Thursday, 24 January 2013
More fun in the snow
After last years dismal performance, at least we've had some snow this winter and it's great to be out enjoying it while it lasts. This weeks walk was a little stroll around a quieter area of the Pentlands, retracing a walk we did last winter but with a little shortcut.
Leaving the Bavelaw car park we set off along the Rigs Road on hard-packed snow. That was soon to end as we reached the little path that runs alongside the telegraph poles towards Listonshiels. This can often be a bit of a mudbath but the problem today was that the snow had been drifting in and was thigh-deep in places. That made progress a little slow but we managed through cleaner that I can remember. Heading from Listonshiels up to the Borestane the snow was just deep enough to cover the track in places and we were glad of the fence posts marking the way for us. At least it also covered the wooden "road" which was one less potential obstacle. So far we hadn't seen any other footprints. I was a bit surprised until I remembered that the bulk of the snow had only appeared 24 hours ago.
It had been very calm all the way up here and I was expecting a stronger breeze as we crossed the col but it remained quite still all the way down to the North Esk Reservoir. Again, some patches of snow were very deep (crotch-deep in palces) and, being soft, made for hard going. We were therefore glad to see the little bird hide and escaped in there to watch the Mallard and a Whooper Swan while we had our lunch. Whoever had been in before us had neglected to close one of the shutters so it had quite a bit of snow inside it but was handy nonetheless. I made sure it was securely closed up before we left.
From here, we followed the edge of the reservoir, crossed the dam and then began the steep climb up towards Spittal Farm. On this occasion we carried on up the hill rather than take the steep descent and then the climb up Monks Rig. This is the first time I've walked over Spittal Hill and I wasn't sure how much of a track there would be but the quads have obviously been up here and, even under a bit of snow cover, it was clear that the track carried on all the way along the ridge. Approaching Green Law I was treated to a very unfamiliar Pentlands skyline with West Kip very prominent.
Passing over Green Law we were soon down to the Red Road - a track we know very well. There were signs of some cross-country ski-ing from here all the way back to Bavelaw and Threipmuir Reservoir. We arrived back at the car just as it was getting dark - perfect timing!
All in all, a lovely 11.5 mile circuit with enough climbing for a bit of exertion and not another walker, cyclist or ski-er seen all day.