Saturday, 26 January 2013

Snowy Pentlands Shindig



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Today we headed for the Pentlands. Down in Edinburgh it was cold but there was little in the way of snow and ice so it came as a bit of a surprise just how much there was a bit higher. The wind was icy but the sun was out which made everything look lovely. We'd made a rough plan to go up from Bonaly, go over Harbour Hill, Bell Hill, Black Hill and then down the coffin road and up the Drove Road to hook onto the high tops at the other side. We were thinking W and E Kip, Scald Law, Carnethy and then maybe come down to the road and then cut back over to Bonaly via Phantom's Cleugh.

The parts of the hill where walkers had been all had good trails to follow but come Black Hill we were breaking trail and did a good deal of post-holing through the crust. This was very painful and lacerated my poor shins. What I would have given for a pair of long socks.

The views at the top of Black Hill were absolutely stunning but then coming down the other side we had the same problem with drifts and post-holing through the crust. If you sped up you took chunks out your shins, but going slowly, fully exposed to the icy wind was pretty sore too. It all started to feel a bit serious at this point and I was keen to get back down to the lower ground. As we had done a 26 minute mile going up Black Hill and then a 27 minute mile coming down the other side we had eaten into our time-before-sunset quite substantially and so decided to take a lower route back to Bonaly. If the Kips etc. were going to be at all difficult we wouldn't make it round before dark.

We went, then, down the Coffin road and down to Redmoss Car park and then along past the reservoirs and up the track to Maiden's Cleugh. It was good to get moving a bit faster. The sun was gone by then so it really was cold. From the Maiden's Cleugh it was just back over Harbour Hill and then all pretty much down hill to the car.

It was properly dark by the time we got back and the Hibbies were all fecking off after the game so we got parked.

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