Friday, 30 December 2016

On Wednesday 21st Dec. eight hardy members of the Biggar Ramblers turned out for the advertised 'short winter hill walk'. It was only four and half miles but it certainly lived up to its winter billing.

Setting off from the walkers car park at Broughton Place straight up onto the ridge was quite a strenuous start. The weather was nice at this point but on striking out on a spur to Trahenna there was a sudden dramatic deterioration as the group were engulfed by a blizzard! Once back onto the main route the wind was behind and the conditions eased. Just before the summit of the Hammerhead there is a cozy little depression and they hunkered down for 'elevenses' and even a little festive nip of John's sloe gin! The views had returned. It is an excellent vantage point overlooking the surrounding hills. Once fortified, the group tackled the steep descent through heather onto the John Buchan Way. They followed this along the pass through the hills back to the cars. Overall a very enjoyable pre-Christmas leg stretch in great company. Everyone is looking forward to continuing the programme in 2017.

The Ramblers always welcome new members and the listing of walks for January can be seen on the excellent Biggar Ramblers web site.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

On a bright, crisp, frosty 4th December, eleven ramblers set out from Nether Cog, by Crawick Water, to ascend Conrig Hill (1600 feet ) by way of The Dod. The route took the party up a forestry track, before heading up the steep rough trackless hillside. As the party got higher they encountered difficult tussocky terrain and a brisk cold easterly wind. However they were rewarded with wonderful views of the surrounding hills, looking lovely in the bright Winter sun; Tinto, the Lowther Hills, Blackcraig Hill in the valley of the Afton, Benbrack and many more high hills in all directions. After reaching the summit of Conrig, the party made a slow tortuous descent to the Southern Upland Way and, as they made their way westwards along the ill-defined path, fine views of the Nith Valley from Kirkconnel down towards Thornhill opened up. A lunch stop was made on the SUW in a spot fairly sheltered from the cold wind. The party then continued to Lochburn Bridge, on the way passing through a small herd of cattle complete with bull. But they all seemed quite friendly, and pleasantries were exchanged. The party continued past Clenries Farm and on along an easy track that took then eventually onto the hillside high above the valley of the Crawick Water. The hills were beautifully lit by the low Winter sun as the party descended back to the starting at Nether Cog.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Walk description:
The walk started at the Kingsmeadows car park Peebles. A lovely clear, wind still and crisp sunny day with the last of the Autumn colours. What a change from the storm Angus on Monday evening and Tuesday. The party of ten set out across the Priorsford Bridge via the Gytes and up Janets's Brae with a short stop at the site of the Iron Age dwelling. Then on to the Blue Walk leaving Janet's Brae to walk through the woods round to the Buzzard's Nest Car Park. The Red Squirrel Walk, skirting the site of an Iron Age fort, took them down through the woods to the Glentress Centre for lunch. Some had hot Carrot and Corriander soup with their picnic lunch. Then a walk along the railway path back to Peebles. The map measures 6 miles but there was no hurry to get back. The walk was lead by Gerard Bakker

Saturday, 12 November 2016

The objective of the Biggar ramblers walk on 6th November was the twin hills of Blackcraig and Blacklorg Hills near New Cumnock. After positioning the cars at the end of the walk 10 walkers with the walk leader Brian Henry set of just before 11 o'clock. Passing a small copse a group of Fieldfares were disturbed and flew off in protest. Following the track up to Quentin Knowe the expansion of Hare Hill wind farm could been seen quite close. Shortly after the cairn the route turned south to start the ascent up the shoulder of Blackcraig Hill. During this section the group saw over to the Isle of Arran and later Ailsa Craig. A lunch break was taken at the summit after finding a lee from the cold Northerly wind. A good path although damp in places led the group to the next summit of Blacklorg Hill. On this section a fox was unhappy at the intrusion and ran off down the valley. From Blacklorg the summit of our last hill walk, Benbrack, could be seen as well as the hills further into Dumfries and Galloway. Brian described his next walk on the area just to the south. The walk continued to Cannock Hill and down behind Craigraneoch Rig to get out of the wind and to Afton Reservoir. It was on this section that the Ben Lomond and Arrochar hills could be seen. At the reservoir dam the group descended the unusual arrangement of steps leading down to the road and the end of the walk.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

On Wednesday 26th October four walkers set off by train to Milngavie to walk a section of the West Highland Way. However there had to be a change of plan due to the breakdown of a train on the line so Plan B took the group to Balloch, where, after a coffee, the walk continued into Balloch Park along the River Leven to the shores of Loch Lomond following for some time the John Muir Trail before the steady climb to the late lunch spot giving magnificent views across to the far shore of the loch at Cameron House and the hills beyond. From there the route continued among the autumn trees down past Balloch Castle where much renovation is underway and eventually met the road leading back to the station. Although this was not the intended walk the group appreciated the fine, mild weather in a new area and he autumn colours added to their pleasure.
Biggar Ramblers-Saturday, 22 October - On a bright Autumn morning 7 walkers started off on a circular walk from Newlands Kirk via Flemington. With the road walk behind them, the party walked up past Romano Mains farm. Before entering the woodland part of the walk, clear views were had of West Linton, Mendick Hill and the surrounding area. Following a stop for coffee, the next part of the walk was between the hills of Drum Maw and Hag Law, the valley of Flemington Burn and then around Whiteside Hill with wonderful views of Callands, Bordlands and along the Lyne Valley. After the walk the party enjoyed a well deserved lunch at the Old Bakehouse Restaurant in West Linton.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

On a cool Wednesday morning the 12th October the Biggar Ramblers set off from Wakefield at Baddingsgill for a 6.5 mile trek around to Baddingsgill Reservoir and the Cauldstane Slap. Just after Wakefield House the group dipped down following a track  around part of Lyne Water up onto a pathway from Stoneypath Farm to Baddingsgill House. From there the Group turned right after the gate and climbed up through a small wood and through a gate at the top settled to break for a well earned view of Baddingsgill Reservoir.  From there The Group traversed the hillside down to the head of the reservoir and walking left to the end turned right at the Gamekeeper's House to an old Drover's track signposted to the Cauldstane Slap. Here the Ramblers steadily walked the clearly marked track over moorland to the boundary fence line. At that point there is a marker plaque about the Cauldstane Slap, it mentioned that ' The track was used as a drove road for moving cattle from the trysts at Falkirk and Stenhousemuir via West Linton to Peebles. Cattle were last driven over the Slap at the end of the nineteenth century.' Walkers use the track these days. There the Ramblers stopped to take lunch and look at the view over Harperigg Reservoir. The Group turned around and set off back along the track from whence they came straight back down this time to where the cars were parked at Treeline where there are some parking spaces logged out for cars. The Ramblers then retired to West Linton Golf Club for some well earned refreshments.
Walk leader: Carolyne Murray

Monday, 10 October 2016

On Sunday October 2nd a small group of Biggar Ramblers set off for a walk around Strathclyde Park led by Lynn Weir. It was very misty at first, but this cleared quickly to give good views over the loch and park. The walkers explored The Bothwellhaugh Roman Baths and afterwards spotted a large heron at the South Calder Water. A leisurely stroll was taken back to the car park after lunch was taken at a nearby garden centre. This was one of Biggar Ramblers easier walks, but never the less most enjoyable.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

On Wednesday 21st September a small group of 5 Biggar Ramblers walked around Portmore Loch. This was an easy 5-mile half-day walk around this extremely beautiful small reservoir, which was opened in 1878 to provide a supply of drinking water, and is now popular with walkers and fishermen. The walk also took in the Northshield Rings, an Iron Age fort still in remarkable condition. At one point there was an unusual sighting of a group of fallow deer quietly grazing; on being disturbed they jumped gracefully over a nearby fence and disappeared into woodland.
Walks Leader: Bernard Airlie
As the song says we do like to be beside the seaside. That was certainly the feeling of 15 walkers from Biggar ramblers on Saturday 18th September. They enjoyed a fabulously sunny day at North Berwick. In the morning a 3 mile walk from Yellowcraigs Country park along the coastal path towards Gullane afforded spectacular sea views across to Fife. Nearer at hand were the Bass Rock and other small islands. A lunch stop was taken sitting on rocks near Marine Villa. Afterwards the group headed for North Berwick Law. A stiff short climb was well rewarded. There was a 360 degree panoramic view of sea and land. Everything twinkled in the sunlight! To end the day what else but large ice-creams and other refreshments! A fantastic day out in East Lothian - and so near to home.
Walk Leader: Jan Airlie
The weather forecast wasn't promising for Thursday the 8th September and so it proved to be, but despite this, 11 stalwart Biggar Ramblers set off to walk the 7 miles of the Duchess's Drive on the Bowhill Estate near Selkirk. In good weather this is an easy walk with stunning views over the Yarrow and Ettrick valleys and the Eildon Hills near Melrose. It was used as a carriage drive for guests of the Buccleugh family in Victorian times. The track skirts round Fastheugh Hill and Newark Hill, eventually descending to the impressive ruin of Newark Castle built in 1423. It was a good opportunity for the group to test their waterproofs for the coming winter season! A cup of tea and cake at the Waterwheel Café at Philiphaugh was well deserved.
On Sunday 4th September eleven Biggar ramblers met for what has become an annual event- a walk from the village of Durisdeer  followed by afternoon tea in the lovely historic church hall. This year the walk was up the track onDirsdeer Rig and the 'off piste' down to the route of the old Roman Road. While traversing some thick heather a sheep was found on its back, trapped by its horns. By turning it over avoiding thrashing hooves, it's life was saved!
The weather was perfect - and so were the eagerly anticipated sandwiches, scones, cakes and meringues!
Kitchen Moss report
Biggar Ramblers held a walk as part of the Ramblers nationl Walk About festival of walks. This walk on Saturday,writes Brian Henry, started at Ninemileburn passing Spittal Farm to North Esk Reservoir where the first break was taken. During this stop the group chatted to the owner about its use in the BBC serial 'Hunted' as Melissa George's hideaway. From the reservoir the group of 10 met with cyclists undertaking an orienteering course. At the Bore Stane some searching and debating took place as to which was the actual landmark. A geocache hidden under the drovers' sihnpost confirmed the large stone with a coating of lichen.
Turning off Buteland path the group turned north east to cross Kitchen Moss, a peaty area covered in purple heather and following the dyke which is a county boundary to Red Gate. Here there were some scout leaders setting up to monitor a group undertaking the DOE bronze awards. With rain forecast they were in for a wet night. From the nearby lunch spot views were over Edinburgh and the Forth Bridges and the Fred Olsen cruise ship 'Black Prince' could be seen at Rosyth. After Red Gate the walkers ascended to the base of West Kip and everyone declined a quick run up to the summit. The route then came across Monk's Rigg with a stop at the Font Stone. The return to Ninemileburn confirmed the distance of 8 1/2 miles and a total time of 5 hours.
On Wednesday 24th August, 8 ladies from the Biggar ramblers set out to walk the 13 miles of the Loch Leven Heritage Trail which is also a well used cycle path. It was a truly beautiful day with plenty of sunshine and blue skies. We started at Kinross Pier where it is possible to take the Ferry to Loch Leven Castle on the island where Mary Queen of Scots was held prisoner until she managed to make her escape.
We made our way in the direction of Kirkgate Point and Kirkgate cemetery which is full of interesting gravestones. The big mausoleum in the center is the Mausoleum of the Bruce family who built Kinross House. You can see this imposing house through the trees further along the path.
The Trail has many items of interest, hides where you can look for water birds and many lovely and welcome seats some with interesting inscriptions in old Scots on their backs. We had a welcome lunch break and ice cream at the Loch Leven Larder which has a very nice shop, restaurant and picnic tables with lovely views of the loch.
The path then led away from the Loch side through pleasant woods with some welcome shade, we passed The Scottish Gliding Centre where we saw several gliders in the sky above, we continued toward the RSPB at Vane farm where we had a short break overlooking their wetlands trails.
We now continued on the last leg of the walk which included the East Brackley Viewpoint a beautiful structure where we could see not only the whole Loch but the physical landscape in which the Loch is set. It is hard to imagine that this was once the floor of the ocean 300-400 million years ago. The hills are capped by columnar rock derived from Volcanic activity one is called Carlin Maggie where a witch called Maggie had a disagreement with Old Nick. He threw a thunder bolt and turned her into stone.
We finally passed the Loch Leven Mill which still produces Cashmere and back to Loch Leven Pier. Some of us had dinner at the Boathouse Bistro and watched the sun setting over the Loch. A satisfying end to a beautiful day.
The Loch Leven Heritage web site has a huge amount of information about this walk including some shorter circular walks.
Walk Leader: Lesley Glidden
On Saturday 20th August eight walkers, Isobel MacDonald as leader started from Castlebank Park, Lanark with a visit to the new William Wallace wood carved statue in the much improved Rose Garden, the Fairy Dell with its many wood carvings and finally to the Lanark in Bloom greenhouses and nursery garden. From there the walk continued down to St. Patricks Road to Kirkfieldbank. up past the caravan park to the Ditches with the view over the river and into Nemphlar. The rain had become heavier but the visit to the Open Garden of Anne Sinclair with contributions going to the East Kilbride Hospice was well worth the visit. A large garden of various plantings and with a welcome marquee where the Moth Man showed his interesting number of different moths collected the previous evening in the garden and there was tea, and cakes. The rain had eased a bit for the return to Castlebank and the cars.
On Thursday 11th August, Biggar Ramblers had a " bring a dish" evening preceded by a short walk around The Mount. Good food, good company and a slide show summary of the year's walks made it a memorable evening.
On a bright breezy 6th August, 17 walkers including a visitor from another Group, assembled at Stroanfreggan Bridge, beyond Moniave, for a ramble along the Southern Upland Way. As the party climbed up through the extensive remains of an Iron Age fort, wonderful views opened up all around. The Carrick Hills, the Rhinns of Kells, the Merrick and nearby, the bulk of Cairnsmore of Carsphairn and numerous smaller hills were all there as a pleasing accompaniment to the rest of the walk. The party soon joined the Southern Upland Way which, at this point, is quite rough and boggy and indistinct in places and continued to Manquhill Hill where a stop was made for lunch in the lee of a small hillock out of the brisk wind. At this point, some of the party decided to make a leisurely return to the start, while the rest continued on  to Benbrack. After passing beneath Craigencarse and then a couple of dark hidden lochans, they embarked on the stiff climb to the 1900ft summit of Benbrack where they encountered one of the big red sandstone "Striding Arches" designed by Andy Goldsworth to celebrate his remote beautiful corner of Galloway. Two other arches could be seen on nearby hills and there is another down in the valley at Cairnhead. The party felt this was an impressive and fitting climax to the walk. After descending the hill, they followed an easy forest track for a mile or two before joining the SUW once more and following it slowly and carefully back to the car park. A tough but enjoyable 11 mile ramble in a beautiful part of the country- we will be back.
Walk Leader; Michael Heale

Friday, 29 July 2016

Auchlochan- garden walk-2mi-SD
Biggar Ramblers met on the 27th July, and a pleasant afternoon was had walking round Auchlochan retirement village and visiting the walled garden. A visit to the new show homes was an added attraction. Afternoon tea was enjoyed at the end of the leisurely walk in beautiful surroundings.
Walk Leader: Marion Macmillan

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Two Adventurous walks with Lesley Potter-Laidlaw

The John Buchan Way- Thursday 12th July- 13miles-SB+
The Biggar Ramblers walk started in the lovely, busy town of Peebles which was built around the River Tweed as it flows through the Scottish Borders.
The 9 ramblers walked past the hundred year old Oak tree on the roundabout in the town to pick up the well waymarked route of the John Buchan Way.
The 13 miles route is named after John Buchan (1875-1940), a writer and diplomat who has many associations with the area. One of the most famous books was The 39 Steps.
The trail takes the ramblers from Peebles to Broughton and is split into two distinct sections with Stobo being the halfway point.
The path headed out into the hillside and gave some cracking views back over the town and beyond. Reaching Cademuir Hill and it's Iron Age fort brought surprising views eventually resulting in a quite stunning panorama of surrounding hills.
The route contoured gently around the hillside on a quiet and attractive path past the scots pine forests under-going deforestation leading to the road in Manor Valley. From here the walkers followed the route and crossed the bridge to Stobo.
Crossing the road the walkers gradually built up height again and once through the evergreen wooded area they got their first views of the Broughton Heights. These hills are just crying out ''walk me'' and there looks to be an impressive circuit born out by the fact that this area seems to be the most popular for walkers on this way, also this place has a great feeling of remoteness to it even though Broughton is just over 2 miles away over the brow of the hill.
The Biggar Ramblers had a great days walk with plenty of variety, the weather was gorgeous which made the walk a wee cracker

Leadhills- 10mi.- SB+
From the small lead-mining village of Leadhills sitting in the heart of the Lowther Hills the Biggar Ramblers meet up for another good long hard walk of 10miles.
The walk was to take them across the high undulating ridge from the 'Golf Ball' sitting on Lowther Hill at 725 mts, then along Green Trough ( 710mts) and Green Lowther ( 732mts)  where the walkers too a well earned rest and had their lunch. The weather walking up to Lowther Hill had been very misty with a few light showers but once reaching the top to start walking the ridge the sun had broken through and while they had their lunch on the highest tp they were rewarded with 360 degrees of spectacular views. Arran was pointed out in the far distance as was Ben Lomand.
The group of 7 ramblers would have been happy to stay sitting in the warm sunshine their tummies full and enjoying the views and peace but continue they must.
The next 'tops' on the ridge are Peden Hill (691 mts) and Dungrain Law (669mts) then dropping down slightly they traversed around the side of Dun Law which allowed the walkers to walk up to their last hill Glen Ea's (549mts).
Now the walkers could make out their route in the distance which would take them back to the start in Leadhills. This was along the track of the old dismantled Victorian Railway but to get to there they would have to cross a ford on the Elvan Waters and the scramble up a short hill of grass and heather to reach that track. On reaching the ford the group of walkers found the water too high so they each had to find a shallow place to cross over large stones and shingle which were covered in slimy green moss. To help with their crossing they used their walking poles to balance. No one slipped in but they all got wet feet, then it was just a case of getting up the bank and a level walk back to the village.
It was a long day and everyone was feeling hot and tired, but had a brilliant walk. Not easily forgotten, certainly not boring. Ready for the next one? Join Biggar Ramblers.

Cademuir Forest Circular-6.5mi. -SC+-
Walk Leader: G. Bakker
10 walkers gathered at the Kingsmeadow Car Park, Peebles for a local 6.5 mile walk around Cademuir Plantation. The walk started across Victoria Park and through Jubilee Wood via The Cut to Bonnington Farm. A short distance on the Bonnington Road took them up to the car park at the Cademuir Forest that is fast disappearing through tree felling. A descent from the forest took them to join the John Buchan Way northwards along the Whaum around Cademuir Hill. Before reaching Tantah they turned northwards along the edge of a plantation and then into the shelter of the Morning Hill Wood above Old Manor Bridge and a pause for lunch. They returned via Southpark along the Tweed to the car park.

Milngavie- part of the West Highland Way-9mi.-SC+-
walk leader: I MacDonald

Six walkers caught the train from Chatelherault to Milngavie to follow the route of the start of the WHW along Allander Water, skirting the edge of Mugdock Park to join the road leading uphill to the forest entrance. From there through an area of felled trees and mixed woodland to the Gowk Stane ( left by retreating glaciers. The lunch stop beyond was above Blane Valley with views of the Cobbler, Ben Lomond and Dumgoyne.The walk continued downhill to meet the A81 at Strathblane. Across to the War Memorial and Campsie Dene Road which follows the line of the original Victorian water pipes from Loch Katrine with several inspection points. It was here that time was running out and instead of turning down to Glengoyne Distillery the group continued to Killearn Village and took the bus back to Milngavie in time for the return journey by train. A long day with return by 7.00p.m.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Red Bing, Peat Pond and forest walk- Walk Leader-Agnes Gracie-4 miles,SC
On the 2nd of June 15 walkers left Forth Sports Centre and walked towards Heathland Forrest and The Red Bing where some of the more adventurous climbed to the top and were rewarded with great views of Black Mount and the surrounding area. We then crossed the busy A702 heading towards the derelict building that was the old store that served the community of Wilsontown Ironworks. After crossing the river Moose we passed the old Forkens mine before heading to the peat pond. Unfortunately we were disappointed as  there were no dragonflies to be seen except the pattern on Cathy's socks. After passing through the iron gates we continued through Wilsontown before heading back to Forth for tea and scones.

Dollar Law-  Walk Leader Brian Henry-10 miles, SB+
Five of Biggar Ramblers set out on Sunday 12th June to walk the hills at the head of the Manor Valley. Starting at Kirkhope Cottage the group walked on the road to turn off into the path to Megget Reservoir. Passing locations with names of Redsike Head and Foulbrig the highest point of the path was reached and then it was through the heather and peat hags to reach the top of Greenside Law at 643m (2,110 feet). Crossing over to the other side the group reached the track which links to Thief's Road that has its start in the Pentland Hills. Following this track passing Notman Law and Fifescar Knowe the summit of Dollar Law was found to be in cloud with no views to be seen. Dollar Law is the highest hill in the Scottish Borders region at 817m (2680 feet) but is only classed as a Donald as it does not meet the criteria for a Graham or Corbett. The descent was northwards towards the Manor Valley passing the St. Gordian's cross on the way and returning to Kirkhope Cottage.

Monday, 30 May 2016

Lesmahagow Village Walk, Wednesday 18th May 2016, 4miles, SD
Walk leader: Marion Macmillan
The last walk on the current programme for Biggar Ramblers took place on 18th May. Rain threatened as the walkers left Glebe Car Park and crossed a bridge over the Nethan, from where they walked along the old railway line, this affording fine views of the village. There was a lovely carpet of spring flowers on either side of the path. On crossing the road, the walkers made their way down the glen and arrived at a meadow, at one time the site of the Lesmahagow Show. Birkwood House could be seen through the trees and the old kitchen garden was pointed out. The Nethan was again crossed by a footbridge and a path uphill beside a small burn brought the party on to New Trows Road. A left turn took the walkers up by the Garngour, with lovely views of the village from the opposite side, and thence back to the village for sustenance at the local hostelry, from whence the return to the car park was by McKirdy Park and along the River Nethan.

Uamh Bheag and Beinn nan Eun , Saturday 14th may 2016, 10miles, SB+
Walk Leader: Brian Henry
One of the final walks on the Biggar Ramblers spring program was the three 2,000ft hills of Glen Artney in Perthshire. On the beautiful day that 14th May turned out to be 4 of the regular ramblers met near the Auchnashelloch church in Glen Artney. Brian led the small group on a gentle stroll westwards along the road to the Water of Ruchill bridge and then turned up beside the river and then up the course of Allt Ollach. A convenient bridge led to the base of Am Beannan which was a challenge under even these good conditions; but all the way up the views into the highlands improved with Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers coming into view and then Stuc a'Chroin and Ben Vorlich appearing which became a constant scene throughout the walk.

Before the first 2,000 foot summit was reached lunch was a relaxed affair in the shelter of Meall Clachach. Then the summit of Uamh Bheag was reached with everybody smiling at the 'face' on the old fence post -Bart is still in good condition considering his exposure. Then it was into the land of the peat hags. The deepest found which could only be walked around was over 12 feet deep. Thereafter it was a case of walking around, but mostly into the peat hags as the dry conditions made them easily passable without sinking deep. Up and over Beinn Odhar led to a change in the ground conditions. The erosion of the peat hags was such that the base was either tufted grass or stony making walking easy. The ascent to the final summit of Beinn nan Uen was in a peat hag which acted as a tunnel all the way to the summit. From the summit the walk took the group out of the peat hags, sighting a herd of red deer and several red kites circling above, down into the Finghu Glen and back to the church car park.

Spring Flowers Walk, Thursday 15th May 2016
Walk Leader: Pam Hart

15 Ramblers followed the path from Kingsmeadow car park on the south side of Peebles, crossing the bridge over the River Tweed on to the north bank of the river, past the weir and on towards Neidpath Castle. After passing below the spectacular castle, the river was crossed again by Manor bridge, on to the south bank, through some woodland and back to the car park. This was a short walk to appreciate spring flowers such as bluebells, wood anemones, march marigolds, dog's mercury and butterbur. Goosander and mallard floated serenely past, black headed gulls courted noisily in flight while sand martins busily dug out their burrows in the river bank. Willow warblers, robins and wrens sang from hidden branches, all adding up to a delightful walk in spring sunshine

Sunday, 1 May 2016

The Three Brethren, Sunday 1st May 2016, Led by Lesley Glidden

On a wet Sunday morning 12 Ramblers headed for Selkirk where it was a little coludy but dry, to the Three Brethren. We stared the walk at the Corbie Linn car park near Philiphaugh and headed uphill through wooded areas and fields. There was plenty of birdsong on the way, one ramblers claims he spotted a Goldcrest. Arriving at Tibby Tamson's grave we heard the sad story of Tibby who lived in Selkirk in the 1700's. Tibby stole some yarn and was so distressed she hung herself and could not be buried in consecrated ground, some kind village people took pity on her and buried her on the hill where her grave stone still stands with an interesting inscription. Shelter was found here and lunch was taken nearby. Afterwards the walkers headed to the reservoir and on up the hill- The Three Brethren Cairns looming above. There were many cyclists there taking part in the Orbea Borders Bike Festival. Some where in the Raid 50K and others in the Marathon a two part race of 50K+75K. It was very windy at the Brethren. These are three nine foot cairns, erected at the start of the 16 century by the Lairds of Yair, Selkirk and Philiphaugh to mark the boundary of their land. The views were spectacular in all directions, as they were throughout the walk. Heading downhill was eventful! Brian, the back marker blew his whistle to warn of muddy, speeding cyclists coming from behind. The walkers kept well out of their way, and retired safely at the end of the walk to the Waterwheel cafe for well derseved refreshments. An excellent 8 mile walk.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Biggar Ramblers away weekend, April 22nd to 24th

Day 1

The Ramblers away weekend this year was to Ballater on Royal Deeside. Despite the severe flooding the small town had at the end of December, with the devastation of the caravan park and the loss of many shops, Ballater was eager to welcome visitors. The Deeside Inn played host to 25 ramblers and provided comfortable, cosy accomodation with excellent breakfasts and evening meals. The first walk on arrival, was a short but challenging climb up Craigendarroch Hill, an imposing lump of rock easily accessible from the town. The path wound its way through ancient oak woods with scots pine near the top. Views were spectacular, especially the majestic, snow covered Lochnagar. An extra bonus were the close up sightings of beautiful rust coloured Scottish crossbills.

Day 2

For group 1- the second day of our weekend to Ballater started with a walk around Loch Muick led by Isobel MacDonald.

The drive to the start of the walk followed the River Dee through Glen Muick to a very busy car park where 17 members set out in a clockwise direction. This was helpful since the sleet at the start of the walk came from behind. Soon the Loch came into view, the sleet came to an end and the track continued above the water with views of snowy Lochnagar on the opposite shore. There were a few birds including an eagle overhead and many blaeberry plants although not yet in flower. After passing the path leading to Glen Clova the easy gravel track was replaced by a narrow single rocky track which took some time to negotiate and was further slowed by the landslide debris which was however passable with care. A pause was taken to admire the rushing waters of the Black Burn before continuing round the head of the loch where the replacement bridges cross the sand and gravel deposits of the Allt-an-Dubh loch. From there it was into the woods below the Glas Allt Falls and the deer fences erected to protect new trees for the lunch stop at the Royal Lodge. The wind here was a very cold so soon the group was continuing on a wide gravel path with more deer fences to the boat house and the bridge at the head of the loch leading back to the visitor centre. A successful 8 mile walk despite the poor weather at the start.

Group Two- Led by Brian Henry

7 Ramblers attempted to walk the Glas Maol Circuit which involved climbing 4 Munros in one day a total of 10 miles. Despite battling through wind,sleet and snow we saw quite a lot of wildlife. Ptarmigan, grouse, mountain hare, deer and an eagle. Have a look at the photos in the gallery it says it all!- although it didn't seem as bad as it looks at the time.

Day 3

Group 1 Led by Andy Nelson

After a gentle start, viewing the falls of Linn Dee, the walkers continued on a path through woodland to reach the bridge over the Lui Water. The route up Glen Luig gave wonderful views of snow capped mountains until the lunch stop was reached at Derry Lodge- the mountain rescue station. Here over looking the Derry Burn oyster catchers were heard. On the return route much mountain rescue activity was observed. This was a search operation for a walker lost since March. The new Rescue Helicopter swept down in the area of Derry Lodge, where earlier three mountain rescue ambulances and one police MR landrover had been parked. This was a grim reminder to everyone of the dangers of the moutains. Fortunately for the Ramblers the weather thar Sunday was almost continuous sunshine with light winds.

Group two- Loch Muick

Sadly due to the weather conditions the day before we were unable to attempt Lochnagar, we could only enjoy the beauty of it covered in snow as we completed the circuit of Loch Muick on a beautiful day. The Loch was very busy with families walking to the Royal Lodge and some completing the circuit. There was also a large herd of deer enjoying the sunshine. A pleasant walk after our exertions the of day before.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Biggar to Coulter, Saturday 16th April, 5.5 +4 miles, SC+, walk Leader John Hart

The Biggar Ramblers were lucky with the weather on Saturday when a group of 17 met to walk to The Mill Inn at Coulter for lunch. The five mile route took them from the Corn Exchange down to the golf course and then on a marked track across fields to the base of Hartree Hill. Along the road now and a steep climb up to Crosscryne and a tea/coffee break. From there they crossed fields again into Shaw Hill. There are great views up here of Culter fell and its environs. The Mill Inn provided an excellent and varied menu to accomodate all their needs. They had a choice to catch the bus or walk back. Many chose the latter! This route now was through the grounds of the Cornhill Hotel to Wolf Clyde and then along the back road inyo Biggar. The total distance for the day was a respectable nine and a half thoroughly enjoyable miles.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Jedburgh to Denholm, Thursday 6th April, 7.5 miles, SC+, Walk Leader: Isobel MacDonald

On Thursday 6th April nine members led by Isobel drove to Jedburgh to complete an eight mile section of the Borders Abbey Way to Denholm where they caught the bus back to the start point. The day started with clear blue skies which offered wide views over the extensive farm land into the distance as far as the Cheviots. Lunch was taken below Black Law before continuing to the half way point, the highest spot of the day at 323 meters, which gave the first view of Ruber's Law and the wooded path and farm track down to Bedrule. This craggy hill would be in constant view for the rest of the route. It is here that the weather broke and now with open fields to cross and no escape from the wet small hail and the muddy underfoot conditions although the forest after the last climb gave welcome shelter before the final descent to Denholm.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

The Falls of Clyde and New Lanark, Sunday 3rd April, 6.5 miles SC+, Walk Leader: Jan Airlie

A dreich Sunday morning did not deter 18 Biggar Ramblers from meeting at New Lanark and walking around 6.5 miles of the Falls of Clyde. The walk egan by going downstream. After a steep climb up to Castlebank Park the group admired splendid wood carvings made from fallen trees. They then proceeded to Clydesholm Bridge at Kirkfieldbank where a coffee break was taken whilst admiring the river views. Walking upstream, the weather improved and the rain stopped. A lunch break was taken at a spot overlooking Corehouse- designed by Edward Blore. Then onwards to Bonnington Linn where the falls thundered downstream. Soon Corra Castle ruins ( 15th century) were glimpsed through the trees. At the Peregrine viewpoint sad news waited. The long resident male and female Peregrine Falcons were believed to have died during the winter. Hopefully young birds will come back to roost there. The viewpoint at Corra Linn provided stunning views of the Falls. The route then followed the walkboards back to New Lanark. The birdsong was profuse the whole way. It has been a very muddy, enjoyable walk around a wondeful World Heritage Site.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Hamilton Hill and Heathpool Common, 30th March, 8mi SB, leader Bernard Airlie

Bernard led a group of 8 Ramblers on a beautiful walk at Peebles. The route was deceptively simple- go north along the side of Hamilton Hill to Nether Kidston, cross the Edinburgh Road, then up onto Heathpool Common and back through the woodland to the start. In fact the route covered almost 8 miles and the two hills totalled over 1600 feet of climbing! On Hamilton Hill skylarks serenaded: on Heathpool Common there were the haunting calls of curlews and an attractive copse displaying catkins of Alder and Pussy Willow. Visability was excellent; the Pentlands were very clear to the North and the snow-covered Dollar Law and Broad Law to the South. In the final hundred yards of the walk there was a bank of primroses, radiant in their fresh spring colours and the curious twee-twee-twee call of a Nuthatch in the trees. This was a stimulating walk in good company.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Dolphinton to Ferniehaugh returning by White Hill, Saturday 26th March, 4.5 miles, leader Carolyne Murray

9 Ramblers set out on a wet and windy afternoon from Kippel lay-by in Dolphinton and walked south towards the church. They took a left turn 100 yards up the road into the wood and continued round Hamel Hill to White Hill descending to Garvald and the Dunsyre Road. They then headed towards Whinney Knowe, on a very muddy path. Here they stopped to chat to some inquisitive horses! Returning to the starting point they passed twp ponds, where they saw various water fowl. This convivial walk finished at the Red Barn, where a welcome cuppa and fresh baking were much appreciated by all!

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Buzzyberry Hill, Thursday 17th March, leader Pam Hart

On Thursday 17th March, in the early morning mist, fourteen Ramblers headed up the wooded track beside the new houses at Pentland Reach towards Bizzyberry Hill. Marked on the map as a fort and settlement on the two little knolls, this is a short but steep climb with rewarding views of Biggar and the surrounding area. The mist eventually cleared to reveal some of these views as the group returned to Biggar exercised and refreshed.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Easter Earshaig to Brattleburn, Sunday 13th March, leader Michael Heale

On a dry bright Sunday, 11 ramblers set off from Easter Earshaig, near Beattock, to explore the Southern Upland Way to Brattleburn. The first two miles as far as Foy's Bridge were through pleasant wooded country, but the path was very wet and boggy, providing a good test of the waterproof qualities of boots, gaiters and ramblers. The party encountered some friendly frogs together with their frogspawn in the numerous puddles. The path opened out at Foy's Bridge giving good views of the Moffat Hills. Excellent views opened up all around as they descended towards Brattleburn and more puddles and frogs were encountered on the approach to the bothy. On seeing smoke issuing from the bothy chimney it was suggested that perhaps burgers and chips were being served, and the pace quickened. But it was a group of walkers from Glasgow who were just packing up to leave. Some of the party sat comfortably in arm chairs before the stove to eat their lunch while others preferred to sit on the stony ground outside. Leaving the bothy, they took a different route back, on the way encountering a couple who were staying in a cabin on the hillside and seemed surprised to see us. An easy track led back to Rivox where they rejoined the Southern Upland Way and retraced their steps through the trees and fields and puddles back to the start. One walker characterized the experience as " Bogs, Frogs and Logs" a very fair assessment.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Braidwood,Wednesday 2nd March 2016, leader Isobel MacDonald

A group of 11 took advantage of the sunny, dry day to travel by bus to Braidwood for the 3 mile walk down Fiddlers Gill to Crossford. Using the rights of way path and its few hidden houses, the group came across workmen tidying up the ravages of the winter weather, negotiated the stile and stopped to wonder at the rusting giant telescope in the corner of the field. There was a very short stretch of tarmac before continuing on the brick and stony path, across the rushing burn, through the woods to the path with Lee Castle in the distamce to the left. From there it was a short stretch, beyond the farm and water works to the village and to lunch in Silverbirch with time to look around the centre before catching the bus back to Lanark.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Carlops to North Esk, Thursday 17th February 2016, leader John Hart

Thursday was a nice day for a short wintery hill walk. Seven members eslked from Carlops to North Esk reservoir, nestling in the Pentland Hills. The snow on the ground made for some stunning views. It was not too treacherous underfoot so a circular route was completed by climbing up the track from the reservoir to the saddle between Paties Hill and Spittal Hill then down onto the old Roman road back to Carlops and a light lunch in the Allan Ramsay Hotel.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Gowkley Moss-Roslin, February 14th 2016, leader Lesley Glidden

Despite a frosty but bright start the Biggar Ramblers had a good turn out of eighteen. The walk started st Gowley Moss Roundabput near penicuik. The route crossed a wild life conservation area on the site of the old Moat Pitt, then skirted around Roslin to join the Roslin-Loanhead cycle pathe. This was followed to the old railway viaduct which passed high over Roslin Glen. Here the route returned along the steeo north side of Roslin Glen and through the woods on the left bank of Kill Burn. Shortly into the walk the group encountered a game keeper and his assistany. She was carrying a beautiful Harris Hawk. He had two ferrets, and gave an interesting explanation of the rabbiting techniques. A stop was taken at the site of the Battle of Roslin, where in 1303 a tactical William Wallace defeated a much larger English army. At intervals along the way as it was St. Valentines day, Lesley read out carefully chosen love stories, and gave valentines to the lucky recipients! The Moor foot & Pentland Hills looked magnificent covered in snow. Afterwards, a well earned lunch was enjoyed at Cibo Italian Restaurant.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Glasgow, February 3rd 2016, leader Jo Cox

On one of the fine days from the many wet ones, 8 ladies took the bus from Lanark to Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow. The park was explored, and many of the fine statues visited. These included the Cameronian War Memorial, a very moving monument with three figures, one with a machine gun, one running very purposefully, and the third sadly dead. Lord Roberts sat on a horse, at the highest point of the park; he was best known for his role in the Indian mutiny. Lord Lister, the greatest physician of all times also a pioneer with connections to Glasgow. The Stewart Memorial, a water fountian in memory of Sir James Stewart, who was instumentl in bringing fresh water to Glasgow from Loch Katrine, 40 miles away. That monument is topped with a statue of the Lady of the Lake, by Sir Walter Scott. There are many fine carvings on that foutain. Lunch was taken in the museum whilst listening to the daily organ recital. The group then walked along the Kelvin Way to the Botanic Gardens, alongside the River Kelvin. The path is popular with walkers and cyclists. The structure of the trees was observed, just before the buds on the trees came into leaf.