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Welcome to Doodlecat, where we enjoy the pleasures of life (with a slight bias towards the outdoors). This page is regularly updated with news and views plus information about any additions or changes to the various parts of the site. It acts as Doodlecat’s Blog too, so the odd rant considered opinion may pop up from time to time.

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ice Cold in Peebles

The video clip in the previous post was rather closer to the truth than I had anticipated. After a magnificent Friday evening in Moffat we met Mike Knipe and his mate, Tony Bennett, on Saturday morning and trundled over to Peebles in the Knipemobile for the trek back. This was to be a high level walk planned by Mike as a two and a half day daunder over magnificent walking country.

Map of the route
The planned route - click for enlarged views
On arrival at Peebles we were met by Humphrey Weightman who provided us with some of his special turkish coffee whilst we acclimatised in the Bridge Inn - and then it was time for a quick butty and on to the hill.

Alan wading through deep snowProgress was fine along the old drovers' road, then we were in a bit of snow - nothing much though. We met a couple coming down. "Lots of snow up there lads" said the man. He and his wife were wearing ordinary shoes, so I guessed that his idea of "lots" might be different from ours.

Wrong. Alan was the first to plunge through the snow up to his knees, and shortly we were all ploughing through it, occasionally diverting onto stretches where the wind had scoured the snow off the heather.

Despite the heavy going, the views were superb - and all the better for the snow which transformed the hills into a magnificent winter landscape. The great thing about fine scenery, apart from the aesthetic qualities, is that it provides the perfect excuse for stopping for a breather under the pretext of 'taking in the view'. I took in the view quite a few times.

Mike KnipeBut progress was slow, and it soon became obvious that we were not going to cover the planned eight miles this afternoon, so around 6.30 we searched out some (not ideal) pitches for the night. As darkness fell the sunset lit up distant snow covered hills, and the lights of Peebles twinkled far below. We settled down for a crisp sub zero night.

In the morning it was obvious that the tops were going to be out of the question, as we had foolishly omitted snowshoes and skis from our spring kit list, so alternative plans were made to drop down to lower level and join the Southern Upland Way to Tibbie Shiels Inn. This was accomplished without mishap, and there we were met by David Albon and Ian Shiel who had given David a lift, and who gave us all a lift by distributing some bottles of great scottish real ales (thanks again Ian. McEwan's Champion 7.3% - and very drinkable!). There was also a bottle of 'Black Douglas'. Coincidentally we had walked through a glen which Mike said was one of the lairs of the Douglas's, where cattle that had been liberated from their english owners were kept. There were cattle. There was a house. Mike contemplated knocking on the door and asking if we could have them back, but there didn't seem to be anyone at home. This was possibly a Good Thing.

From Tibbie Shiels to Moffat is a 22 mile trek. We decided on an early start - up at 5.30 to be on our way by 7.00am. During the night, though, the still cold clear conditions gave way to tent rattling wind and shrapnel-like volleys of rain, eventually settling into a a steady, depressing downpour that seemed (and indeed was) set for the rest of the day. So we had breakfast in the Inn, packed up and used a local cab to go and retrieve the Knipemobile. Then we all went home.

 Here are a few more pictures:
Alan Mike and Tony heading uphill
Heading for the first camp

Tony Bennet with view of snow covered hills
Tony contemplates the next snowfield.
 Drifted snow blocks the path
The way ahead - my, that looks deep!

Three walkers descend through snow filled forest
Down through the forest

Despite the early bail out, it was a great walk, and the Sunday plunge across deep snow and down through silent, snow filled forest, was terrific fun enjoyed by all - especially by my 'mates' when I managed to plummet through the crust into a 4 foot deep hole. Oh how they laughed.

Ha ha.

It really was a pretty good walk in the end, if somewhat shorter than planned; although poor David Albon joined us at just the wrong time and didn't get a walk at all! Still, at least he could relax from his weekend labours with a night in an excellent little inn.

Next time, and there will be a next time, we'll do the whole thing!



Blogger Alan Sloman said...

Hey, Phil!
That sounds like a really good walk! Can I come?

Nice pictures, too.

April 6, 2010 at 10:20 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

Ah, Alan. You don't remember then? Lucky chap. Nurse told me that the flashbacks would fade with the right medication.

April 6, 2010 at 11:11 PM  
Anonymous David Albon said...

A great trip report Phil!

The rain finally stopped and the sun came out today, so I took myself up the Pentland Hills for a long walk since I only had short walks with you guys.

Will look forward to next time!


April 7, 2010 at 4:45 PM  
Blogger Pennine Ranger said...

Hi Phil

it's odd. i'd expected all your pics to be views from close to ground level ;)

great walk. let's do it again sometime when there isn't any snow

April 8, 2010 at 10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish I hadn't missed it. It sounds great, and the pics of all that snow are making my tummy turn over with excitement.

On the other hand, Piglet is packing her mini-pack and threatening to leave.

Word = sucknit. Ugh.

April 10, 2010 at 12:04 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

And we missed you Shirl! Mind you, I'm not sure how Piglets wee legs would have coped - my wee legs were barely long enough at times.

PWD @ the ODG?

April 10, 2010 at 6:12 PM  

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