The weather forecast was good, and there was a bank holiday. Perfect conditions for a hill walk. We’d considered heading up to do Stob Binnein and Ben More at Crianlarich, which would have been a repeat for me, but Shona still needed to bag them. The forecast indicated there was a chance of rain in the afternoon, and there was also still a chance of some snow at this stage in the season on the high ground, so instead we opted to head down to Biggar and explore some Donalds.

The relatively last-minute nature of the trip became clear early on, when we stopped in Biggar in order to try and pick up a map of the area; I was reasonably confident that we’d have no trouble given the weather was meant to be clear, and the terrain looked straight-forward, but going out without a map also goes against the grain. We failed to find a map for sale in Biggar, so we pushed on and parked up on the side of the road close to Culter Fell.

From here there was a ashort walk up a landrover track until the climb lead off to the right. This was the only major climb of the day, and in comparison to our more usual quarry of Munros, and thanks to already starting quite high, we made swift progress, and it wasn’t long before we’d reached the summit. This would get us to the only trig point of the day, and the first Graham/Donald of the day. From here the view was good, and we could see across to the extensive wind farm to our South, as well as being able to see that there was relatively little climb left, and that we’d have a fairly flat walk now we’d reached Donald height.

We made the decision to skip Chapelgill Hill, which was a potential detour off on a spur from our main route, but would have easily added a couple of hours on to the walk. Instead we set off towards Gathersnow Hill, named, according to the SMC guidebook, for the fact that it keeps snow late in the season (though there was no sign of it today). There was a bit of a drop between the two hills, though we made a good bit of the climb back up a bulldozed track, and before reaching the summit of Gathersnow took a quick detour out towards the Top of Coomb Hill, before returning, having a quick snack, and then bagging the Donald summit itself. This was pretty uninspiring, as there was no sign of an obvious cairn, and we decided that the small pile of rocks which someone had driven a fence-post into was the nearest thing we could find to a summit feature.

Shortly after the summit of this hill we entered the wind farm. Compared to the notes in the SMC guide book it has been substantially extended, giving a few additional features to the hills along the way. The day was fairly windy, and we ended up walking under several of the turbines after the next summit, Hillshaw Head, and almost headed out to Coomb Dod, which I’d left off the route, though shouldn’t have, as it is in fact a Top. One, I suppose, for a later trip.

We covered the next section of ground pretty fast thanks to the bulldozed road up to the wind turbines, which took us most of the way to the next summit, Hudderstone, and from there it was all down hill, and it wasn’t long until we were back to the car.

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