Walk: The Ettrick Seven

Scottish Borders | Ettrick Hills | Full day walk | ★★★

[Entertrona Burn with White Shank & Fauldside Hill beyond]

Deep in Scottish Border country, the Ettrick Hills are a lonely, rolling range adjacent to the better-known Moffat Hills. A ring of 7 summits (or 4, or 9, depending on what you think constitutes a hill: discuss) surrounding the upper course of the Ettrick Water offers a fine horseshoe route with only small descents and reascents between most (but not all) of the summits. First on the menu is Bodesbeck Law, which is missed out by a signpost early in the walk despite offering the best views of Moffat Dale and Carrifran Glen. Last but not least is Ettrick Pen - highest in the range - overlooking the vast, sparsely populated Eskdalemuir Forest. The bothy passed on descent is one of the more luxurious in the MBA catalogue (though we'd still prefer to stay somewhere with toilet facilities).

[Black Hope from White Shank]

Location & info

📌 Walk: The Ettrick Seven ★★★
Start / finish at minor road end 6 mi west of Ettrick, G.R.: NT 189093 ///dome.grief.file
❌ No public transport within 1 mi | 🚗 Space at road end - do not block gates or impede turning

▶ 16 km / 10 mi | ▲ 870 m | ⌚ Full day
Features: △ Bodesbeck Law (665 m, Donald); △ White Shank (622 m); △ Smidhope Hill (644 m); △ Capel Fell (678 m, Graham / Donald); △ Wind Fell (665 m, Donald); △ Hopetoun Craig (632 m); △ Ettrick Pen (692 m, Graham / Donald); Over Phawhope Bothy
Tough | Track for initial ascent & valley return. Higher up there are faint, grassy paths almost throughout, but brief pathless sections & boggy areas.

Route: Start - Bught Hill - Bodesbeck Law - Fauldside Hill - White Shank - Smidhope Hill - Capel Fell - cross Southern Upland Way - Wind Fell - Hopetoun Craig - Ettrick Pen - descend northwest to Entertrona Burn - Over Phawhope Bothy - start

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On our visit

Wildlife: Red grouse & lizards on the hill, mallard ducks & sheep near Over Phawhope Bothy. Lots of pheasants & a red squirrel on the journey to the start.
Weather: Reaching 8°C after a morning frost. Some snow patches visible on the Moffat Hills. Sunny but with moderate winds, cloud building a little on descent.

Chronological photo guide

[Looking north from Bodesbeck Law]

[Lizard]

[Carrifran Glen from Bodesbeck Law]

[Hart Fell & Black Hope from Bodesbeck Law]

[Descent from Bodesbeck Law]

[Looking back at Bodesbeck Law]

[Ascending Fauldside Hill]

[Black Hope from White Shank]

[Smidhope Hill has great views down the Ettrick Water]

[Smidhope Hill from Capel Fell]

[Croft Head from Capel Fell]

[The descent & reascent to Wind Fell is the toughest part of the day]

[Looking back to Capel Fell]

[The way ahead from Wind Fell]

[Cairn just west of Hopetoun Craig summit]

[Ettrick Pen from Hopetoun Craig]

[View back to Hopetoun Craig]

[View south over Eskdalemuir Forest from Ettrick Pen]

[Ettrick Pen - highest of the Ettrick Hills]

[Descend north from Ettrick Pen at first, soon curving west]

[The descent to Entertrona Burn is aided by a path at first]

[Entertrona Burn]

[Over Phawhope Bothy]

[An easy walk back out to the parking area]

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