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.
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.
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.
Sunday, 24 April 2016
Saturday, 16 April 2016
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
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
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.