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International Mountain Leader, Winter and Summer Mountain Leader

Blog for January 31st, 2016

January 31st, 2016
Hammer Time in the Snowy Scottish Borders
Broughton Place, circling north above and then going up Hammer Head

I had been away in Germany when the heavy snow had fallen in January and the storms that followed put me off venturing out. Unfortunately recent warm weather had melted much of the snow

A day of fresh snow arrived but it wouldn't be enough to make a trip to the Highlands worthwhile so a nearer trip to the Borders was in order
Brightest part of day was in the car park at the start
Start of walk at car park after Broughton Place
Between Biggar and Peebles a series of rolling hills lie near Broughton with a car park just along from Broughton Place

I hadn't explored this area before so wasn't sure what mixture of grass, bog, deep heather it would contain

Satellite images showed the path from the car park was a good sized track but I couldn't see a bridge over the stream
Looking back to car park
The stream crossing had a small raised platform to cross by so dry boots
Track goes to bealach on left of photo
The basic plan was to follow the track north up to the bealach between Clover law and Broomy Side and then follow the broad top to Wether Law
Looking back after arriving at bealach
Looking north west from bealach
A fainter track goes up from the bealach to the broad grassed tops
Looking over to Green Law and Wether Law
A small track continues along the tops all the way around and down by the woods
Looking back to Wether Law on far left and Brown Dod
The eastern side of Hammer Head has large patterned areas on its slope

These are areas of heather burning that take place over the years and shows that the land is actually managed for grouse

The heather is burnt to encourage new heather to grow for the grouse to feed on. Areas of old heather are kept for shelter and nesting
Looking to Hammer Head with its managed heather patterns
So the patches indicated that the slopes would be covered in heather, making the uphill journey harder. Luckily a faint track could be seen going up the hill

The route after this was along the broad top and then cutting off straight down to the track from the car park

Drizzle started but the weather had been good all day. Windy but no rain with good visibility to 200 metres

A hollow along the top could easily catch you out if the snow had been much deeper and with little visibility
Hollow after leaving spot height 537 near Trahenna Hill