Hills: Carrifran Gans, White Coomb, Hart Fell, Whitehope Heights
Date: Saturday 31st May 2014
Company: Just myself
Distance: 18.3km, Ascent: 1115m
Time: 6Hrs 15Mins

My original plan for today was to ascend Carrifran Gans from Carrifran (up and back) and then drive to Ericstane to ascend Whitehope Heights (up and back). However on studying the map I noticed that I could potentially ascend Carrifran Gans and Whitehope Heights in a traverse that would also take in White Coomb and Hart Fell via the interestingly-named Rotten Bottom.

I therefore decided to drive to Ericstane (leaving the car parked there) and arrange for a taxi to pick me up from Ericstane and take me to Carrifran. This would allow me to undertake the traverse with my car conveniently located at the end of the walk.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

After getting dropped off at Carrifran, I followed a good track for several hundred metres before taking to the hillside.

Carrifran Gans from start of track:

The ascent of the lower slopes of Carrifran Gans was not particularly pleasant - an ascent through long grass, tussocks and bracken.

Ascending the lower slopes of Carrifran Gans:

Beyond the rough lower slopes the ascent was relentlessly steep. I stopped several times during the ascent to let my heart-rate slow down.

Following the dyke up Carrifran Gans:

Looking back to Moffat Dale:

Ascending Carrifran Gans:

I didn't expect to see anyone else ascending via this steep route. I was therefore quite suprised to see someone running up the steep slope! The Harry Enfield catchphrase came to mind, "That bloke's a nutter!"

Final steep section of Carrifran Gans:

It was relief to swap steep slope for gentle walking as I walked the final few hundred metres to the summit.

Following the fence to the summit of Carrifran Gans:

Carrifran Gans is a New Donald.

Summit of Carrifran Gans:

A short distance beyond the summit of Carrifran Gans I was overtaken by the fell runner. Throughout the rest of the day I met no-one else on the hills.

Heading across to White Coomb:

Looking back to Carrifran Gans from White Coomb:

It didn't take long to get from Carrifran Gans to White Coomb. I last ascended White Coomb in March 2008. White Coomb is a Corbett, Marilyn, Donald, New Donald and HuMP.

Summit of White Coomb:

From White Coomb, I made my way across to Firthhope Rig.

Following the fance and low dyke from White Coomb to Firthhope Rig:

On reaching Firthhope Rig I stopped for my first drink of the day and to put on more suncream.

Looking back to White Coomb from Firthhope Rig:

Looking towards Hart Fell from Firthhope Rig:

The easiest line of descent from Firthhope Rig to Rotten Bottom follows the fenceline.

Descent to Rotten Bottom:

Rotten Bottom was interesting in name only. An area with a number of large peat hags and much wetness at the col.

Rotten Bottom:

From Rotten Bottom, I followed a fence ascending towards the col between the 685m top and the 709m top of Cape Law.

Ascent out of Rotten Bottom:

Despite Cape Law being a Donald, I decided not to bother taking the detour out to reach its summit. I have ascended Cape Law previously and have no intention of ever doing a second round of New Donalds!

Looking towards 709m top of Cape Law:

Before reaching Hartfell Rig, I again had to lose height and cross through another area of peat hags and wetness.

Looking across to Hartfell Rig:

Looking back to Cape Law (foreground) and White Coomb and Carrifran Gans (background):

From Hartfell Rig to Hart Fell the terrain was much more pleasant - dry, short grass.

Looking towards Hart Fell from Hartfell Rig:

Fruid Reservoir:

Following the fence to the summit of Hart Fell:

I last ascended Hart Fell in April 2009. My first ascent of this hill was mostly in mist so it was nice today to get some views. Hart Fell is a Corbett, Marilyn, Donald, New Donald and HuMP.

Summit of Hart Fell:

From Hart Fell, I followed another fence with the intention of ascending Whitehope Heights.

Descent towards Whitehope Heights:

Whitehope Heights:

The final descent to the col between Hart Fell and Whitehope Heights was fairly steep as was the initial ascent of Whitehope Heights. It was nice to see lots of newly planted trees.

Saplings below Whitehope Heights:

Yesterday I passed two pre-windfarm masts on Coomb Dod and Hudderstone. Today I passed yet another pre-windfarm mast just below Whitehope Heights.

Following the ridge from Whitehope Knowe to Whitehope Heights:

I had to climb over a steep stile to reach the summit of Whitehope Heights.

Approaching the summit of Whitehope Heights:

Whitehope Heights is a Donald, New Donald and HuMP.

Summit of Whitehope Heights:

What I should have done after visiting the summit is climb back over the stile. I ended up on the wrong side of a high fence. I therefore decided to make up my own route off the hill. I really wish I hadn't as I ended up descending via some really awful terrain.

 I was considerably relieved to escape the poor terrain and reach a large track that is not marked on the map. This bulldozed track was likely used for the planting of thousands of new saplings on the hill. I also think it is very convenient for a new windfarm!

Track not marked on map:

I eventually reached some waymark signs for the Annandale Way. I followed these signs back out to Ericstane.

Following the Annandale Way track back out to Ericstane:

Following the Annandale Way track back out to Ericstane:


An interesting traverse in fantastic weather.