Dumgoyne - 427m
Friday 2nd April 2010

Weather/Conditions: Nice twilight, though windy. Dark on the summit, with Glasgow's lights showing up the snow of the summit. Visibility okay up top but very windy, and dark.
Distance/Ascent/Time: 8.1km / 400m / 3h 45m
Accompanying: Ian

Note: Many images are blurry/grainy due to the low light levels.

Earlier in the day Ian and I had been out climbing at Auchinstarry Quarry. When 6pm rolled around, it was getting on so we headed out to Strathblane for an evening walk up Dumgoyne. We went the long way, from the Blanefield war memorial, which turned out be be a very nice walk. It was almost dark when we reached the foot of Dumgoyne although we'd been able to observe Slackdhu's snow-streaked cliff bands on the way in. The escarpment edge was showing substantial cornicing and the day's sun would have melted the snow. That wouldn't be a place I'd want to go to at this time in the evening, although I'd briefly played with the idea. Dumgoyne would do fine. What really sealed things was when Ian realised his ice axe was back at the car. Dumgoyne wasn't too snowy, we'd do fine without...

The wind picked up too as we reached Dumgoyne and it was coming from the north with quite brutal force. A fleece and jeans were fine until a snowfield I was crossing turned out to be a snow bridge over a stream. One second I was on top of the snow, the next I was falling, knee height in a cold stream. It was flowing fast and I was going in deeper than I at first realised. Next thought - I'm wearing jeans... I got myself out then got Ian to pull me the rest of the way; I'd be fine. I could have had the forethought to look out for the streams. In the cold wind, I wrapped up. We got moving and all was fine again.

We then headed past the crags and snowfields to the summit ridge. It was a bit steep and slightly dodgy with one axe in the darkness, but no problems. The wind hammered over the summit and through we could tell thicker cloud was moving in. I wasn't feeling too comfortable either - for whatever reason, the gnawing uncertainty of walking in such conditions was with me. And as much as I enjoyed feeling the spectacular location of the summit, I felt better when we turned around to go down.

But think of this place - standing in the dark on a summit where the wind blasts along with force from the north. The sky is clouded over and low cloud is moving our way. The snow streaked hills leading to the plateau look bigger than their actual size and they glow in the darkness. It's easy to feel comfortable in the cocoon of a headtorch, but turn it off, let your eyes adjust and realise that this is a spectacular, though eerie and atmospheric location.

It was a moment to savour.

We turned and went down.

I gave a call home when we got off the top because I'd be back well after my due time. We headed down our ascent slopes and although steep, I hoped it wouldn't be too dodgy for axe-less Ian, although there were no problems. It didn't help that the mountain looked bigger in the darkness. When we got back to flatter ground we took our time over the return journey, stopping plenty times, sitting in the grass feeling worn out but happy, talking about anything that could possibly be talked about. It was fun, although I was tired. We headed down to the approach track then along to the car.

And I didn't get home until midnight, three hours after my 9pm expected arrival time.

Times (Time relative to 0.00)
(0.00) 7.40pm Blanefield
(2.00) 9.40pm Dumgoyne
(3.45) 11.25pm Blanefield

Written: 2010-04-04