Monday, 12 August 2019

Biggar Ramblers Broughton Walk ledgy Esther Daborn on 31st July.
The Biggar Ramblers walk for the end of July involved a short bus journey to Broughton and a walk back along the disused railway line to Biggar ( 5miles). Thunderstorms were forecast, but in the event 9 brave souls turned up and the weather faded from drizzle to nothing, albeit a bit muggy.

The old line runs along the broad valley that's level due to the ice age and follows a straight path thanks to the Victorians, who straightened out the river ( to make Biggar Water ) and lay their railway track. The Ramblers started with Broughton Heights behind us and the masses of Cardon Hill and Culter Fell to the left in front. Then as the valley curved around, Tinto came into view.

Along the way, they saw lots of wild flowers and one of the group found some edible puff balls. The walkers heard yellowhammers, and butterflies rose up from the path in front of us. They came back into Biggar past the golf course and some headed to the Gillespie Centre for a well-earned cup of tea and light lunch.
Saturday 27th July in Edinburgh along the Water of Leith from the visitor centre at Slateford. Was this the wettest walk ever tackled by Biggar Ramblers? There have been other wet days but between the rain falling heavily all the time and the flooded path beneath our boots it was decided by the seven wakers it was indeed the wettest. This did not detract from the banter and chatter as the walk progressed along the board walk past the large cemetery and then a path giving a view of the extensive area of allotments with only one determined owner arriving to tend to his crops. There was some relief admiring the colourful mixed planting of Saugton public gardens with its big band stand and admiration for the group of volunteers weeding and tidying up. Several dogs and their owners were seen out despite the weather with the dogs grateful for the cooler conditions after the heat of the past week. The walk continued past the croquet grounds of Ballgreen and the Murrayfield rugby ground and cricket fields and out to the road at Roseburn. By this time it was decided to call a halt at the Apex coffee bar with its selection of lunch time snacks giving some respite from the continuing rain. The programme had given the option of completing the day at Haymarket or continuing to Stockbridge " depending on Conditions" so with the "conditions" not improving the walk finished with the bus journey from Haymarket station back to the cars at Slateford. A day for umbrellas and waterproofs. Scottish weather does not defeat Biggar ramblers.
On 18/7/19 the Biggar Ramblers met at Neidpath Castle for a short but exciting walk along the Tweed. The route was down from the castle then along the riverside path joining the old railway line at the elegant skew arch Queen's Bridge before heading into the tunnel. This is really dark as the exit is obscured by a late bend. It takes about 15 minutes to walk through, good torches are essential! They continued along the railway line before making their way back to the castle for a celebratory tea- it was Pam's 70th birthday! It was a lovely occasion.
On Sunday 7th July a group of 8 members of Biggar Ramblers set off from a car park in the quaint hamlet of Yarrowford to undertake a challenging 7.5 mile circular walk. The initial part of the walk was a pleasant woodland path above Broadmeadows Burn before joining a track taking us on a steady climb over Foulshiels Hill. They then trekked across open hillside up to the three large summit cairns known as the "Three Brethren", which afforded fantastic views of the Yarrow Valley. These massively built structures, dating back to the sixteenth century, stand proud over the site Ordnance Survey trig point and mark the intersection of three old estates - Buccleuch Estate, Yair Estate and Selkirk Burgh. From there the Ramblers followed an old drovers road along a scenic section of the Southern Uplands Way before descending on a path surrounded withheld flowers and butterflies back to their start point. A bright breezy day and very enjoyable.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

On Saturday 29th June, eight Biggar Ramblers, led by Lynn Weir, set off to explore the twenty-two bridges (which carry vehicles, pedestrians or trains) across the River Clyde from the Millennium Bridge (completed in 2002) at the Science Centre to the Dalmarnock Bridge (completed in 1891) approximately five miles up river. An added bonus was the sight of two of the “Oor Wullie’s Bucket Trail” statues.
The walk started off in a quite urbanised area, through the International Financial Services District of Glasgow and past the City Centre before entering the parklands of Glasgow Green where the surroundings changed and almost became a rural walk alongside the Clyde. You could easily forget you were still within the boundaries of the City of Glasgow. Despite being billed as a city walk much wildlife was encountered with a heron, cormorant and greylag goose being spotted. Wild flowers were also in abundance but it was noted that the invasive, but pretty, Himalayan Balsam and extensive areas of Giant Hogweed was also presence.
A pleasant walk was had and we managed to get back to the train station before the thunderstorm that had been grumbling away all day finally made an appearance.
The oldest bridge we encountered was 166 years old, the newest one only four years old, however many of the bridges have been rebuilt over the years with the Victoria Bridge (completed in 1854) being built on the site of the first recorded timber bridge across the Clyde in Glasgow – this was believed to have existed in 1285 as it was mentioned in Henry the Minstrel’s epic poem on Sir William Wallace.

The Glasgow’s Clyde bridges use a variety of materials, timber, stone, cast iron, wrought iron, steel reinforced concrete and stressed concrete and almost all bridge types are represented – beam, beam and slab (with solid girders, lattice girders or box girders), the arch, the tied bowstring arch, the suspension bridge, the cable stayed bridge and the balanced cantilever. Some famous names have also been involved in the construction of some of the bridges predecessors, namely Thomas Telford, James Watt and Robert Stevenson (grandfather of Robert Louis Stevenson)