Archive for May 22nd, 2010

May 22, 2010

Cold Moss from Overfingland

by backpackingbongos

Sometimes it is good to escape into the hills just for a couple of hours or so.  I was kicked out of the cottage that I had rented at 10.00am and did not want to drive straight home.  I decided to head to the other side of the Lowthers to see if I could get a different perspective on what had now become familiar hills.

4.5 miles with 460 metres ascent

I found a small grassy pull in where the Southern Upland Way crosses the A702 .  As I was putting my boots on a farmer zipped up on his quad bike with two Border collies riding shotgun at the back.  A friendly chap, he was interested to know where I was heading and warned me to be careful as there was still some deep snow up on the hills.  He was going round his land picking up dead lambs, the recent snow had come at exactly the wrong time for hill farmers.  He also warned me to be carefull around the cows on the hillside as they had newborn calves and were known to be aggressive if you got in between them.  The pleasant exchange was ruined slightly at the end when he managed to make a racist comment before biding me farewell!

It was a muddy initial climb up the Southern Upland way due to the boggy ground having been trampled by cattle.  However height was quickly gained and I got a good view of the Lowther hills looking pretty similar to the Howgill fells once again.

In my planning haste I had not spotted that there is a fair drop between Laght hill and the ridge of Comb head.  It was here that I noticed very dark broody clouds bubbling up in the distance.  They were already beginning to skim the hill tops a few miles away and were heading my way.  I was determined to get to the top of Cold Moss whilst I still had a view.

The ridge between Combe Head and Cold moss is just about narrow enough to stop it being a dull moorland plod.  The clouds were now only just about scudding above my head but the view down into the Dalveen pass was pretty impressive.  There is something about these steep sided grassy hills that really appeals to me.

The summit of Cold Moss was pretty nondescript and I did not stop, instead heading straight down the ridge in an easterly direction from Inner Comb.  I was soon engulfed by hill fog and heavy rain which made the already wet snow even more unpleasant to walk though.  At the foot of the ridge I spotted a hut which I hoped would give me shelter from the rain and somewhere to sit and drink my flask of coffee.  Alas it was locked but there was a porch from which I could get my camera out and snap the now gloomy hills.

I assumed that the track marked on the map would give good quick progress back to the van.  It did until I was met by a gate with a sign saying that the track ahead was private and there was no right of way.  I could have gone for it but my map showed it going through the farm and I was not up for being chased by dogs or having to explain why I had ignored the sign.  A quick look back up the valley and I took a steep line directly up the hillside before contouring round the farm and back onto the Southern Upland Way.

A great couple of hours on the hill and I was now ready for the drive back to Nottingham and the hustle and bustle of city life.