Sunday, 19 July 2015

Dundreich, 622metres, Portmore Loch, Moorfoot Hills.

                                             ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN.
July, as usual, has been an unpredictable month so far but sometimes magical weekends do occur and this is one. We had been invited by our friend Mike to a private bothy run by the BBA. As it was bang in the middle of an area I love and good weather was forecast I was keen to go on this weekend trip.
Left early on Saturday morning on what turned out to be a glorious day with the intention of bagging a hill first.
As usual I left it to Alex to pick the hill as I know he wouldn't like my choices. Hills for Alex and most other walkers are divided into Munros, Corbetts, Grahams, Donalds, Marilyns, then Furths, Nuttalls, Hewitts,Wainwrights, Birketts, Deweys, Hardys, Humps, Tumps, County High Points etc. etc... the list goes on. I think Dundreich, at 622 metres,  is a Donald but I'm not 100 percent on that.
Hills for me these days are divided into boring hill/ interesting hill to make things much simpler. To his credit Alex knows this and tries to pick interesting hills from the lists. Dundreich, on this day of sunny skies and light winds was an interesting hill. As it sits on the steep western edge of the Moorfoots, not far from Peebles, I was expecting reasonable scenery, having cycled though the Gladhouse Reservoir area a few times on the minor road network and enjoyed views of this high grassy escarpment.
The walk in starts from a small layby on the yellow minor road at Westloch with the farm track into Portmore Loch. You can also do this hill from the village of Eddleston, which is equally scenic, both routes are on Landranger Map 73. Peebles. 10 to 12 km, 4 to 5 hours depending on pace. We took around 4 and a half at an easy pace.
Although not well known this is a delightful circular walk and we both enjoyed it. That doesn't always happen. Round the east side of Portmore Loch then straight up Loch Hill to Dundreich summit on a faint grass path.
Cotton grass or bog cotton was everywhere on this hill, giving it a magical feel and we soon gained the summit despite it being higher than the neighbouring Pentland Hills which mostly top out at 500 plus metres.
As we climbed higher views opened out onto typical borders scenery for this region. The Peebles map is one of my favourites as this area is special, scenery wise.
It has a great blend of rolling hill tops, arable farmland, woods and meadows, with higher 2000 plus summits off in the distance.
We spent a good half hour on the warm summit having something to eat then headed down the south ridge to Northshield Rings, an ancient fort and settlement, the circular remains of which can still be seen under the heather.
Really enjoyable walking throughout with constantly changing views and nice pastel light. Portmore Loch below.
A few Scots pine before the track round the loch. Alex looking back up the hill here.
A busy farmer, is there any other kind, working the land.
The road into our bothy accommodation. Not a secret one as you can book it for around £5 quid a night which gets you the key but I'll not name it here.
A very special bothy it turned out in a great area and a cracking night was to follow...
To be continued....

Good quirky song and great vocals. Heard this around 5 year ago and instantly liked it. Very different.


Kay G. said...

"A busy farmer, is there any other kind" are so right, you must have met my 88 year old Dad!
What beautiful photos, I think magical describes them very well.
And the song...oh dear, the singer is very pretty! :-)

Linda W. said...

That's why we climb to high places, for the views! You found some nice ones here. And yes, I agree, I only like to hike the interesting hills. :)

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Kay,
I was lucky with the sunset shot as I've not had pink reflections before,aiming straight at the sun.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Linda,
The Scottish Border Region in that area is lovely, further down towards England it gets wilder and more rugged but not as pretty in a photographic sense.

Neil said...

The BBA look after some nice bothies. I've been in that one a couple of times. Dundreich is a fine hill, it was one of my (almost) local hills when I stayed in Edinburgh.

Carol said...

Sounds a good trip and is a lovely area - me and Richard are hoping to do much more in that area in future years (when I've finished bagging).

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Neil,
Yeah, that's a cracker of a bothy in a very scenic glen. Dundreich was a much better hill than expected as I've climbed a few bowling balls in the centre of the Moorfoots that seemed to go on forever. Makes all the difference being on the edge of the range looking over a wide fertile valley.

blueskyscotland said...

Hello Carol,
It's one of my favourite areas in Scotland and much quieter than the highlands. You can walk for days up hills and never see anyone.Car parks are empty with faint grass paths from minor roads to summits on most of the hills. An undiscovered Eden without the pull of Munros to suck visitors in. The land of Corbetts,Grahams.Donalds and Marilyns,... that's the new frontier.
Just think, 1216/1217 Scottish Marilyns to bag and over 2000 in the UK :o)

Carol said...

I'm going nowhere near Marilyns - I think that's a really silly list when you see some of the stuff on it!

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol,
I thought that as well but the ones I've done so far have been highly enjoyable with stunning views and the weather is usually better, being lower down. I'll never finish them but the quest is greater than the prize. Like life really in that respect.

Carol said...

I'm sure I'll do SOME Marilyns if they're nice ones... just not the dreary ones down in the South of England and suchlike - although, if any of them are things like the South Downs in East Sussex, I've probably done a few already. A bit like Hewitts - I've probably done loads of them but not looked at the list yet.

Ian Johnston said...

Lovely stuff Bob, and given the mission statement of aiming to climb hills on blue sky days, it must have taken a leap of faith (and a solid forecast) to plan a hill called Dundreich in this dreich month! :o)

Kind regards

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Ian,
A misnamed hill on this occasion as it has to be one of the better circuits in the Moorfoots on a nice day.