Ettrick Hills & Last Donald

In early July when we were allowed to travel further for exercise again I decided I needed a goal to help me get my hill fitness back. I settled on the Donalds and Donald Tops. For the less hill nerdy folk out there this is a list of 140 hills in the Scottish Lowlands with a height of at least 2000ft (610m). The logic behind this choice was that they were relatively close to home, so would limit travel; would be relatively quiet hills in terms of other people and that I’d already done quite a few.

Saddle Yoke across the Moffat Water, which is part of the excellent horseshoe above Black Hope.

Last week Jen and I went for a very pleasant walk up West Knowe and Loch Fell and with these two I completed the Donalds and Donald Tops. I climbed my first Donald in November 1998, so definitely wasn’t breaking any records. However, I’ve walked or run 48 that were new to me since July plus some I’d visited before and a bunch of smaller hills to make interesting routes.

Jen heading up above the Selcoth Burn.

Loch Fell was a fairly random choice for the last one, but it’s definitely worth saving for a clear day as it gives magnificent views to the Lowthers, the Galloway Hills, the Lake District, the Cheviot and the Eildons as well as the nearby Ettrick and Moffat Hills.  A quick thankyou should go out to Rab Anderson and Tom Prentice who edited the excellent SMC guide to “The Grahams and the Donalds”, which suggests good routes with plenty of options and lots of interesting background information.

Jen by the massive summit marker on West Knowe.
In a cool breeze, but with great views on the summit of Loch Fell.
The view to Croft Head from the Southern Upland Way on the descent.