the hills around there are ones we will be exploring next year and where the Annandale Way starts.

Here are bus timetables for Dumfries area
http://www.dumgal.gov.uk/timetables

Here are the buses in the Scottish Borders
https://www.scotborders.gov.uk/info/20030/public_and_community_transport/94/bus_services

It does list a 911/912 Ettrick Valley service but the link doesn't work. Perhaps it runs in the summer?

Sorry for thread hijack Snoopdawg  :-[
"Who would've thought...... you are light and darkness coming through" words by Tim Armstrong

snoopdawg

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 251
Re: Ettrick Horseshoe
« Reply #10 on: 11:46:35, 08/12/17 »
No problem at all April, it's on topic and sharing info which is what it is all about. In fact you got me thinking about doing some multi day trips using public transport, train to Lockerbie, bus to Moffat. Henry didn't realise you were without transport, if you can carry a pack a walk of 10 miles along the SUW from Moffat will get you into this area. Post has shown a fair bit of interest in this area, might do some more posts

Seferix

  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 22
Re: Ettrick Horseshoe
« Reply #11 on: 11:56:37, 08/12/17 »
Great photos. The area looks amazing!
214 Wainwrights Completed Once, 173 a Second

Youtube Channel: www.youtube.com/channel/UCMk8fw1H8m1Mm8jl9kjaDLQ
Website: www.lakedistrict-walks.co.uk