Sunday, 15 January 2012

Campsie Fells, Dumgoyne and Earl's Seat

With the forecast looking good for today, I couldn't resist heading back to the Campsie Fells to try and stand on the summit of Earl's Seat. At 578m it is the highest point of the hill range.

This time I made sure I had enough food to provide the energy to get there. I took an egg sandwich, buiscuit and small flask of soup. I also swallowed a boiled egg for breakfast before heading out.

I intended approaching Earl's Seat from the west, to save a re-walk so soon after my last attempt. I was also going to clamber over the volcanic plug of Dumgoyne on my way there.

I arrived at Dumgoyne Distillery just as the sun was rising. It looked set to be a beautiful day with clear sky, hard frozen ground and not too much wind.

I wanted to be there early as I suspected it would be a popular place and parking could prove difficult in the limited space. I was the third car and the moon had not even set so Im glad I was early.

For a very brief moment the sky turned red with the rising sun. I almost missed it as it only lasted seconds in the freezing cold sky.

I was soon puffing my way up the steep slopes of Dumgoyne. Its another lung buster right from the word go, but I was happy knowing that by the time I fully awake, I would be at the summit.

As I approached the top, I stopped to catch my breath and admire the sunrise over the city of Glasgow. I could make out the high rise flats just below the golden skyline

Next moment I stepped onto the summit. I was now fully awake and enjoyed watching the world around me waken to a beautiful day. It felt great to be alive and I also knew I was priveleged to be able to stand there on such a glorious day. Towards Stirling, the freezing fog was still lying in the valley far below

The only thing I wasn't too keen on, was the drop in height and very steep decent off the north east side of Dumgoyne, then the climb back up Garloch hill on the other side. On the descent I kept my centre of gravity as low as I could because the ground was frozen solid. That is just a more elegant way of saying I sat and pushed my way downhill on my butt.

Im normally a solitary walker, but on the way up Garloch hill, I started chatting with another lone walker and it was a pleasure swapping stories for the rest of the hike. If you read this.. thanks for your company today.

Although it was a beautiful morning, the lovely light turned a bit flat with an approaching weather front. It was also quite hazy and I could not make out Ben Ledi or Vorlich which are just across the open valley to the north.

The walk to Earl's Seat from this direction is far easier ground than from the Fintry side. In fact there is a good path on this side. There was little in the way of paths beyond Earl's Seat. I was now at the cairn which marks the point to turn slighty away from the escarpment to reach Earl's Seat.

The summit of Earl's Seat is a little disappointing as there are no crags and the view is little different from the scenery on the way there. There is a trig Point just behind me when I took this photo. The first little "hump" at the edge of the escarpment is Jock's Cairn where I was last week, so I now feel like I have walked the best part of the Campsie Fells and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

I headed back almost by the same route but this time did not go over Drumgoyne. The valley between Drumgoyne and the Campsie's is a perfect U shape

I think if you have access to a car at either end.. a continious walk from Dumgoyle to Fintry would be the best option for seeing the Campsie Fells

A strange thing .. this walk was also 6.5 miles and 2000ft of ascent ..and this time I didn't eat a thing ? .. yet found it very easy. I guess my metabolism is as unpredictable as the weather :-D


blueskyscotland said...

The Campsie Fells are a great range of hills and have a lot of wild spots far from the tourist trails.The Ochils win the best glens contest though. Some lovely photographs.

Donny Wilcox said...

Yup.. I must admit..I have a soft spot for the Ochils too..especially as Im discovering the more remote corners on them.

Alva Glen has long been my favourite local walk though..I love seeing all the waterfalls in there :-D