Wednesday, 17 October 2018

On Sunday 23rd of September, eleven Biggar Ramblers met at the lovely village of Durisdeer. Two had only come for the village hall afternoon tea, for the rest of us it was to be a special treat after our latest sampling of the Lowther Hills landscape.
WE split into two parties: Jan and Bernard Airlie led a walk up Glenaggart, while John Hart headed a group up the more gruelling Well and Black Hills.
Jan writes: A pleasant lower level walk, plenty of partridges. No grouse because of the hot weather. Red Kites seen in the sky. A gentle walk up Glenaggart to the Kettleton Bothy and beyond, met a gamekeeper doing his rounds. He said the bothy had not been used so much this year. Lovely hill views and blue autumn sky! The usual sumptuous tea to conclude the day out!"
Meanwhile after their very steep ascent of Well Hill the walkers were rewarded with tremendous views of our cherished Border's landscape. To the West they could clearly identify the Lowther Hills, with it's distinctive "golf ball" aircraft tracking station and they thought they could make out the shape of Goat Fell on the Isle of Arran in the far distance. To the South they could see all the way to the Solway and the hills of The Lake District beyond.
When they looked North and back into Scotland across our fabulous local hills they were completely despoiled by an ever growing forest of wind turbines. This is no longer a 'wind farm' but an industrialisation of our cherished landscape, the continuation of this process must  be seriously questioned. There are plans for two further wind turbine developments around the Southern Upland Way at Wanlockhead. A true green legacy for future generations would be to conserve our wild landscape and it's ecology. This special area should be designated a National Park equivalent to the Lake District or the North Yorkshire Moors. John Hart ( walks secretary)
On Sunday 2nd September, seven members of Biggar Ramblers undertook a nine mile circular walk around Coulter Fell. The walk commenced from a layby near Culter Allers Farm and initially followed a gently sloping path through woodland. As we emerged onto the hillside and began to climb, some great views of the Clyde Valley past Tinto and Symington opened  up. These disappeared as the path got steeper and we climbed higher through strong gusting winds and a swirling mist, past Tippet Knowe, across Glenharvie Moss, and up the final slopes to the 784 metre high Culter Fell Peak. After a short stop to savour our achievement and catch breath we started to descend gradually by Moss Law to Holm Nick.
The weather had improved considerably and we had a relaxed break by a burn before following a scenic path along Culter Water down to Coulter Reservoir. We continued on the path along the reservoir before following the Culter Water for a further two miles back to our start point.

Monday, 3 September 2018

On a warm, sunny Saturday 25th August, 7 ramblers, including a visitor from Australia, set off from Selcoth, near Moffat, for a trip into the high, beautiful Moffat Hills. Following the Selcoth Burn, the party had to traverse a narrow path through a dark and fearsome ravine before successfully reaching the Southern Upland Way at the top of the glen, overlooked by the sharp, vertical escarpment of Craigmichen Scar. A narrow and undulating path led the party beneath the bulk of Capel Fell to the saddle at Ettrick Head. Here, the path became a forestry track leading eventually to the bothy at Over Phawhope. The party continued to Potburn Farm and then commenced a fairly steep but easy climb up Potburn Rig. Then, as they descended beside the Bodesbeck Burn, a magnificent panorama opened up of the hills across the Moffat Water - Saddle Yoke, Hart Fell, Swatte Fell, surrounding the deep chasm of Black Hope and looking magnificent in the afternoon sun. After reaching Bodesbeck Farm, the party returned to Selcoth by a pleasant easy route through fields. Over this section they had to ford several burns, but were rewarded with the sight of a buzzard flying slowly around the woods at Sailfoot.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

They got soaked- On Wednesday evening, 1st August, sixteen Biggar Ramblers met up at Candybank for a 'bring a dish' meal. This was to be preceded by a short walk up the nearby Broomy Law first visiting the recently refurbished 'cattle creep' under the A702. Twelve hardy souls 'volunteered' for the walk despite the rain teeming down!
They walked from Candybank up the road to Edmunston House. James Whitson had given permission for them to access the 'cattle creep' from his grounds. They looked briefly at the ruins of the old castle that was original fortified residence before the present 'big house' was built in 1815. Once they had accessed the fields of Brownsbank Farm they made their way to the farm access road abandoning the Broomy Law target and headed back past the 'writer's cottage' ( Hugh MacDiarmid's former residence). The cottage looks in rather a sorry state at the moment. The call of a lovely buffet meal was getting stronger as the walkers were all getting wetter!
Once back the splendid food and convivial atmosphere didn't disappoint. Thanks are due to everyone for their gastronomic contributions. A lovely meal tastes even better after a good soaking.
John Hart
On Saturday 29th July a small group of Biggar ramblers set off from Glasgow Central Station to explore the murals of Glasgow with Lynn Weir. The route took them initially past the "Hip Hop Marionettes" and onto Strathclyde University buildings where they saw several murals including a seven storey high lecture hall complete with students, an equatorial telescope and a Land-Ship, which was a mock-up navigation bridge once used to teach at the School of Navigation. A short detour up the High Street brought them to one of the favourites of a man with a robin on his hand. Heading for Candleriggs and the Merchant City was a huge mural called "Fellow Glasgow Residents" depicting the varied wildlife of Glasgow parks. The detail was astonishing, right down to the landscapes reflecting in the eyes of the animals. Another detour along the Trongate brought them to the first of three murals of the Big Yin (Billy Connolly). before retracing their steps, past the Panopticon Music Hall where Stan Laurel had performed, to see the second one featuring Billy near Osborne Street. After this it was down to the River Clyde to admire the various personalities and local history on the walls of the Clutha Bar with the new mural above it celebrating Charles Rennie Mackintosh's 150th birthday. A pleasant stroll along the Clyde Walkway brought them to one of the original murals - the "Glasgow Tiger Mural" - which has now been re-done and up onto Dixon Street to view the third Billy Connolly mural - opinion was divided as to which was the most liked! It was then back into the city centre to see the "World's Most Economical Taxi", "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" , "Wind Power", which was very cleverly depicted  using a dandelion clock and wind turbines, and then another early mural - "Glasgow's Panda". The second half of the walk had less murals to see but nevertheless was felt to be worthwhile doing. It took them along Argyle Street, away from the buzz of the city centre, to where a derelict block on the corner of York Street had been ingeniously adapted into an events noticeboard, complete with, among other things, an octopus and a Glaswegian Mona Lisa. Down onto the Broomielaw they passed the memorial to the Cheapside Fire Disaster of 1960 and under the Kingston Bridge the huge "Swimmer" mural created as part of the 2014 Commonwealth Games was best seen by crossing the road! From here they headed to Charing Cross to view a pelican and crocodile before aiming for the underpasses to Cowcaddens Subway Station where one is decorated with insects, the other with hand shadow puppets - it was fun watching the group trying to recreate the shapes and it brought back many childhood memories and the question of whether todays children would still know how to make hand shadow puppets.
Apart from the murals it was interesting to see how ornate many of the buildings were when you stopped to look up and everyone agreed that it had been a very different kind of Ramblers walk to what they were used to but worthwhile in exploring areas of Glasgow that they would never have visited, just whizzed past in a car or would have been too busy looking at shop windows to notice architecture all around them!