Friday, 14 April 2017

The Most Boring Hill in Scotland

"The Scottish hills are the best hills in the world!" said a friend.

"What," we chided him, "even the boring ones?"

"Aye. Even the boring ones."

And there are plenty boring hills in Scotland. Alan Dawson in The Relative Hills of Britain states that:
To be sufficiently boring a hill should be at least a couple of hours walk from the nearest road, so that a full sense of anti-climax can be experienced on reaching the top.
though he also cautions:
Some walkers would argue that all of the Scottish hills are full of interest compared to parts of the English Pennines.
On Windlestraw Law in the Moorfoots:


Can anywhere in Scotland match the Pennines for dullness? We do have some particularly boring hills near our house - the Moorfoots. I have attempted their two highest summits on two separate occasions, only to be repulsed by ennui the first time and by my hillwalking partner mutinying the second time. Yet I've always wanted to stand on top of the Moorfoots. Seen from the path to our local Tesco they glow in late evening sunshine, a world of wilderness and wind rising above our suburban existence.

And that's how we came to be setting off for a walk up Dundreich, a Donald (though not a Marilyn) just over the Peeblesshire border.

South from Dundreich:


The walk starts pleasantly enough along a tadpole-filled loch, a noisy gathering of gulls evoking a harbour with crows and buzzards quartering the lochside forests.

Portmore Loch from the hill:


But it was up on the shoulder of the hill that the magic started. A soft spring breeze tousled our hair. The air flooded with sunshine and lark song and we watched and listened to these small birds courting for a good half an hour.

Shoulder:


The top gives view after view of windfarms. Close to hand on the Moorfoots, away in the distance on the Lammermuirs, and really really far - I had the binoculars out - at Whitelee to the south of Glasgow, the biggest onshore windfarm in Europe. And what were those peaks shimmering in the haze beyond Whitelee? I was amazed to be looking at the peaks of Arran. Not something I expected to see from Peeblesshire.

Distant windfarms:


We descended well satisfied with the day. The Moorfoots may well be the most boring hills in Scotland, but this route at least had entertained us greatly.

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