Dumfoyn - 426m
Earl's Seat - 578m

Sunday 9th January 2011

Weather/Conditions: Amazing clear weather - blue skies and sunny. Snow to ground level and a warm sun to our backs on the ascent. Bad snow conditions (windslab everywhere) but this didn't matter on these hills.
Distance/Ascent/Time: 13km / 650m / 5h 20m
Accompanying: Mackenzie Barker

Mackenzie and I had talked about doing a hill together - one last Scottish one before he moves to Wales. Originally I was going to go to Edinburgh, but we changed plans Mackenzie came through to Glasgow instead. Campsie Fells it was.

Mackenzie ticks off HuMPs (Hundred Metre Prominences - Google it) as well as Munros, so we picked out Earl's Seat, a hill I had visited three time and was more than happy to visit again. For Mackenzie it would be new and therefore his 100th. I took a train into town, met him there and headed to the hills...

It was a great feeling to be walking among home turf with someone else as opposed to alone. Kind of like the feeling of going for a shared adventure, but equally feeling at home... In any case, it was good to walk among these hills, catching up again and reminiscing with Mac about days gone by.

We headed up the Blanefield-Dumgoyne access track and followed it to the stream crossing, cutting up towards the summit of Dumfoyn as a quick route to get altitude. It was a slog to the top - I was sweating in the sun (January - c'mon!) but the views were immense, Dumgoyne especially so. And so we crossed to Garloch Hill and towards Earl's Seat which seemed to require a lot of effort to reach.

But the weather was bliss, as was my mood in fact... And rounding the last bend from the Ballagan Tops, Mackenzie reached the summit of Earl's Seat and his hundred Scottish hill - with prominence 100m! (www.hill-bagging.co.uk is guilty for this)

We left immediately to find somewhere to eat that wasn't so windy. And maybe a hundred metres south of the summit we sat on a snow bank feeding hungry stomachs, as the sun slipped into the horizon's haze. In minutes the colours changed from blue and white to gold and blue, the tones turned up a notch that left that Cairngorm-feeling inside me, where the winter sun briefly warms cold winter plateaux.

And it's an amazing feeling to be up high as the sun dips ahead of you, walking back to civilisation but still among the wilds, taking in the moment, still and content as it is, the settling landscape a reflection of the soul.

Shit, I'm getting hippy.

Well, it is the truth...

And we traversed Dumfoyn as the sun slipped away, picking away at the distance back to Blanefield. Mum (mine) picked us up to make up for the rotten bus timetable and dropped Mackenzie at Buchanan Bus Station in Glasgow.

I think I have my mojo back now. By that, I mean I'm ready in my mind for some more Highland days spent on the high tops. I'm looking forward to it. The weather usually dictates otherwise, but the pull of the Highlands is certainly in my system...


Highlands - Detail
Times (Time relative to 0.00)
(0.00) 11.30am Blanefield
(1.30) 1.00pm Dumfoyn
(2.05) 1.35pm Garloch Hill
(3.00) 2.30pm Earl's Seat
(5.20) 4.50pm Blanefield
Written: 2011-01-10