Dumfoyn - 426m
Dumgoyne - 427m
Thursday 30th April 2009
Weather/Conditions: Lightly overcast initially but with clearing skies as the sun set. A light wind blew much of the way, feeling especially cold on Dumgoyne, and the ground was fairly saturated following much rainfall earlier in the day.
Distance/Ascent/Time: 9km / 620m / 3h 05m
Slackdhu, 2nd time in 5 days
By the time I arrived at the starting point at the memorial, (6.30pm) the sky was covered in high, light overcast which seemed it itself would break up given time. With much rain having fallen earlier, it didn't take a lot of working out to figure out the ground would be saturated. Though I decided to give my 'new' route to Slackdhu a shot, one which I first climbed the preceding Saturday. I knew all to well the dangers of climbing steep and wet grass, but why not give it a shot?
I climbed down to river and followed it up to the moorland, heading once more for the break in the cliffs that I'd gone for before. I came to the bottom of the ramp which I was to climb, and I adopted a rhythm like before, punching my way up the slope. I was cautious of my actions, for it would be far easier to slip here than on Saturday. Although I made it up without incident, and reached the plateau of Slackdhu before walking up to the summit shortly after (7.20pm).
The route to Slackdhu had been more hazardous this time around although I observed that I was far more at ease on this terrain than beforehand. Perhaps it was because I knew what I was up against, whether I'd really become more competent somehow at scrambling or perhaps I could also blank out the drops with greater ease?
The climb to Slackdhu had taken 50 minutes, the same as on Saturday, but I felt fitter this time around. And when the clouds began to break and the setting sun cast beautiful tones across the Campsies, I knew I had to get the photographs from Dumgoyne - the prime viewpoint in the Campsies. I wanted to climb Dumfoyn on the way to, and so I left Slackdhu, crossed Stonen Glen below before walking across to Dumfoyn. I slogged hard up the grassy slopes but the sun calling from around the corner kept me trying harder. I'd never moved so quickly through this type of terrain before and I startled myself with my progress. I pushed incredibly hard but when I did so, my body coped.
I reached Dumfoyns summit at 7.50pm. It had been hard going but I still needed to get to Dumgoyne. I descended quickly and make as quick progress as I could on Dumgoyne. I ascended via. the northern screes which had seen me before. I first visited these screes in 2004 when I descended them with Uncle Steve. In 2007 I subsequently revisited them, but felt unable to descend, feeling they were simply too steep to make safe progress on. I descended them once more in June '08, feeling at the time I had made some progress concerning dealing with exposure.
This time though, I wanted to climb them. And I'm immensely happy to say that I climbed without a hitch, even towards the top, the area that had unnerved me so much in the past. I didn't mind the drops, because if I looked ahead, everything was there for me to climb. This is what I consider progress, and it pleases me to see it. On my last trip report, I gave a Jean-Christophe Lafaille quote to express some of my own insights, but here's one from Dean Potter in his old video solo-ing The Nose on El Captain: "If you move step by step and just think about the handholds you're on ... and [be in] that moment, it's all right there in front of you; you don't have to worry about a thing."
Dumgoyne is a million miles from El Captain, but what he talks about, I felt. If I remained in the moment, and moved step by step, then I realised that I didn't have to worry. I found it funny that I'd previously found this place so unnerving because I was now in control of myself. I knew what I could pull off, what I couldn't and even reminding myself of the drop I'd perched myself above did not bother me. I must be making progress!
I wound up on Dumgoyne's summit at 8.05pm, 15 minutes after I left Dumfoyn. I reckoned I'd probably arrived a little early for sunset, although I used the time to sit and watch the shifting views across to Loch Lomond and the Luss Hills. I stayed as three people came and left, watched the sun crawling past the clouds and finally as it let out it's last beams across the Arrochar Alps and Luss Hills. I left as the sun fell behind Doune Hill above Luss, and followed the path back to Cantywheery in twilight.
In addition to being in school in the morning, I'd also managed a 9km walk. It had been a successful and long day.
I arrived in Strathblane at 9.35pm, three hours and five minutes after leaving. I walked to the bus stop beside the Kirkhouse Inn, where I came to realise that I had got the bus times all wrong. There wouldn't be bus for fifty minutes so I phoned home in need of a solution. Later on, Steve pulled up in the car and we drove home from there, but not before I'd taken pictures of the bus timetable. I'd have to spare myself that mistake again.