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Friday, 20 March 2009

Tarras Water and its goats

And then it was Wednesday.
Today’s objectives were Arkleton Hill and Pike Fell, both hills rising on the West side of Tarras Water.
Tarras Water is just a little bit North of Langholm and is a reserve noted for the preservation of Hen Harriers, of which we saw none at all.
We parked initially by Tarass Lodge and reparked shortly afterwards in a little car park just up the dale. A sign would have prevented such faffing about – but nevertheless we marched off in an optimistic and cheerful mood up the valley of the water of Tarras. This is a very beautiful valley and you should have a look some time.
A few miles up this glen, we turned ff to climb the steep and tussocky Arkleton Hill. Nobody knows where the summit of this hill is.. The top is flattish and heatheryish and generally a bit bumpy. Frankly, the top could be anywhere and in the mist and cold that was Wednesday, we settled for the first bump we came across.
The sun just about came out at the far end of Arkleton – up to this it had been cold and windy and misty.
A very steep descent took us to the bottom of Pike Fell. The top of this is obviously the top, so no worries there.
What was just a little worrying was the feral goat we came across with a very newborn kid. This poor mum was in a clear panic at our approach and was torn between running away and seeing to her baby which was stumbling about pathetically trying to follow. We gave them a bit of space by as wide a diversion as was possible. I watched them join a small group of goats making their way across the moor. There were other goats with kids later in the walk.
We descended to the valley and followed it back to the start. Some of the pics are of a sheepfold in the Tarras Glen and it’s dead billy goat occupant. The goats here seem to be mainly black and white coloured. They’re a week or two ahead of the local sheep in terms of producing young. Presumably, they know what they’re doing here, but it seems a risky business since it always turns cold and snows when the first lambs come along. Maybe they’re just very tough.
This is a wild and remote little dale with just a few houses. There were what appeared to be scientists with science stuff doing science things. And their pet dogs which were enthusiastically friendly.
A short visit to the Langholm co-op and off-licence proved a waste of time as we both turned to kip early without drinking our beers….. This was about 11 miles and 1700 feet of climbing, so a bit of a relief from the previous day.I can’t understand why this fab area is so quiet from the walkers…..

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