Swatte Fell. The Hard Way.

18th December 2011

What a day ๐Ÿ™‚ I`ve wanted to do this for years but the right combination of weather,snow conditions and partners have never come together at the right time. Midweek,Scott and I had planned do do a bit of easy climbing up in Glencoe on the Sunday but asย  the weekend drew nearer the forecast grew more dismal.The Borders however were due to bask under a blue sky.I suggested Black Crag gully followed by a round of the Blackhope horseshoe which would get a new Corbett,Hart Fell,for Scott into the bargain.Bob then decided to come and go up the ridge to take some climbing pics before we met up at the top of the climb for a walk around the horseshoe.

As it`s a short drive down the road from my house it was still early when we arrived at Capplegill and a bit on the parky side to boot as we were in the shade.A few hundred metres up the glen our original intention for the day,Black Crag gully, came into view..

Black Craig gully.

The bottom pitches looked pretty bare and we were reluctant to commit ourselves to an hour or two in the shade when it was such a beautiful day.I suggested Coomb Craig Ridge further up the glen and this suited Bob too so we carried on up the frozen track.

Walk in up the Blackhope Burn.

Back once more into the shade for a rising traverse up the hillside towards the ridge….

Approach to Coomb Craig Ridge.

Start of the first steep section of the ridge looking down on Scott and Bob..

Start of the ridge.

…and a photo by Scott of myself heading up..

Looking up Coomb Craig Ridge.

This wasn`t as hard as it had looked and we were soon at the easy middle section.Looking back to Bob and Scott…

Saddle Yoke.

Another photo from Scott of myself heading over to the final pinnacle…

Final pinnacle on Coomb Craig ridge.

It doesn`t get any easier as you get older ๐Ÿ™‚ Bob takes a breather…

Bobs new jacket ๐Ÿ™‚

Bob at the final steep section up to the pinnacle…

Bob on the pinnacle.

Scott on top of the pinnacle looking over to White Coomb in the distance…

Scott at the top of Coomb Craig ridge.

Bob on the Hilary Step ๐Ÿ™‚

Hilary Step.

All that was left was a gentle stroll up to the plateau ๐Ÿ™‚

Final slope up to Swatte Fell.

From there over to the summit of Swatte Fell was a slightly annoying walk over a snow pack that would hold your weight for a few steps and then suddenly collapse.Still,I needed to bag the Donald ๐Ÿ™‚ Had a spot of lunch here and having a look around we spotted a fresh set of footprints in the distance heading towards Hart Fell.That`ll do nicely we though to ourselves ๐Ÿ™‚
Myself heading towards Hart Fell….

On the way to Hart Fell.

Heading over Falcon Crag on the way….

Going up Falcon Crag.

Going down Falcon Crag.

It seemed a lot further than the map would suggest and it was 1.30 when we reached the trig point on Hart Fell where we were joined by a fell runner from Abingdon and his two mad collies.We had hoped to do the entire round of the horseshoe over to Saddle Yoke but time was running out and we decided to relax a bit and savour the rest of the day.There were the remnants of a few large windslab avalanches immediately below us so we contoured off to the north a bit before heading down the Cold Grain burn to the valley floor.

Scott heads off down…..

Scott heading down.

Back into the shade again…

Descending Cold Grain.

A last look at Coomb Craig ridge in passing…

Coomb Craig ridge

Walking back down the glen…

The walk out.

Arrived back at Capplegill in the last dying light after one of the best hill days of the year. I`m off to Assynt this weekend and hopefully the weather will be equally cooperative ๐Ÿ™‚

A bit of low res video footage where you can hear Bob complaing about cold fingers.It was a bit cold on the ridge ๐Ÿ™‚

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12 Responses to Swatte Fell. The Hard Way.

  1. What a beautiful looking day – reminds me of when we used to go to the Cairngorms every February half-term hols. May be some more snow coming this weekend too?

    • This particular part of the Borders is very much like the Cairngorms Chrissie. Not too far a trek in your camper van either for a weekend.I believe the snow is heading your way alas…maybe a spot of rain up north.
      If you liste to Pete he`ll have you believe that the Borders have the beating of anywhere else on the planet nevermind the Cairngorms.Possible exception of the South Downs perhaps ๐Ÿ™‚
      Alex.

  2. writesofway says:

    Very enjoyable post there, Alex. Took me a few lines before it began to look a bit familiar. Still, any opportunity to gaze in wonder at the half-price technicolour wonder that is Bob’s New Jacket. Some cracking pics to boot. I think that was the weekend you invited us along, but we were down in Sussex – sorry to have missed what looks to have been a fine day out.
    Have fun up in Assynt, looking forward to hearing all about it.

    • Aye Pete,I`m a wee bit behind with this blogging malarkey ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

      I`m glad you appreciate a much reduced well tailored article of clothing such as the one being modelled by Bob in this post.I must tell you though that it was actually purchased in 1992 or thereabouts at a salvage sale where we got some great bargains I kid you not.!

  3. Hey what a fantastic looking day out and great photos. Maybe the north isn’t always the best place to be. I am very jealous- but mostly of Bob’s jacket which much have been acquired specially for those crisp, sunny photographs !!

  4. great looking day out. Love the video clip. It gives a nice added extra to the post.

  5. McEff says:

    That’s spectacular stuff, Alex. But wouldn’t you rather be down here in England in the nice soft mud and rain?

  6. I thought I’d commented on this but can’t see anything on here – beautiful photos. Do you think a mountain coward would be okay on that ridge – perhaps on a non-snowy day?
    Carol.

  7. foinaven says:

    Cracking pics, Alex. Looks like a great trip too. Will check this one out on my map!

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