Craiglee GM/SS-150 No Show

Sorry for the no show. An incident with a bog hole that swallowed my right leg leaving it in a liquid that felt as cold as liquid Helium was the main issue. I’ve put my foot into holes more than enough times but the way my left leg ended up made this a bit trickier than normal. I didn’t want to bury my left leg as the surface underneath it was cracking as the ice broke. I didn’t want to lose my right boot extracting my leg. Took a moment or two to sort out but it felt like minutes. I got back to the track (Southern Upland Way) which does its best to be a stealth track and boy was my foot cold. 500m on I came to a burn to cross that was full and the stepping stones were covered in ice. I looked at the stones and ice, I looked at the b-awful terrain and looked at my foot. At the rate of progress there wouldn’t be enough light to get to the summit, activate and get back as a lot of the walk is in a deep valley where the sun doesn’t reach in Winter. I did an about face and squelched back. In trying to avoid the boggy area I found myself in a worse area that was quite disconcerting. No, I’m not embarrassed to say a bit scary.

So a technical wimp-out is how I’d describe this. By all means call me wuss etc. but for a second or two I did consider “ah so this is how it ends… in a freezing bog in Galloway.”

Need a better route for next time but I’m not sure if there are any better routes.


Not a wimp-out; just good judgement. Back to play another day!

Hi Andy

I “Liked” your post but that’s for the bit where you got out safe and made the right decision about continuing rather than the bit where your leg disappeared into freezing mire :wink:

Craiglee is on my “to do” list… would be interested in the route you took, if only to avoid it!

Turning back was the right decision.
Activating requires being still for a number of minutes in a cold summit and I don’t think that’s something anyone should do in a cold day with freezing temperatures in a damped trouser leg, sock and boot. Serious hazard can result from doing such thing, so it’s good that you didn’t.
You’ll have another chance and Craiglee will still be there.


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Better safe than sorry Andy.

They might have found you perfectly preserved in the bog in 4,000 years time

73 Rob GM3YTS

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Andy’s logbook would be the important archaeological find.

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Well done Andy for taking the right decision and turning back. With these short days and cold conditions there isn’t much margin for error - especially when you are on your own. I remember on Sighty Crag (where else??) in the Scottish Borders when my leg went down to above my knee and if I pulled hard enough to lift it then my leg expanded and wouldn’t slide back out of the hole. It took the combined efforts of M0JLA hauling on my trousers and me easing gently to get the leg up to the surface again. No problem in saying that I was frightened then - as I surveyed the nothingness in all directions. The difference is that I am expendable but you are essential to the continuation of SOTA :wink: (PS Can I have some extra Winter Bonus points?? :blush: )
Viki M6BWA


I agree,

As a sole walker safety must always come first. I am off to Peel Fell tomorrow, well renown for bottomless peat bogs. I will take heed. Last November I ruptured my right quad tendon whilst on High Stile. Fortunately I had completed the activation prior to the event but the thought that this might be my final resting place also passed vividly through my mind. With the aid of a walking pole, I did however manage a 4 hr self evacuation back to Buttermere. Your decision was very sound and without reproach, this is a hobby but not without serious hazzards.



I can sympathise with your bog hole adventure, Andy. One long ago February I went in up to my armpits while baling out from the Ben Nevis CIC hut in a blizzard. At first I couldn’t get out, but I realised that the weight of my rucksack was pulling me back, so I took it off, put it in front of me and climbed out over it. That was quite a memorable day, we crossed Rannoch Moor behind not one but two snowploughs in tandem, Inched over the A74 summit, and then found the M6 closed at Shap and had a long diversion through Christmas card countryside. It took a week to scrape all the mud off my gear! The mud had been as cold as a witches derriere but it was only after I had got out and finished laughing that the potential seriousness of the event struck home. It was my own fault, I was in too much of a hurry and with a facefull of snow not paying proper attention to my footing, but wisdom is the reward of surviving!

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Rarely on a SOTA expedition do we carry heavy backpacks - if you had been the outcome might have been worse. Leg down hole, weight takes you over = knee problems. Believe me, I still suffer 53 years later after doing just that on Beinn Eighe.

The idea of finding you in 4000 years preserved in the bog - what you would look like just made me feel quite unwell :rofl:

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No change there, then!:grinning::grinning::grinning:


You certainly made the right decision considering the situation and the conditions. Craiglee will be there ready waiting for you at some future date. I well recall my leg disappearing down a cold stinky bog hole on one occasion, but that was in sight of civilisation on Cracoe Fell and I had Paul to assist had it been necessary. It can’t have been at all pleasant out in Galloway on your own.

May I suggest you take Neil 2M0NCM as guide next time - no hint of bogginess on the route that he and I used. Neil may have a GPS track for you to follow next time, that is if you insist on going solo on these ventures.

73, Gerald

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A grand idea as long as he isn’t some kind of hill whippet! I was going to contact you about your route. All the descriptions I read go one about the SUW here being boggy but as it was -5C in the Bruce’s Stone Car Park, had been -8C on the drive in I thought everything would be well frozen. No is the answer. So much water was still running off that the surface was frozen, maybe a few cms deep then very cold water underneath. These fields have cattle in them in the warmer months and the ground is destroyed with hoof churning. Some of the worst ground since I started SOTA in October 2006. It brought back memories of Craignaw GM/SS-096 which was worse than Cairsnmore, Black Craig of Dee GM/SS-170.

Looking at routes in from Craigellie House along the track by bike next time. Don’t fancy this up the Loch Valley path either. Did that to Craignaw, crossing the Gairland Burn is often challenging then Rig of The Jarkenss to Craiglee. Long and arduous. Every time down here you get reminded how remote from public roads these hills are.

I gather he is less of one nowadays. He does have a “stop and wait” mode - severely tested when I went out with him. :grinning:

I do recall the ankle-breaking cow hoof imprinted landscape, so it seems that you went the same way as we did. It was just that you chose the wrong time of year! We went up the same route as you did to Craignaw, then across to Craiglee and back via the cow field. It was altogether much drier than your experience. so I would suggest you adjust the timing to suit. Paul and I have yet to activate Mullwharchar GM/SS-073, so we’ve another visit yet… oh and a certain Kirriereoch. :wink:

Well just Lamachan Hill, Mulwarchar and Craiglee (150) remain there and Benbeoch (the disused open cast coal mine) up nearer home and that’s Southern part of SS complete. I’m planning to get Benbeoch done over Christmas break. The others need better WX. Still can’t believe that despite the cold and sheer amount of ice, that there was ground not frozen.

I see that you and Paul’s joint activations diverge in this part of the world as he needs both Craiglee and Cairnsmore, Black Craig of Dee activations. I’ll take him up Craiglee and you take him up Cairnsmore ! :slight_smile:

Surely you activated Mullwharchar in October 2007 when I activated Black Craig of Dee. Or was that in a former life?

We are planning to activate Deuchar Law and Dun Rig during our post Christmas bimble. We have decided upon separate days as the two would require more daylight than there is in a winter’s day, even with the help of the estate track. That will leave me just the aforesaid Mullwharchar and Kirriereoch to activate south of the Glasgow - Edinburgh line (except for Kintyre of course), though we both still have to take a handheld up the Edinburgh pimple when it is convenient. :grinning:

Yes, Paul has a greater remaining interest in the Galloway summits than I have. I was thinking my other call may just come out to play on a few and maybe the odd HEMA summit might get into the mix. That might work with him accompanying you up Craiglee and me Mullwharchar.

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Definitely open to all offers of joint activations on the hard-work Galloway summits I still have to activate - never mind the safety issues, it’s nice to have someone to moan at in real time :wink:

I’ll be in touch with ideas for next year for Craiglee, Lamachan and Mullwharchar. Of course if I had some hover boots or rocket shorts then it would so much easier :wink:

I got it wrong! For years I have been under the impression that you had conquered Mullwharchar in October 2007, but it was Craignaw you activated. You will recall that we met up afterwards at the contest group site.
I’d had my first taste of Galloway ground on Black Craig of Dee GM/SS-170, that one with the ankle breaking outcrop infested ascent of delight and you’d had the long trek out to Craignaw over similar ground. Exactly why we chose to face the ordeal separately I don’t know. I guess joint activations weren’t on our radar at that particular time. Sharing the grief on Mullwharchar sounds good… now can we afford a helicopter between us? I wish (or do I?) :laughing:

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I have conquered it meta-physically already in my mind. All I need to do now is convert that to reality which is simplicity itself. :smile:

Well my plan then was to do them both which seemed easy. Then the reality of the ground was brought home.