Wednesday 17 March 2021

Confessions of a Tump Bagger

Lockdown has lead to some desperate measures.

A friend confessed he was bagging the Tumps of West Lothian, all the 'hills' with a 100ft all-round drop. This is a man who once did a first route in the Andes! 😂

But then it got me thinking. How many Tumps are there where I live? So here I am on Arniston Colliery bing, wondering what on earth I am doing.

This post was going to be highly derogatory about the Tumps, the hillwalking equivalent of skip-diving bottle banks for dregs off discarded alcopops.

But in fact it has led to a couple of lovely days. Skylarks and brown hares, lapwings in the Moorfoots, snowdrops in farmyards, the kind of lowland countryside I would never normally visit on a hill walk. The Tumps may be pretty obscure, but there are over 17,000 of them in Britain. No matter where you are stuck for lockdown, there are some Tumps nearby.

Still, let us up the Highlands soon please. Because after the Tumps, there's nowhere legal to go.

Tuesday 2 March 2021

Boring Hills and County Tops

This is the tree guarding the path of adventure, the path that leads at last to the wilderness of the foolish cry.

(a.k.a. Blackhope Scar, highpoint of Midlothian county, a slight rise in the middle of acres of quaking bog.)

I have maligned the Moorfoots before as the most boring hills in Scotland. But no more. The day started early morning at Gladhouse Reservoir, a mass of honking geese and a little ice on the water where the sun had not yet reached. I breathed in fresh spring air and walked up the secretive glen of the upper River South Esk, a fresh mountain burn this far upstream, full of latent promise.

What a cracking day out in sunshine and moorland. Skylarks, stonechat, grouse - I even saw a mountain hare! It was the first I knew they lived in southern Scotland.

A great daytrip despite all the bogs higher up, and as Blackhope Scar at 651m is the highest point in Midlothian, I've finally bagged the top of my local county!

Wonder how many more county tops there are to do...