Hills: Bareback Knowe and Windlestraw Law
Date: Monday 29th November 2021
Company: Just myself
Distance: 9.1km, Ascent: 420m
Time: 2Hrs 38Mins

On the way home from the Southern Uplands I stopped to ascend one of my four remaining Donald Tops, Bareback Knowe. I set off walking circa thirty minutes before sunrise. At the outset the temperature was -4.5C.


From Glentress, I followed the fenceline to the col between Dod Hill and Bareback Knowe.

Looking back to Glentress during initial ascent:

From the col I then followed the fenceline up Bareback Knowe.

According to the OS Landranger map, Bareback Knowe would appear to be the name given to the ridge. However, the Database of British Hills also gives this name to the Donald Top but also refers to it as Windlestraw Law (SW Top).

The pre-sunrise colours were nice.



The ascent of Bareback Knowe was straight-forward thanks to a track either side of the fenceline. You can ascend via the track to the left or right of the fenceline or make use of both as I did.

Ascending Bareback Knowe:

Looking back during ascent:

Following the fenceline up Bareback Knowe:

Bareback Knowe:

On reaching the upper section of Bareback Knowe, on looking back I spotted an unusual cloud feature which I have seen only once previously - Kelvin Helmholtz clouds. These are very rare in the UK.

Looking back:

Kelvin Helmholtz Clouds (zoom):

After photographing the clouds I progressed on to the summit of Bareback Knowe.

At the summit of Bareback Knowe:

Having previously ascended Windlestraw Law it had been my intention to return directly via the route of ascent. At the summit I changed my plan deciding to head across to also ascend Windlestraw Law thus undertaking a circuit instead of an out and back.

Cairn on Bareback Knowe:

It didn't take long to reach the summit of Windlestraw Law.

At the trig point near the summit of Windlestraw Law:

Transmitter a short distance below summit:

The descent from Windlestraw Law was not as easy as expected. While the initial descent was via soft, unconsolidated snow, the mid-section was mostly ice. I spotted numerous red grouse during the descent.

Descent from Windlestraw Law:

Looking back to Windlestraw Law:

On reaching the road, I walked circa 1km back to the car.