The Last of the Long Field Hills

2.29 miles 1h 15min ascent 75m

Little Auchenfad Hill

Auchenfad, achadh fada, means the long field, which I take to be the land bounded by Craigbill and Auchenfad Hills to the north, and Trostan and Little Auchenfad Hills to the south. Little Auchenfad Hill was the one we had yet to visit.

It is one of the hills near Mabie named on the 1:50k OS map. Like most of the ‘Monicas’ it is a short walk, with two distinct parts: easy forestry track most of the way, with a short stretch of forest to stumble through.

The forestry track starts at NX 95059 69119. There is space enough for one car but there was a car there already. So we had to park a little way up the road and walk back. The track winds through woodland then emerges into bracken where the trees have been felled. There were surprisingly good views across the Solway with the Lakeland hills on the horizon. Little Auchenfad Hill itself is topped with trees about the height of a house.

England from the track on Little Auchenfad Hill

I planned this walk as a recce to find the best place to leave the track. The best options looked to be either NE or SW of the summit. We started by going up the wee track to the NE. That just clips the highest contour on the 1:50k. Its neighbour, Auchenfad Hill, was just across the valley.

Auchenfad Hill

I found the wall, fallen and covered in moss, that I would have followed south then west before striking out for the top. Once I was there it seemed a bit of a waste to turn back. So we plunged into the trees but the forest wasn’t particularly welcoming and we very quickly came to a halt. I turned back aiming to scope the SW approach.

But a minute or so after getting back on the forestry track I saw a more open way into the trees. Not much better, but worth a look. There was a lot of brash, which is a problem for Mabel, and a good few ditches, but the trees were older and it was possible to walk between the trees (bent over a little). We stumbled on, Mabel carried at times, Christy grabbing sticks. I stumbled and ended up on the ground a couple of times. I checked the GPS every so often, adjusted direction and walked a little more.

Approaching the summit the forest became a bit clearer

My waterproof shoes were still drying at home after immersion on Auchengray Hill and the non-waterproof shoes I was wearing were soon wet.

The actual top was difficult to find. I could not see very far what with the trees but eventually there was no more discernible slope. At one point I stood on a rock which I was pretty certain was higher than anything around me but, just to be certain, we pressed to the place the GPS had as the top. I suspect there wasn’t much difference between the two.

Mabel on the summit
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