Black Mount,Pentlands.

Bob and I were meant to be working all week and only managed one day due to the snow and ice.The forecast was good all over for Sunday and with no dump on Saturday we had high hopes of a hill. Where to go though.Even if the minor roads had been ploughed the snow would have been piled up into any potential parking spots…a hill from a town or village and a short drive then. Black Mount at Dolphinton near the southern end of the Pentlands seemed to fit the bill with the addd bonus of a 360 degree view.It was a lovely morning indeed-i-o….freshly baked mince pies from the baker in Carnwath and views to die for….

Mist hanging over the Clyde valley…

Arriving in Dolphinton we found that the minor road that snakes around the north of black mount looked in not too bad condition.So it proved to be and we managed to get the car in at the start of the track at NT073470 with some minor spade work.The sheep in the field were delighted to see what they thought were two farmers arriving with some slap up fodder and bounded through the snow towards us.

You can see the disappointed look etched into their faces….

It was bitterly cold as we were in the shade on the northern side of the hill.Dunno what the air teperature was but I had a full weight down jacket and two pairs of mitts on.( Outside today in the garden it was minus 18 in the shade at 11am and it felt similar to Sunday )The cold just enveloped me like a blanket.Never mind,it was only temporary until we got going.We followed the line of the land rover track for a few hundred yards before escaping the snow drifts and heading up onto the north west ridge where hopefully the wind had blown some of the snow off.It did indeed prove easier going although there was still the odd thigh deep snow drift to elicit a few curses.

Looking back to the north to Dunsyre Hill with the Ochils in the background…

The ridge steepened near the top.Frustrating stuff with a nice crisp crust which you are convinced will take your weight…before you plunge through to knee depth.Still,it didn`t last for long.

Once we were up above the 1500 foot level the snow took on a more solid consistency and made for easier walking along the side of the half buried fence….

The freezing weather had its benefits.Culter Fell and it`s outliers…

Over to Tinto….

Spent about 15 minutes at the summit which was enough I can assure you 🙂 We had seen several avalanch cones on the northern slopes on the way up so headed towards the 388 metre top before plunging down towards the land rover track again.

Nearly back at the car…

…where the sheep were still awaiting a delivery of neeps…

It was still earlyish and a shame to waste a good day.Bob had a look at the map and fancied the look of a deep gorge just to the west of the village of Carlops about 6 miles up the road.Squeezed into the car park under the Carlops Rock and set off up a track in the general direction.The track soon ran out and so did my patience as we trudged across fields through deep powder snow.We eventually managed to get to the tame part but daylight was now running out so we decided to leave it until another time.One of the old mine buildings near the gorge…

Back to civilisation…

Lovely drive home in the fading light passing in and out of freezing fog patches.A last look at Tinto again as we pass by….

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