Slackdhu - 496m
Friday 19th November 2010

Weather/Conditions: Hazy but good weather
Distance/Ascent/Time: 5.4km / 400m / 2h
Accompanying: Alone

I timed myself again from start to summit which came with some surprising results. But a couple other things first.

Winter is almost definitely coming. The bracken has died on the slopes, the grasses are back to brown and now we are just waiting for snow to arrive on the tops. As of the 25th November, this is due any day now. The second half of this week has seen temperatures drop and low-level snow arrive in the north-east of Scotland. There is nothing in Glasgow though. For now our skies have stayed clear and if the clouds reach us from the north east with their snow, then we'll have a good coating. That suits me fine because I can't wait to get back to winter conditions. Elsewhere, winter arrived early with snow lying and icefalls forming on the higher Scottish summits.

As for Slackdhu, it's still autumn.

I hadn't been up in a while, so decided that it was finally time once more. I didn't go all-out for the summit but reached it in reasonable time. It took me 44 mins and 8 seconds from Blanefield to top, which is superb because I didn't push. This means sub-40 minutes is a possibility for the future. I also saw a couple people near the top on my ascent, which was cool to see. I would have caught them up but I was still at the bottom.

I went up the left hand side of the cliffs, which is the steepest route I've done here. It was a bit thrilling, although I generally stayed relaxed about it. I also realised it was the first time I'd been up this route since that strange and harsh day in February. Then I checked out the Creag Dhu cliffs. I casually think to myself that something is climbable here, though the rational mind says hardly. From here I watched the sun set in the south then headed down the right hand route - not as sustained or steep as my left-hand ascent route.

And in semi-darkness, I headed back to Blanefield, getting the bus home.

Slackdhu is a lot more accessible at this time of year thanks to the dead bracken. When the snow comes I'll take the axes back out and see if there's anything worth climbing, although I may be through with this hill for another while.

Additionally, this was the last hill I did before my Canon EOS 400d camera broke - the camera I've had for nearly two years and is much loved. I think it was the night after this walk that it simply didn't turn on. Something is rattling inside. I just got a repair quote from A. J. Johnstone in Glasgow for £120 plus VAT. Don't think so! A new camera body is on it's way, I think... But as for the 400d, it's served me damn well.

Times (Time relative to 0.00)
(0.00) 2.15pm Blanefield
(0.44) 2.59pm Slackdhu
(2.00) 4.15pm Blanefield

Written: 2010-11-25
Edited: 2010-12-15