Date: 25th June 2008
Distance: 7.8 miles
Ascent: 2037 feet
Time: 3 hours 40 minutes
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: NT881227
A super walk from the College Valley on to the Border Ridge visiting hills with such evocative names as The Schil, The Curr and Black Hag.
Route Summary: Mounthooly - Black Hag - The Curr - Pennine Way The Schil - Birnie Brae - Red Cribs - College Burn - Mounthooly
Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.
Walk Detail: As access to the College Valley requires the purchase of a pass I had taken a bit of a gamble by pre-purchasing the permit for this particular day. I had initially planned to walk to the end of the valley from my starting point at Mounthooly before climbing on to the ridge. However the weather was so nice and the forecast had been for rain in the morning that I hurried up to Black Hags first.
The ascent was fairly dull and it was not until I reached the Border Ridge that this walk became interesting. But what interest!! This section of the Pennine Way was an absolute joy with the views into Scotland and of the surrounding hills being first rate.
The summit of Black Hag was less exciting as the summit was unmarked though Corbie Crag was a nice little outcrop. The low cloud over Windy Gyle to the south almost persuaded me not to climb The Curr though in the end the 'there and back' foray into Scotland was worth it. One of the best sections of the walk was from the col between The Curr and Black Hag heading back to The Schil with excellent views of the latter with the lovely Rowhope Valley below.
The climb up The Schil was probably the steepest section of the walk but one which provided good views. My stay on the summit was curtailed a bit due to the strong winds which not even the excellent rocky outcrop at the summit could shelter me from.
The weather deteriorated a bit on the descent and after crossing the unremarkable top Birnie Brae I visited the Mountain Hut to get a view of Hen Hole. My timing was not the best as a party of walkers (the only ones I saw on the walk) had just taken residence in the small hut so I couldn't even get in and then a sudden drizzle largely obscured my view of Hen Hole.
The descent via Red Crib and the walk down the College Valley was most pleasant and I felt that this would be a bird watcher’s paradise. I enjoyed this walk though I probably rushed it somewhat due to worrying, fairly needlessly, about the weather. I would definitely pay the £10 permit to do this walk again.