Slackdhu - 496m
Friday 14th January 2011

Weather/Conditions: Warm (c. 10C) weather, ground saturated from previous rain, rivers and waterfalls in spate. Sunny on ascent, turned dark and clouds before the summit, massive amounts of wind and lashing rain on top before clearing to sun once more on descent.
Distance/Ascent/Time: 6.9km / 400m / 2h 10m
Accompanying: Alone

The snow's disappeared - not completely, but lies in streaks along the hillsides. They highlight the basalt/dolerite layers of the Campsie Fells as snow banks build up on the lee slopes of the tops. Dumbreck especially always holds more of snow than the rest.

For now, it's been raining a lot. And the Milngavie - Strathblane drive revealed white streaks of water gushing over the cliff tops. I don't always like the incessant rain but waterfalls are beautiful to watch, especially when the mountain gushes with their power. Streams swell to torrents, carrying mud and silt lower to the valleys, reminding you that they are continuing to remove the mountains piece by piece. When the waters flow like they did today, the mountain really comes alive.

But it was sunny when I started out. I battled through the saturated slopes of the Slackdhu riverbanks to emerge on the lower slopes, gaining height quickly because despite the low activity as of recent, the legs are feeling powerful. I wanted to visit the waterfalls rather than go to a summit, but went for the latter since I hadn't visited in a while. I went for the easy 'scramble' (it was grabbing onto turf up a soaking hillside) and enjoyed the thrill. I'd brought along an axe which didn't touch snow all day, but helped enormously since it pierced the damp slopes well. It's called an ice axe, but my God it helps on steep grass.

But then the rain came on. The cloud base lowered to shield the plateau - just as I arrived! - and I put on a jacket and over-trousers. Since I'd lost my good trousers, the replacements (temporary) were cheap and without zips. It was a crazy scene - standing in 50mph winds, taking off my boots, putting trousers on and putting boots back on.

In the mist with a compass but without map, I found the summit but left soon for the wind and pelting rain was too strong to endure.

I headed back via. Stonen Glen where the rain dissipated. It didn't take long as the wind whisked it away. Sunny for a while longer, I was soaked through and a bit cold, though the Keela Munro jacket stood up much better than my old North Face could hoped to have.

So I headed back to Blanefield the low way and caught the bus following a 45 minute wait, damp and cold!

All in all it was a good short jaunt to the hills. The wind and rain can be annoying but in the aftermath it's invigorating. Sunny days are fun, but don't test.

In the evening I had to be back for Treacherous Orchestra gig in the Glasgow ABC - good times.

Times (Time relative to 0.00)
(0.00) 1.50pm Blanefield
(1.05) 2.55pm Slackdhu
(2.10) 4.00pm Blanefield
Written: 2011-01-14