Dumgoyne - 427m
Saturday 23rd October 2010

Weather/Conditions: Clear skies and moonlight - very bright and headtorch seldom needed. A bit cold on top but warm elsewhere.
Distance/Ascent/Time: 8.3km / 400m / 3h
Accompanying: Alone

This was a wonderful walk, and well worth doing. It started out being one of those days of beautiful, settled autumnal weather when I was at a loose end. Well what to do? Since I hadn't been on the hills in the day I got a lift out to Blanefield and I climbed Dumgoyne by night. With the Moon full and bright, and barely a cloud in the sky, it should present no problems.

I grabbed some chips on the way, ate in the car and was dropped off at Blanefield. There was little light when I started since the moon hadn't risen over the bulk of Slackdhu yet. The walk was uneventful as I walked out the track towards Cantywheery, where turning uphill, I skirted the spruces of Craigbrock Wood and continued to climb towards Dumgoyne.

Then near the river, I looked up from the darkness to see some trees by the water glowing in the strangest way. It was a shock to see trees in from of me lit up with highlights and shadows when all was completely dark. I walked up to them and from the direction of Slackdhu the Moon slipped out, here revealed the reason the sight had seemed so strange. In the night, the trees ahead had been lit up by the rising Moon, but from where I first saw them there was no Moon. The camera and tripod came out and I attempted to capture this scene. Perhaps nothing could capture the sublime, achingly beautiful sight of a landscape illuminated by the moonlight and I certainly didn't.

As I climbed beyond the trees I was in the full glare of the moon and I discovered that while walking into it, low in the sky as it was, it would play havoc with my night vision and I wished I had a cap to shield my eyes. Additionally the wind-up handle on the one torch I carried snapped off so torch light was limited. Hardly necessary here. I walked into Dumfoyn's shadow, finding walking easier with the ground not obscured by moonlight and pitch black shadows, confusing conditions to walk in to say the least. A torch helps to fill in the blacks but I didn't have one I felt I could afford to loose.

One long pull to the top of Dumgoyne followed and I stood sucking up magnificent views in relative comfort. I took a 360 degree panorama and couple others, spending far longer than planned on top. Snow covered Ben More and Stob Binnein were visible on the horizon as was Ben Lomond, Loch Lomond and many other sights. Simply magnificent.

Then I headed downwards the way I came, not using a torch but realising that with the time spent out in the dark, I could now read in between the black shadows of the path and move with as much ease as I would in daylight - a big change from the ascent. I arrived back later than planned but it was still so worth while.

I mean, it was brilliant, and so close to home. We live in a superb country.


Dumgoyne 360°

Loch Lomond Detail
Times (Time relative to 0.00)
(0.00) 6.45pm Blanefield
(1.35) 8.20pm Dumgoyne
(2.10) 8.55pm Dumgoyne (left)
(3.00) 9.45pm Blanefield

*Note* When I finished the walk I was sure it lasted two hours and neglected to take an image at the end. But the times suggest three hours, which in retrospect is definitely more reasonable...
Written: 2010-10-30