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Friday, 19 February 2016

Hey Ho The Wind and The Rain, The Wind and The Rain. And The Frost

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Other best made schemes of mice and men having gone aglay, I decided to have a few days in Galloway for the baggings. A campsite at Balloch O’ Dee, just a bit left of Newton Stewart is open all year. So I emailed them and went.

Its a nice campsite.

I arrived in hopeful sunny weather, the night being perishingly cold at first but then, after a suitable number of doses of cheap scotch, it seemed to get a bit warmer.

By the time the grey dawn appeared, there was a hint of spits and spots of rain on the tent and it was blustering about a bit. I decided to wait a bit to see what happened and went back to the knotty problem of Kylie’s bra, a dream I have never  yet been abloe to finish after several years of trying…

When I drifted back out of snoozy dreamy sleepy snoozy snooze land, the rain was hammering down and the tent was taking on the antics of the inside of a washing machine. This continued past lunchtime, into the afternoon and through into darkness.

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At one point two schoolgirls appeared dressed entirely in Paramo and riding wellies. They said “? somebody” (it was difficult to hear over the roaring of the storm “says you can use the bothy to cook in, or whatever you want to do” I gave a thumbs up, which was returned and off they went back to the shelter of wherever they’d come from.  What a nice offer. So I went and had a look. The bothy, it seems is quite posh. It has five or so bunks, a big wood-burning stove-cum-cooker and comfy chairs and lots of decoration. Lucky wasn’t so keen, though, and clearly preferred being covered by a four-season sleeping bag enhanced by a hot water bottle in a teddy-bear furry cover (I may be too soft on this dog). And getting stoves and food out of the heaving, dripping lump of nylon over the mud to the bothy would have been a task. So I decided to stay put in the tent. I had to keep putting pegs back in anyway. Nice thought, though.

The storm went on till, about 3:00 am, I noticed that the wind had dropped. But it was still raining heavily. This continued into the very next grey dawn and only stopped during my morning shredded wheat.

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So, by late morning, me and the pooch plodded up the road and bagged Culvrennan Fell. Culvrennan Fell looks quite rough, but turns out to have relatively easy walking. Its not a huge hill, but has three tops, lots of cairns old and new and ancient and a trig pillar. Being a Hump, it also has a big view.

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After this, we wandered over to Barskeoch Fell – just a bit West (ish) and defended by a bog and an electric fence. The fence had an unelectrified gap in it, though and we crossed unshocked to the green summit beyond. Another nice view.

We returned to the tent for lunch.

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In the afternoon, the sky cleared and the sun came out so we rambled over to the Three Lochs and climed Fell Hill. Fell Hill is defended by lots of trees. Lots of closely packed trees beneath which daylight never penetrates.

Our days wanderings were 11 miles altogether.

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That night the sky cleared even more and a penetrating and viciously cold night followed during which the hot water bottle was reheated three or four times. The milk froze. The water froze. Lucky was toasty under his 4 season bag.

And in the moring, the camera wouldn’t work, so there’s no pictures of the pristine white world of ice. And I couldn’t get into the knipemobile, but did set off the alarms trying to do so.

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Eventually, I got in and, car packed, we went to Wigtown just to have a look and to bag the little Tump Windy Hill, topped by a monument to the murder by drowning of several Covenanter women in 1685, principally for sticking to religious principals and made specially unjust because they’d actually be reprieved 11 days before. This is still disturbing even after 300+ years.

Not much of a trip, really. I liked the campsite though and there’s a link below. I liked the lack of notices detailing various rules that many campsites and bunkhouses have.  Maybe I’ll go back. They’re very friendly and they like dogs.

Here’s the link – click to view the campsite’s website   balloch o dee campsite


Meanqueen said...

Blimey you are a glutton for punishment. I am not as hardy as you and would have given up. I am waiting for better weather.

Quinn said...

Sounds like Lucky had a nice time! :)

Laura said...

Looks like an interesting campsite - making a note of it for future reference!

Dawn Linney said...

You are becoming an adept student of snoozology Mike? It sounds an interesting trip though

christine hindle said...

Mmmm, better not let Pebbles see all that about 4 season sleeping bags and hot water bottles....

Anonymous said...

You made it sound so attractive that I almost went out and bought a tent....but reality prevailed in the nick of time.