Tuesday, 18 June 2013

A little gentle ramble in the hills.

No, not a cryptic, sarcastic or ironic title, just a truthful one.  A little gentle ramble in the hills, the hills in question being the smaller siblings to the mighty Lowthers at Wanlockhead.

This is the second year I have taken part in the Moffat Mountain Rescue Charity Challenge to help raise funds for MMRT.  Unlike last year I had company all the way round, daughter and Laura (surrogate daughter) didn't pull out within the first mile and I managed to bully husband into coming too.  I deliberately chose this walk (10 Miles) because it was a medium ability level walk which was suitable for daughter and OH.  I'd also been to Green Lowther and fancied seeing different scenery.

Wanlockhead is a strange place, there are days like the day of the challenge where it is lovely and quite quaint but I've also been there on days when it felt like the ass end of the universe, bleak desolate and forbidding.  A place where you would just like to crawl into your house and hide under the duvet.  I've been going there for years as it was on the list of activities for the holiday kids at the stables, once a week I'd drive a mini bus full of them up to the Lead mining Museum, we went that often that my son could recite the guide's spiel off by heart.  How hard  life must of been for the lead miners and their families.

However Sunday started well with a burst of glorious sunshine, and we set off along the road which took us past a lot of the interesting industrial historical bits and pieces which one day I must go back and photograph properly.

The first four miles are flat along the valley floor, but soon the ground starts to slowly rise and once over the bridge you start heading upwards, not a huge incline but enough to know you are climbing, the next mile takes you though a forested area, this is being felled at the moment so next time I go up there it could look completely different.  Check point one came and went and soon it was time to have a spot of lunch.  The girls and I had our paltry picnic stuffed in our backpacks but Billy had a flask and a packed lunch box full of goodies (can you tell who takes a "piece" to work).  I even thought for a minute he might whip a table cloth from his backpack too.

The next few miles were delightful, Laura and I ran all the way down through the forest much to the amusement of the marshal who was hidden behind a gate, we didn't see him until we got to the gate. Chatted to him and some ladies for a while until the other pair caught up.

We were swiftly approaching the hardest part of the day, the bit I glossed over when daughter agreed to sign up.  Laura loved it, daughter however didn't and gave me "daggers" all the way up the long slog to the top of the hill.  The weather by this point was beginning to turn colder and duller and once down the hill we hit the valley floor at the same point as we started to climb earlier, and we followed the same route back in to the HQ.   It was about three in the afternoon but it felt and looked like about nine o clock.   The lovely people from the MRT had laid on burgers, biscuits, cake, tea etc  I was treated to one of the best burgers I've had for years, I'm not a great lover of burgers but this was a really tasty one.   Laura even had two!

I would really like to go back and do this route as a run, it has a bit of everything, dirt track, forest track, open hillside, a long slog up and swift canter down, and I would definitely  recommend it to anyone as a very do-able walk.  I would also recommend joining in with one of these events, they are very friendly and for a fantastic cause, as you never know when you may just be grateful to the Mountain Rescue Organization.

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