John and I were out with a Falkirk Community Trust Winter Mountaineering group of Jim, Linda, Paul, Siobhan and Tom today. The choice of where to go was a hard one given weather and conditions. We ended up going to Coomb Craig Ridge on Swatte Fell near Moffat. This means after having not been there in winter since 2003 I’ve now been there twice this season.
The ridge faces North-East and we hoped we’d be sheltered from the winds and this proved to be the case. There was snow from the base of the ridge, but the turf was only frozen in places, so we opted to climb without crampons, but with an axe in case of a slip and for the occasional hold. We climbed the left side of the bottom buttress and then continued up the crest of the ridge. Care is required with loose rock, particularly on the bottom buttress; this can be bypassed on the left and would be better if well frozen.
Once on the plateau above the ridge, which is only just over 700m, we were exposed to winds of circa 40mph with gusts of 50mph, making us glad we weren’t any higher. We were back to the minibus before the rain/snow started in the afternoon, which made the day all the more pleasant.
There are sizable cornices above Nether Coomb. Strong South-Westerly winds during the day and as we drove back over Beattock there was sleet falling.