Black Mount GM/SS-158

Bah! I’ve just spent half an hour uploading photos to Flickr and Flickr has gone and thrown its teddy out of the pram! Photos and report to follow when my temper is better!


Right Flickr has untwisted its knickers and my photos from today have returned.

The wx hasn’t been great recently. Well that depends on what you want. Snow? Yes we’ve got quite a bit of that and it was only around -7C last night. So I didn’t want to drive too far on the minor roads and not having an ice-axe or crampons, I have to keep to the baby hills at the moment.

Black Mount is only 11 miles as the crow flies and is 516m and not at all steep so it fits my needs exactly. Now I understand Gerald’s desire to do uniques and having done Black Mount before I was determined to do a different route. The classic is to park at NT073469 walk up the path and then climb the steep gully and loop back onto the ridge. Simple and a bit boring really. Today I came at it from the South and parked at the start of the Walston/Elsrickle path at NT062435. There a rough lane that leads to some private houses and the public footpath to Walston. I parked by the bus stop just as the farmer appeared in his tractor. A quick chat and he was happy I wasn’t blocking his entrance and off I set. I’ve found that if you ask most people if you can park and then smile they either say yes or point out a better space for you. I suppose everyone likes to be asked upfront rather than coming back and finding a car dumped on their property!

It was about -2C and the sun was beating down. Although there were some clouds on the horizon. The route is easy, I’d entered a route along the path to its highest point and then right following the ridges all the way to the top. I’m still playing with my GPS so I was delighted to see that the farmer had put tracks across his land that matched well with my route taken from the map. There are lots and lots of fences here most with electric fence wires. This meant I stuck to the tracks and gates. It really would take practice to get lost here!

The ground was frozen hard which made it quite easy going. I would imaging bits would be boggy in better weather, certainly the flatish bit from the 421m spot height (NTT070451) to the 450m contour (NT075452) had significant pools of frozen water. There wasn’t any snow to speak of till 450m. What there was was frozen crisp and at worst about 5in deep. I plugged on to the summit. As I kept climbing I thought I could see the biggest buzzard ever sitting on the fence. Only as I got near did I realise it was another walker sat on the remains of the trig point! Hmm… time for glasses I think and not just for reading.

I set up using the fence and worked Clive G1YAM/P for an S2S. Also GW0DSP/P and GW1INK/P has S2S contacts too. Conditions seemed good and I worked quite a few new calls on 5MHz along with the regulars. The only regulars missing were Steve GW7AAV and John GW4BVE. Sadly I missed Jack GM4COX/P and Robin GM7PKT/P who were in between summits when I was on. I did manage a QSO with Mike G4BLH. He had QRM on FK and FA was clear for him. I had S9+60 data on FA. Luckily we did get to exchange reports. I did listen on 2m but couldn’t hear Allan MM1BJP/P which is a shame.

The view was great at the start. I could see a big inversion to the North. The Breadalbane biggies were all sticking through (see the photos on Flickr). The view South was nasty with some fairly dense and black clouds. What surprised me was the speed the WX changed. One moment bright sunshine and blue skies, then some cloud over the sun. Then, pazoow! I was in thick mist. It didn’t roll in it just formed all around me. That’s when I noticed really how cold it was. Time to go.

Return was the route in reverse. I don’t like linear walks but beggars can’t be choosers. It took me 55 minutes to get to the top and 45 minutes to get down. I reckon I’m quite tardy going down. I must try going faster next time. I finally dropped out of the clag at about 420m elevation. By the time I got back to the car a lot of the ice was melting, the temp now reported as +2C by the car. 4C change in 3.5 hours.

Distance walked: 8.1kms, total ascent: 250m/820ft, distance driven: 40miles.

As usual the photos are in the Flickr group and thanks to everyone who worked me.

Hang on, 8kms walked and 250m ascent. That’s nothing, so why am I completely bushed?


In reply to MM0FMF:
Good one Andy

And spot on with the Wx. Headed off up SS-212 bright sunshine temp around freezing. Got to the top and looking to the SW serious grey clouds, which within 15 mins enveloped the summit. Last contact at 1605 so eventually down in the dark and up the A7(forgot what a horrible wiggly-waggly road this is) up to the Edinburgh by-pass.

Home via local curry-house for uplift - luvly!! Then ZZZZZzzzzzsss!


PS; Pity on the no show S2S

In reply to GM4COX:

Yes, the A7 is a nightmare. When Brian G4ZRP was up here last October we went down the A7 to do Wisp Hill and Pikethaw Hill. It took forever to get to the start that we decided it would be quicker to come back via the M74. So we went down to Langholm and headed across the tops to Lockerbie. Whilst the B7068 is very narrow in places and we were in thick fog for most of the trip, it was still quicker to go South and West before heading North. Much better than the A7!

Just checked where SS-212 is. It’s the one Jim G0CQK did before the Galashiels Rally last year. I plan to do it either before or after my visit to the rally this year.

If you look at you can see what looks like an interesting route for Windlestraw Law. Rather than do it from by the farm at Blackhopebyres it looks like you can climb from Walkerburn up through the forest to the old radio tower site through the firebreaks/tracks. Then simply bimble along the ridge up to summit of Windlestraw Law. Geograph photos show a rough path by the fence along the top. I think I might try it that way next time.


In reply to MM0FMF:

Ooops! It was SS-214 which I did. As it was a simple activation selected the summit off Autoroute and marked SS-212 + NGR onto my ‘simple’ (non waymarked without GPS transfer) map by mistake. Wondered why the GPS indicated summit plus 8K away when I started the ascent.

E-mail all my contacts to let them know my mistake along with some foties.