Hills: Laird's Cleuch Rig, Erie Hill, Garelet Dod (and Talla Cleuch Head)
Date: Saturday 1st March 2014
Company: Just myself
Distance: 9.9km (& 3.5km) Ascent: 580m (& 390m)
Time: 3Hrs 55Mins (& 1Hr 15Mins)

I set off today to ascend the three New Donalds above Talla Linfoots - Laird's Cleuch Rig, Erie Hill and Garelet Dod. The cloud base was unfortunately below the summits throughout most of the morning.

On arrival at Talla Linfoots, I parked just off the road next to the roadside fence, where there is room for several cars.

Click here to view a map of the routes undertaken

Talla Linfoots:

I crossed the dilapidated bridge over the Games Hope Burn before starting the steep ascent of Garelet Hill.

Bridge over the Games Hope Burn:

I ascended Garelet Hill on the right-hand-side of the waterfall.

Steep ascent up Garelet Hill:

Talla Reservoir from lower slopes of Garelet Hill:

Waterfall on Garelet Hill:

I zig-zagged a fair bit during the ascent to make the ascent less steep.

Looking down to the East-end of Talla Reservoir:

On looking back to the start, I could see another car and a small camper van now parked next to my car. I'm guessing they made their way in towards Gameshope bothy, as I spotted fresh boot prints on the track on my way out.

Carlavin Hill and road leading to the Megget Stone:

I reached the trig point at the summit of Garelet Hill in just under one hour. With all the hard work now behind me, it was an easy walk from Garelet Hill to Laird's Cleuch Rig, Erie Hill and Garelet Dod.

Trig point at summit of Garelet Hill:

At each of the summits, I visited all potential high points. Three out of four of the summits today are featureless.

Featureless summit of Laird's Cleuch Rig:

As with many other Donalds, much of today was spent following fences and dykes. The Southern Uplands is definitely the land of fences, wind turbines and pot holes!

Dyke leading towards Erie Hill:

Ascending Erie Hill:

According to the Database of British Hills, the cairn is the summit of Erie Hill. I am not convinced this is correct. The ground below a rusty fencepost seemed a little higher.

Looking towards summit cairn of Erie Hill:

While standing at the summit of Erie Hill, the cloud briefly lifted providing a fleeting glimpse of Garelet Dod.

Garelet Dod from summit of Erie Hill:

Looking back to Erie Hill:

I followed the fence up Common Law and then across to Garelet Dod.

Following the dyke up Common Law:

Following the dyke to Garelet Dod:

Looking back:

During the final ascent of Garelet Dod, I noticed lots of footprints in the snow. I am not good at identifying footprints, I wondered if they could possibly have been made by a fox?

Footprints in the snow:

The summit of Garelet Dod is fairly flat and featureless.

Gameshope Loch from summit of Garelet Dod (zoom):

Looking towards Din Law and Cape Law with Hart Fell beyond:

During the descent from Garelet Dod, I passed a circular sheep pen.

Circular sheep pen:

I crossed the Games Hope Burn about twenty metres away from a linn.

Half-way across the Games Hope Burn:


I was really impressed with the Games Hope Burn; it has numerous falls and linns. A walk along the Games Hope Burn would be a worthwhile objective in itself.

A small fall:

Games Hope Burn:

On reaching the Gameshope Bothy, I wasn't amused to find that it was on the other side of the Games Hope Burn. There was no way I was not visiting the bothy, so I crossed the burn getting wet feet in the process.

Gameshope Bothy from across the Games Hope Burn:

Gameshope Bothy is really nice; one of the nicest bothies I have visited. After signing the visitor book, I crossed the Games Hope Burn again to utilise the excellent track back out to the road.

Gameshope Bothy:

Inside Gameshope bothy:

Inside Gameshope bothy:

Following the track out from Gameshope to road:

Following the track out from Gameshope to road:

As I made my way along the track, I decided that it was still too early to return to the B&B so I decided to also ascend Talla Cleuch Head on the other side of the road.

On reaching the car, I drove a short distance along the road and parked in a small lay-by/passing place next to the Talla Reservoir.

Talla Cleuch Head from road:

The weather had now improved with blue sky overhead, however, I could see some bad weather coming in from the South.

The ascent of Talla Cleuch Head was fairly relentless albeit from a 300m high starting point.

Ascending Talla Cleuch Head:

Talla Reservoir:

Talla Cleuch Head:

During the ascent, the bad weather caught up with me. I was pleased to get covered in snow rather than soaked with rain.

A wee snow shower:

Looking towards the summit of Talla Cleuch Head:

I visited two potential high points at the summit before reversing my in-bound route back to the car.

Featureless summit of Talla Cleuch Head:

Talla Reservoir from Talla Cleuch Head: