Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Hart Fell and Broad Law

Broad Law summit
Monday, 1 May 2017

Ascent:       1401 metres
Distance:    22 kilometres
Time:          6 hours 13 minutes

Hart Fell                850m   1hr 32mins
Talla Reservoir      350m   3hrs  47mins
Broad Law             880m   5hrs 18mins

After a visit to Portrack House, Dumfries, for a day of Cosmic speculation, we stayed at Moffat so that I could climb the two nearby corbetts: Hart Fell and Broad Law. I had intended to climb Hart Fell from Ericstane on the river Annan in the morning before being collected and driven round to the Megget Stone to climb Broad Law in the afternoon. Aileen dropped me at the bridge before Newton and I began the 5 kilometre long ascent up Well's Rigg and Arthur's Seat. The going was easy on gentler slopes and dry ground and I arrived 45 minutes ahead of schedule despite the strong easterly wind. As I reached the summit I received a message to saying that my lift would not be back until 1:30pm as she had gone to visit Drumlanrig Castle, one of the Duke of Buccleuch's many palaces, castles and houses.

I would be down by noon so I decided to extend the walk by finding a route over the intervening hills to Din Law and then past the Gameshome Loch and Games Home Burn to the Talla reservoir. It was rough back country that had no sign of useage. As I dropped into the Games Home glen, the winds abated and the warm Mayday sunshine beckoned. My main concern was that my message to be picked up at the Megget Stone at 3:30pm may not have been received and I had no phone reception. Aileen might have to make an unnecessary 20 mile trip back to Moffat and then another 25 miles to the Megget Stone. Still it was a bank holiday and time was on our side so I hoped for the best.

The walk down the burn was enjoyable although there was no path and the ground was rough grassland. I was guided by the looming presence of Carlavin hill that overlooked the Games Home bothy. The bothy looked to be in pristine condition, the second in four days. From here there was an old track down to the end of the Talla reservoir, I passed a young couple having their lunch and we struck up a conversation. They seemed surprised that I had walked over from Hart Fell and then even more surprised that I was going to climb Broad Law. I must be looking my age.

The decision to tramp over the hills had been a good one but I had lost 500 metres in the descent to Talla Linnfoots. They would have to be regained and then some more to reach Broad Law, which is the highest hill in the Borders. I reached the road at Talla Linnfoots and decided to walk up the steep single track road to the bridge that is a kilometre short of the Megget Stone. Anxious to save time I climbed steeply up the southern flank of Fans Law. I did not find the path until I reached the ridge above Cairn Law.

From here it is a deceptively long haul out to the summit of Broad Law. The dry conditions made it a relatively easy walk on a steady gradient. I followed the fence posts, which made a swing to the left for the final kilometre. By this time I had confirmation that my lift had arrived. The summit hosted a tracking station for Edinburgh airport along with a trig point. They relieved the tedium of the endless grassy slopes but the weather was perfect and the walk back to the Megget Stone was a lazy ramble. A pot of tea and a slice of coffee and walnut cake at Broughton was a suitable reward for a good day's walk.

Hart Fell ascent from Ericstane

Looking east from Hart Fell

Hart Fell summit plateau
On the descent to Talla reservoir, Carlavin hill on right
Gameshope Bothy
Looking back over Fans Law to Lochcraig Head and White Coomb
Broad Law fence to the summit
Edinburgh airport tracking station

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