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Corbett bagging: An easy out-and-back on Broad Law

Written by Fiona

February 01 2022

After a longer walk to the summit of the Corbett Ben Vuirich on the Saturday, my walking friend Ben and I decided we would prefer a shorter and easier Corbett on the Sunday. Ben had already summitted Broad Law in southern Scotland (he took in two other summits that time) but he said he was happy to repeat the walk with me.

I was on a quest to complete this final Corbett in mainland southern Scotland. It was a long drive (1.5 hours from Ben’s home in Edinburgh) to the start of the walk near Megget Reservoir, in the Scottish Borders.

Tip: If you have the time, energy and better weather, it’s well worth walking a longer route of Broad Law and two “Donalds” Cramalt Craig and Dollar Law. However, you should note there is a long section of road to complete at the start or end of the circuit. See Walk Highlands.

On our chosen Sunday in January, the weather wasn’t on our side with strong winds and low clouds, so we aimed only for Broad Law.

The views would be tremendous on a clearer day.

What’s it like?: Broad Law

The 840m tall Corbett qualifies as the second highest hill in southern Scotland and it is the highest in the Scottish Borders.  It sits in the Manor Hills range and part of the Southern Uplands of Scotland.

The walk starts on a singletrack tarmac road that heads from the tiny settlement of Tweedsmuir to St Mary’s Loch, between Megget Reservoir and Talla Reservoir. There is a small area for cars to park right next to Megget Stone, which marks the highest point on the road.

Megget Stone is also located on the watershed and on the boundary between Selkirkshire and Peeblesshire. 

Because the route starts at a fairly high elevation, the total ascent to reach the summit of Broad Law is only  428m.

Ben and I were grateful for the relatively easy outing. The route is rarely steep but it was soggy and boggy underfoot. Like the previous day’s walk to Ben Vuirich, the weather app’s promised sunshine didn’t materialise and we spent a lot of time walking in the clouds.

The way to the trig at the summit is fairly obvious with a well-worn path, or a trod across the boggier sections. While still below the clouds, we glimpsed some of the beautiful views, especially across to Megget Reservoir, that can be enjoyed in clearer conditions.

The scenery in the Borders is of pleasantly rolling hills and mountains – and it offers a great landscape for easier-going walks. During our hike, however, we had limited vistas to enjoy.

Ben and I made quick progress and I was surprised to see the trig pillar looming out of the mist in the near distance. I had to check my OS map app to be sure we had reach the top already.

On a clearer day, you would easily spot an air traffic beacon and a nearby radio tower on the summit as well. Because of the cloud, Ben and I needed to walk further on to gain a closer perspective.

We stopped for a quick photo and a snack before turning tail and returning the same way as we had arrived.

Why is Broad Law so popular?

The Corbett then became suddenly and surprisingly busy. One of the reasons I really like the Corbetts is that you meet far fewer people than on the Munros.

We knew there would be one couple following us up the mountain because we had bumped into them at the start on the roadside. We met them on our return walk, stopped for a chat and then pushed on when the cold wind made us shiver.

On the descent we met another six or seven people. I wondered whether that walk had featured in a recent magazine or newspaper article, or if everyone had the same idea as us: An easier Corbett following a harder previous day’s hike.

I think this is the most people I’ve seen on a Corbett since running the ever popular Corbett in the Arrochar Alps.

But tit did seem strange because the walk is not easy to drive to, nor does it seem like the sort of route that would gain attention for its amazing attractiveness. Perhaps, for people living in the Borders, it’s simply a nice Sunday stroll.

Broad Law walking route details

Distance: 7.8km

Total ascent: 428m

Height: 840m

See: Strava or OS Maps.

Total Corbetts bagged: 77.

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