Wednesday, 6 December 2017

9 members of Biggar Ramblers ascended South Lanarkshire's iconic Tinto (707m) on Wednesday  15th November). Starting from the main car park at Fallburn they took the direct and well- frequented route to the summit with its impressive Neolithic and/or bronze age cairn. The cloud level was above the top but a cold, biting wind meant that members spent only a short time admiring the views of the surrounding hills before descending via Michael's Cleuch back to the cars and, for some, a hot bowl of soup at the Carmichael estate café.
Broughtonknowe 11/11/17
It was unusual to have such a short walk on a Saturday but the three mile circular route to a hill fort proved to be very popular. Fifteen Biggar Ramblers, including two possible new members, started the walk from the small walkers car park at the Broughtonknowe woodland just off the A701 half a mile South of the Skirling junction. They followed the farm track away from the main road before cutting across the upland grazing. They could see the cairn marking the hill top from some distance back making navigation easy. Hill forts were built for community and livestock protection in the Bronze  and Iron Ages two to three thousand years ago. For more information visit the excellent Biggar Museum. There are a number in our area and are always on prominent vantage points. The panoramic views from this one are tremendous taking in the Pentland Hills, the Broughton Heights, Broad Law, Culter Fell and Tinto. The walk back to the car park was on one of the upgraded paths through the woodland. Good company and nice weather made this a very pleasant afternoon outing. John Hart
On a glorious November day 9 walkers set off from the car park below the James Hogg Memorial, the Ettrick Shepherd to walk The Ring of St Mary's Loch. The walk round the Loch was officially opened in August 2015. A variety of walking experiences along the route - lochside walks, woodland and moorland with places of interest around the Loch such as the March Wood which is a remnant of the great Ettrick Forest which once covered the area, Matt Baker's modern sculpture 'Shinglehook' ( two oak anchors which were originally attached to four floating bronze casts) and at the northern end of the Loch Dryhope Tower can be seen in the distance ( fortified tower house from the 1500s). The walkers also took a slight detour and climbed up to St Mary's Kirkyard - a well earned lunch stop with wonderful views of the Loch. The Church built in the 1200s has now gone but every year in July an outdoor service called the Blanket Preaching is held in St Mary's Kirkyard.
A picturesque 8 mile walk in the Yarrow Valley on a beautiful sunny day.
Biggar Ramblers were once again defeated by the weather on their walk to Scald Law in the Pentlands on Sunday 22nd October, lead by Lesley Glidden.  They started the walk at Flotterstone in grey but dry weather and started up Turnhouse Hill. The recent wet weather along with heavy foot traffic from cattle and people made the climb slightly more difficult than usual. Cloud covered the top of the hill but gave glimpses of the 360 degree view from the top, the new bridge at the Queensferry Crossing looked particularly beautiful with the sun shining on it, however the wind was so strong they could hardly keep their feet. They continued down the path and found a sheltered spot for a short coffee break. Carnethy Hill loomed ahead. Some of the party headed down to the reservoir not wanting to face the wind on top of Carnethy, some decided to give it a try and found the climb not as bad as it looked and were rewarded with great views from the top as the wind wasn't so fierce here but they agreed they should save Scald Law for another day. They progressed down the hill and joined up with the rest of the party for the return journey, stopping for lunch along the side of Loganlea and Glencourse reservoirs. A small detour was taken to look at the waterfall and the beautiful wooded area by the Glencourse filters. By now the weather had improved and it was a pleasant sunny day and being lower down not too windy, the area was really busy with people and families walking, running and cycling. They finished by enjoying a coffee at the little Bothy by the car park. Total mileage approx. 7.5 miles.
The Wednesday 18th October walk, with a group of ten, from Lanark to Rosebank with Isobel MacDonald as leader proved to be spectacular despite the drizzle of light rain for much of the time. The walk began at Jookers Johnnie and continued via St Patrick's Road, across the Kirkfieldbank Brae and up to Nemphlar. The ditches route to Nemphlar afforded views across the valley to Kirkfieldbank and beyond to the ridge above. From there through the village to meet the path above Stoneybyres falls. The autumn colours were added to by the spectacular full noisy rushing water over the rocky base. Continuing along above the river, wet fields and some sheep on the right, through the wooded and rhododendron filled path, past the former Santa's Grotto and railway line led the group into Crossford village for picnic lunch overlooking the rushing river Clyde at its challenging canoe route through the rapids. After lunch the decision was made to curtail the walk there since continuing towards Rosebank in the rain was less than desirable as was the probable long gap between buses for the return journey. A future walk will see the completion of the route.
The first walk of the Ramblers program on 14th October was an 8 mile hill walk taking in 4 summits above Fruid Reservoir. Low cloud and strong winds curtailed the walk to 2 hills and less than 5 miles. From the head of the reservoir the group lead by Brian Henry ascended Capilus Hill which led onto Erie Hill where the cloud reduced visibility to around 50 yards. The strong winds abated on the east side of the hill due to the wind direction and the shape of the hill. However leaving the hill and heading over Common Law the wind picked up and during the walk over to Garelet Dod which was the highest point of the walk. Without the opportunity to enjoy the view which was absent the descent off the hill commenced still accompanied by the wind. Once the group was below the cloud a clear view of the reservoir lay before them as well as the wind dropping. Then it was a pleasant walk past the houses at Fruid and back to the start

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Nine ramblers met on 20th September to walk 5 and a half miles round Gladhouse reservoir which was built in 1879. It was very pleasant walking on the woodland path at the side of the reservoir with views across the water to the islands and the marked tree plantings on the hill. Flocks of geese, a swan with cygnets and a little grebe were spotted and also a buzzard flying near the group when having a lunch break. On the return walk to the cars the range of the Pentland hills were clear in the distance. The weather was fine, dry but not very sunny and everyone enjoyed the company and the scenery.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Biggar Ramblers Walk on 30th August was around Blacklaw Windfarm, at Climpy, Forth. The twelve walkers headed for the Covenanter's Monument near Darmead Linn. This was a place of worship for the Covenanters during the 15th and 16th centuries. A vastly different landscape is there now! The strong wind meant the huge turbines were fully operational, and swishing noises accompanied the group throughout their walk. Although fine at first, the weather deteriorated into steady rain. The leader, Agnes Gracie navigated by following the numbers on the turbies - remembering which ones denoted a change of direction! Fortunately the rain stopped by lunch time. A break was taken sitting on two long logs alongside the track. On the return route, the cloud lifted to give glimpses of the surrounding countryside. This was an enjoyable six mile walk in a different type of rural landscape.

Monday, 21 August 2017

On the 17th August 12 members of the Biggar Ramblers met for an afternoon walk to tackle Carmichael Hill and visit the Hyndford Monument. The monument is visible on the skyline from the A73 road to Lanark looking remote and inaccessible but the Carmichael estate provide a route with their " History Trail ". The route first took them to the remains of Carmichael House. Built between 1735 and 50 by the Great Earl whose monument was to come later on the itinerary.  The history was brought to life by one of our group who as a girl used to deliver milk to the grand house! It was deliberately 'ruined' in 1950. Next the route took them through an ancient beech wood on the lower slopes of Carmichael Hill. More native woodland has recently been replanted and they traversed this using two gates in the new deer fences. Onward and upwards over the heather covered slopes eventually reaching the indistinct domed top of the hill with superb panoramic views including the heather covered adjacent Tinto Hill. There were a lot of wild blaberries amongst  the heather. They were good to eat but leave telltale purple stained fingers! Following a clear track now the Hyndford Monument soon comes into view on another prominent top a little below the height of the previous hill. The views are again stunning, it's a peaceful place. The monument has informative plaques about the historical significance of the Carmichael estate and it's esteemed ancestor. On their descent they were joined by a party of swallows hawking for insects. They are starting to gather in larger groups migration being not far away. Another treat was a family of spotted flycatchers using the adjacent deer fence for their repeated darting forays over the undergrowth. After an eventful four miles they were back at the estate farm in time for a late tea and cakes served in the sheltered courtyard. The good weather was a bonus, it's a lovely walk.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Ten walkers left from the Kingsmeadow Carpark, Peebles to explore the new Pilot's trail up to the viewpoint on Cademuir Hill. A walk through Victoria Park, Jubilee Wood and along the Cut to Bonnington Farm took them to the car park at Cademuir Plantation. A brief stop to see the new map and onwards up to a fine new picnic bench for coffee. Then along the recently created new trail up to the viewpoint for spectacular panorama, again seated at a fine new picnic bench. The return then took them a short distance back the way to the gate leading to the open hillside, stopping for lunch in the shelter of a wall from the wind. On with the rain gear only to cease a few minutes later. Then back via the Manor Sware, Southpark and along the Tweed to the cars.
Walk Leader: Gerard Bakker
On a bright breezy 30th July, 10 ramblers travelled to Nithsdale to explore the hills above the pleasant little town of Sanquhar. They started off by walking through the lovely Euchan Glen,  beside the rushing, tumbling Euchan Water. Then a nice easy stroll through fields to Glenmaddie homestead.
Here, things got serious with a tough, rough, boggy ascent to Little Hill. But after this, the ground became drier and good progress was made up the wild hillside to Mid Rig and the lunch stop just below Cloud Hill. Wide views opened up across to the Lowther Hills, with Tinto looming in the distance. As the party crested the ridge at Collar Knowe, the massive rocky face of Glenwhargen Craig came into view, several miles to the south-east. From here, the Southern Upland Way was joined which, after some undulations. led gradually downhill over the open hillside, crossing a number of wet, boggy burns, but with fine views over Sanquhar and the hills beyond. After crossing the Whing Burn, the party continued to Ulzieside Farm and back to the start.
The Thursday 20th walk was via the train to Milngavie and the local bus towards Killearn. This was to complete the short seven mile section on the West Highland Way back through the gentle Lowland farmland and woodland part of the Way.
From behind the Beech Tree Inn the group followed the well laid out path along the dismantled railway and almost immediately the view was of the distillery of Dumgoyne, the hill of the same name and the ridge of the Campsie Fells running south. The way continued behind the steep wooded Duntreath Hill with a glimpse of the castle and occasional sighting of Blane Water then alongside grassy fields of sheep and getting a little steeper. Beyond it turned a sharp right uphill past the weekend charity coffee cabin and through a small wood to meet the road and housing at Carbeth. A short road walk followed by a right turn led to the Carbeth huts at Carbeth loch and beyond to the larger Craigallian Loch and the first sight of the Allander Water. The final stretch was through Migdoch Woods following the route of the Allander Water into the town centre of Milngavie. Time for a short coffee stop before the return train.
The Ramblers were blessed with a fine day for their walk on 5th July. The cars were parked at Chatelherault Station, from where the party made their way up the avenue to Chatelherault visitor centre. They then followed the signs for the Green Bridge and on  crossing the bridge, they walked along the banks of the Avon to Millheugh and saw the makings of a salmon leap at Millheugh Bridge. Lunch was taken overlooking the water and the walkers made their way uphill to Larkhall Station in nice time for the train to return them to the starting point. A leisurely walk comprising just over 5-and-a-half miles.
Walk Leader: Marion Macmillan

Monday, 3 July 2017

Dunure to Ayr, 8.9 miles, Saturday 17th June
The meeting place for the Biggar ramblers was on the Esplanade in Ayr. The walk leader had checked with the Coastguard for tidal times. They didn't want to get into difficulty while walking the 6th stage of the Ayrshire Coastal Path which stretches for nearly 100 miles from the southern to the northernmost limits of the county.
First they had to catch a bus from Ayr to Dunure which was the start of the walk where they had a chance to explore the ruins of Kennedy Castle. This was the main Kennedy stronghold in the 16th century. After passing the well maintained Doocot the group made their way through the small village to the harbour with it's array of small fishing and pleasure boats.
Then it was onto the shingle beach, through a gated gap and up onto grass grazing land, to eventually return to the beach to weave around, over and through the rocky outcrops.
The ramblers continued to follow the path from the beach up through a steep twisting gully to reach a pasture with grazing sheep. From this advantage point the views were inspiring. Between the blue sea and sky they could see Ailsa Crag to the left and in front of them Arran.
The weather had warmed as they made across the fields to a gate which led to the od railway line and it was here that they were met by a group of walkers and to their surprise one of them was the author  James A Bett. James was one of the main instigators in creating the path they were following and wrote the book The Original Guide to the Ayrshire Coastal Way.
After lunch , back on the beach, the walkers made their way around the Heads of Ayr, a very dangerous place to be if the walk leader had got there tide times wrong, but not today, instead as they looked up into the looming dark craggy cliffs they were met with screeches and a flying display of several pairs of Peregrine  Falcons.
The walk was not over yet. As they made their way up a small craggy outcrop of a hill they got their first view of the ruins of Greenan Castle literally perched on the edge of the cliff, an amazing sight! The group were now on the last stretch of the walk back into Ayr and with tired feet thinking what a great walk!
Walk Leader: Lesley Potter-laidlaw

A group of five Biggar Ramblers set off from Strathaven Park on Sunday 2nd July on a short 5.5 mile walk. Although it was overcast, we experienced just a light shower on our route.
 The picturesque park still maintains much of it's Victorian charater including a bandstand and we walked by the flower beds and boating pond into Strathaven and out towards Sandford.
 Following the banks of the Avon water we stopped to admire the spectacular Spectacle E'e (eye) waterfalls which were in full spate and learn about the history of the mill which was burned down as a result of a disapproved union of a young lad and the miller's daughter.
 From the falls, we then went into the conservation village of Sandford and then along the Roman road to Priestgill and across the Shoogly bridge - although now it thankfully does not shoogle.
 Fortunately the skies cleared at the top of the hill when the group stopped to enjoy a picnic lunch with beautiful views.
 Then back to Strathaven through an overgrown path thick with nettles and tall grasses and a quick walk around the ruined castle where we read about some of it's grisly past when one of the many lords of Strathaven castle punished his wife by having her bricked up alive inside a purpose built niche.
So it was a very pleasant day combining good exercise, fantastic views and a touch of history. ( Lead by Margaret Watson)
Callander Crags and Braklin Fall 7 miles Sunday 25th June Leader Isobel MacDonald

The walk began from the main car park following the crags pah on the left uphill. This is a steep and twisting climb on a good gravel and stony path for the first 30 minutes which levels out till the Diamond Jubilee cairn is reached. Time on the ascent was taken to admire the spread of the town below, the views west towards Loch Venacher, Ban Ledi, Aberfoyle and the Trossachs and behind the Crags Ridge the rolling grassland giving way to the mountains in the Glen Artney area. From the Cairn the path began to fall through a rocky area, some of puddingstone, to meet a grassy path followed by a winding woodland one down to Bracklin Road. Turning left on the road for 20 mins past the wishing well and the many roadside flowers the waterfall at the Scout Pool an the River Keltie was reached - a welcome lunch stop. The walk continued up into the forest for the next two miles before dropping down to meet the river and the path leading to Backlinn Falls. Due to the dry recent weather both the river and the falls had little water and it was difficult to appreciate that the bridge has been washed away at least twice. Across the new sturdy wood bridge the path led up to the Falls car park and here a woodpecker was spotted. The final section was down to the lower car park and into the woods above the town which led back to the start point. A successful day despite the mixed weather and the midges at lunch.
Biggar Ramblers - 23/6/17 
It was a lovely evening for the annual 'bring a dish ' meal which was preceded by a short two mile walk just to sharpen appetites! The group met at Candybank and walked down the country lane towards Elsrickle. Consent was very kindly granted to enter the grounds of Edmonston House. This splendidly proportioned historic building is hidden away and many of the group were unaware of its existence. The main objective though was to cross the Candy Burn as there is an ancient dam here that backs up a very scenic fishing lake that beautifully reflects the battlements of the big house. From here a short woodland walk led to the main objective of the evening - the 'cattle creep' under the A702. There have been temporary traffic lights here for several months as some restoration work is required to ensure this unseen feature on the main road can continue to support the ever increasing volume of traffic. It was a surprise to all as no one was really aware of its existence! The seized gate suggested this route had not been used for a very long time. The group now crossed the fields of Brownsbank Farm to reach the route of the 'old Roman road' marked in the OS map. This in turn lad back to the farm road that passes the 'writers cottahe' of Hugh MacDiarmid fame. The walkers now made their way back to the main road for a much more treacherous crossing to Candymill and their return to Candybank for a now well deserved casual evening meal. Lovely dishes had been brought. We ate well. It was a lovely evening informal get together with plenty to discuss and a final video slide show summary of our previous year's outings. A good time was had by all as they looked forward to continuing the summer programme (details of which are posted on the Biggar Ramblers web site and in the Lanark Gazette).

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Despite a weather forecast of impending heavy rain and thunderstorms 14 members of the Biggar Ramblers set out in glorious sunshine to walk to the Covenanter's Grave. They followed the track beside West Linton Golf Course toward North Slipperfield then crossed the bridge on a way marked track uphill toward West Water Reservoir then with the reservoir dam wall on the right headed west. Once some height was gained they paused for a short break to enjoy the view, and to hear the story of the Covenanter's Grave.
In November 1666 a Covenanter was attempting to return after the Battle of Rullion Green near Penicuik. Gravely injured he fled into the hills and managed to make it as far as the house of a shepherd. The shepherd, Sanderson, offered to take him in but the Covenanter refused fearing to put Sanderson's life in danger but realising that he was about to die he asked instead that he be buried in sight of the Ayrshire hills. Sanderson found him dead in the morning and buried near the summit of Black Law.
The ramblers continued along the track which dips down into the valley of Medwyn Water and crossing the bridge, they could see the remains of Sanderson's cottage. They came to a four way post then turned right onto a clear track following two marker posts and found the grave. It is a really beautiful, peaceful spot and being a clear day the Ayrshire hills could indeed be seen. They stopped here for lunch, after which they retraced their steps back to the track. Some returned back along the track to the start, the rest continued over the track across the moor following a faint path along a line of marker posts. In wet weather this path would be very boggy and wet. After 2km the moor gave way to grazing land and they headed down a gully and alongside a brook. They came to a signpost and turned left for West Linton passing finally along a track through an ancient landscape with several prehistoric cairns, Nether Cairn (40m in diameter and 10m in height) and Upper Cairn ( 60m in diameter and 12m in height). The route follows a pass between North Muir and Mendick Hill known a Garral and was a meeting place for outlawed gatherings of Covenanters. The landscape was teeming with moorland birds and coveres with so much Marsh Cotton it almost looked like snow. The path eventually rejoined the path from West Water reservoir and North Slipperfield and back along the golf course.
Distance: 11 miles
Walk Leader: Lesley Glidden
Thanks to the North Tweeddale Paths group for the map and information

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Wildflower Walk
Thursday the 18th May saw nine Biggar Ramblers walk from Hazelbank in warm sunshine hoping to find the wealth of spring wildflowers to be found in the Clyde valley. They were not disappointed. The walk took them up some steep steps up the west side of the valley following the edge of the valley before turning back below the Blackhill Viewpoint. After turning left on the road to Auchenheath and then towards Craignethan Castle, they followed a track leading down to the park at Crossford. The 4 mile route followed mostly tracks which were lined with many wildflowers, including bluebells, red campion, white stitchwort, blue alkanet, water avens and the frothy white flowers of cow parsley. A bonus end to a lovely walk, was lunch at Silverbirch Garden Centre sitting in the sun.

Monday, 8 May 2017

The low level walk on Saturday led by Isobel MacDonald left from the hotel in Lamlash on foot to meet with the shore before turning up towards the golf course where, when the pavement ran out, the woodland path began that led the three miles to Brodick. Although the path was often in sight of the road this did not detract from the feeling of walking through a forest with a carpet of flowers. There was a report of slow worms basking in the sun but not for this group. We did recognise the real bluebells - a welcome addition to the walk. Once the two car parks were reached the group kept a lookout for the standing stones on the opposite side of the road - not large but still impressive.
At this point there had to be a photo stop with the backdrop of Goatfell and the range of mountains before dropping down through the Fairy Glen for the final stretch into Brodick. Here there was a short lunch stop before continuing the last mile by the Fisherman's Walk alongside the golf course, the shore and salt marsh to emerge at Cladach shops and brewery where the path up Goatfell begins. There was an opportunity to visit the gardens of Brodick castle, the craft shops and further along the road the famous Arran Aromatics or to simply sit in the sun and have a coffee before returning by bus to Brodick and then on to Lamlash with the final walk up the hill to the hotel.
This was a short, 3.75 loop walk west along the coast from Lochranza, and returning via the Fairy Dell and along the track back to the car park.
We all set off from the car park at NR93195050 on a dry but windy day. Our leader, Jason, recalled last being here on a second-year geology field trip in 1987 - needless to say, a quick internet search was required to jog his memory regarding the geological sites along this trail. The first kilometer was along a tarmacked road and this gave us a nice start to get used to the driving wind that characterized the weather for the half-day's walk. Even on what might be thought of as an uninspiring start, there was lots to see in terms of wildlife - red deer near the car park, a rabbit in one of the gardens, a red squirrel in another, chaffinches and swallows, and in the sea - cormorants on the rocks and a group of grey seals, some of which were porpoising and giving us a good show. We paused near Newton Point ( no relation!) to look at the rocks - Dalradian schists - and talked about the compressive forces that heated and folded these rocks into interesting formations. The geological highlight of the trip though is at the coast opposite. The Knowe - the site of Hutton's Unconformity. James Hutton discovered this in 1787 - here red sandstones lie directly on top of the folded schists, and Hutton recognized that this meant that the schists were subjected to erosion over a prolonged period of time before the sandstones were deposited. This was a major find at the time, as it suggested that we could use geological processes at the present day as a key to explain rocks from the past, and challenged biblical theories that the planet is only a few thousand years old.
By this time we were starting to get a little drizzle, and the rocks were quite slippery so we viewed the Uncomformity from a distance. It was also near here that we were able to view a pair of red-breasted mergansers down the telescope - several efforts to focus on a Great Northern Diver were foiled by doing what divers generally do - diving!
By the time we reached the Fairy Dell, our half-way point, the drizzle had stopped and we were sheltered from the wind until we came out onto the grassy slopes 200 ft above. We heard a cuckoo - whether or not this was the same we'd heard near the shore was never confirmed, as attempts to locate it with the scope during lunch in a sheltered hollow were unsuccessful. We did however see a couple of gannets from our vantage point, and then the sun came out , which prolonged our stop. Once we were on the track which services the houses, the wind dropped as well, so we felt compelled to call at the Whins for an ice cream each. We were back at the car park in the early afternoon after a short but highly satisfactory trip.
Biggar Ramblers on Arran
The big walk on the Saturday led by Brian Henry was to climb Goatfell (2866ft). Nine members set out from the Cladach Sawmill and took the wide, well worn track through the grounds of Brodick Castle up through the forest and were accompanied by the sound of a distant cuckoo. The number of people that passed with the same goal was a trickle but as the day proceeded that became a continuous stream with Goatfell being one of the busiest places on Arran. The stony track let to the Corrie Cairn which is the meeting of 2 ascent routes and then it was a steeper climb over the rocks to the top. Views were restricted at first due to light cloud rolling through bit it cleared to give views out beyond Kintyre and the rugged foreground of the Arran hills made the ascent worthwhile.

On Sunday Brian and Kathy Henry led 11 walkers on a route known locally as the Laggan Circuit - 7 1/2 miles of hill and coastal path. Starting from Lochranza the route was over to the coast between Torr Meadhonach and Fionn Bhealach to the coast at Laggan then north along the Arran Coastal Way. Brian and Kathy talked about historical areas such as the Arran Clearance and the salt extraction works, finding the Arthropleurid's footsteps, clambering inside Ossian's Cave,  negotiating the An Scriodan boulders and discussing the original Hutton's Unconformity.

Monday, 24 April 2017

On Sunday April 16th, Easter Sunday, five members of Biggar Ramblers walked on Biggar Common. This was a good test for waterproof clothing, for it rained moderately all day, apart from a brief interlude of sleet on the Common itself.  There were rich rewards from the natural world - a large assembly of field hares at one point, a couple of brown hares at another and a pair of roe deer at a third. Lunch was enjoyed in the shelter of a tumbledown shed - the only dry spot available - and small Easter Eggs were distributed. The cloud was low but the spirits were high. The walk was a little over 8 miles and led by Bernard Airlie.
On Wednesday April 5th, ten members of Biggar Ramblers joined the Fife Coastal Path at Leven. It was an easy start to the walk, heading east along the coast to Lower Largo, passing Leven and Lundin Links Golf Courses. Lower Largo is famous as he birth place of Alexander Selkirk. He provided the inspiration for Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe. Turning left under an imposing viaduct the group continued to Keil's Den, an ancient woodland in a gorge, now cared for by the Woodland Trust. A stop was taken here among the wood anemones and bird song. A champagne lunch was enjoyed by all, to celebrate one of the walker's eightieth birthday. They then continued through the woods, passing the late 15th Century Pitcruvie  Castle and on to a marked track. This took them past a beautifully decorated wooden bench, and three kissing gates. The next place of interest was Largo Law Cemetery. From here the track went to the foot of Largo Law, an imposing volcanic plug of 290 meters. This proved too difficult to climb to the summit as the designated path was slippery, and too steep. Afterwards the walk continued through Upper Largo to the Serpentine Walk along the Largo Burn to Lower Largo. Here a leisurely stroll was taken along  Main Street admiring the buildings, in a conserved area. There was a fine statue of Alexander Serlkirk. The bus was caught back to Leven, and a much welcomed Fish Supper Tea! This was a very pleasant day, with good views across the Firth if Forth, good weather - and of course, good company!
The next walk is Biggar Common on Easter Sunday, 16th April, it is 8 miles
On 1st April, Biggar Ramblers headed for the hills. Starting from Moffat Well, a small select party followed the track to Blaebeck Farm, and then ascended Greygill Head, from where Moffat and the hills beyond were faintly discernible through the rolling mist. On the way up the hill, one of the party laid claim to an interesting animal skull which he carried for the rest of the walk, to the slight discomfort of the group. A steady drizzle set in as the party trudged across rough terrain towards Blue Cairn and Swatte Fell. The tops of the hills were hidden by the mist and low cloud which sometimes enveloped us and sometimes parted briefly to reveal the way ahead. But at the top of Swatte Fell, the weather shouted "April Fool" and the clouds cleared away to reveal stunning views down into the deep canyon of Black Hope and across to Saddle Yoke and the hills towards the Grey Mares Tail. The ground fell away sharply and the walkers had to be careful not to stray too near the edge. While lunch was being enjoyed, the party spotted a flock of feral goats who kept a safe distance but did not seem too bothered by our presence. The party then headed to the top of Birnock Cloves, on the way encountering a friendly toad whose posed considerately for photographs. The sun was shining as the party made the short steep descent to the narrow valley of the Birnock Water and joined an easy track to the start.

Monday, 27 March 2017

A four mile walk was the order of the day on 23rd March with the weather staying dry. The walkers set out from Stonehouse Park, along the banks of the Avon and from there followed the country roads to arrive back in the park. Two of the party listened to the song of a robin for a while and everyone stopped to admire a full shed of lambs and their mothers as a farm was passed. After the walk, the party made their way to Route 74 Truck Stop at Lesmahagow where lunch and a chat was enjoyed.
Walk Report - 19th March 2017
Despite an unpromising weather forecast ten members of Biggar Ramblers met at Chatelherault Visitor Centre for a leisurely 6 mile walk to Strathclyde Park and back. We started by going through the Deer Park and onto the Avon Walkway, where we had to detour up onto the A723 due to the high water levels under the bridge at the confluence of the Avon Water and River Clyde.
Fortunately we all made it safely across the dual carriageway to continue along the Clyde Walkway to the Watersports Centre in Strathclyde Park where we had a welcome coffee break, while watching the rowers and other sailing boats on the loch. Our return leg took us on the path alongside the noisy M74 but after dodging the A723 traffic again to cross onto the Avon Walkway it became more peaceful again. Once back at the Chatelerhault Estate we managed to find an obligatory muddy path and a steep climb out of the gorge back to the visitor centre in time for lunch. Fortunately the weather forecast did not live up to its expectations and we had a dry and warm walk with only a short light shower towards the end of the walk.

Monday, 20 March 2017

The walk was advertised as from Innerleithen back to Peebles over the top via Lee Pen but owing to the forecast for strong headwinds from the west it was decided to do the walk in reverse. Eight walkers lead by Gerard Bakker set out from the Kingsmeadow Car Park going past the Hydro Hotel towards the Shieldgreen Centre. They left the forest road opposite Glenbield and turned right to climb up into the Glentress Forest, then turning northwards up towards the Dunslair Heights Mast. Coffee was had at the lower end of the Soonhope Craig in the open where the forest had been felled. They turned south short of the mast and then followed the wall with the shelter of the forest on the right and open country on the left. Once they had descended to Leithen Door and climbed up the other side they had a well earned lunch, found a patch free of the remains of snow drift and nestling down behind the wall for shelter. Then they were out in the open hillside with strong gusts measuring 36MPH and on towards Lee Pen. Good clear views and a rest at Lea Pen before descending to Innerleithen just in time for the bus back.
The seven and a half mile walk taken by six people on Saturday 4th March from Denholm to Hawick following the River Teviot as part of the Borders Abbey Way was like others at this time of year-misty at the start, sunny as the day went on, dry despite the weather forecast but very muddy. Even the section of road walking had its fair share of puddles and the river banks showed signs of recent high water levels with debris several feet up in the tree branches. But all this was made up for with the flowers that lined the whole route; swathes of snowdrops, some early daffodils and the smell of the still to open wild garlic. Although the group had no need for the spare car left in Hawick, since the return could have been made by the bus, it was an added luxury to be driven back to collect the cars at Denholm and this gave time for a post-walk tea and cake in Morrison's before the journey home.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Brian Henry led 19 walkers from the Biggar Ramblers on a muddy and watery 7 mile walk over fields, old railway lines and a former coach route out from Blyth Bridge.Passing Blyth Farm the route then passed their manure and slurry dump, which 'delighted' many, and over fields that were quite waterlogged. Descending to Felton with a good view to Mendick and along the farm road the group turned north to walk the old Edinburgh to Biggar railway route to reach the Bogsbank Road from West Linton. As parts of this are regularly used by local farms there was more mud and water encountered. The lunch stop was just after leaving the road and views on one side was to Mendick and the other side was to Drum Maw above Romano Bridge. The return to Blyth Bridge was along the Old Coach Road which passed through a tree plantation, past many 'egg-sheds' and across open fields; there was even more mud and water to dodge around or walk through which allowed many to make unsuitable comments to the walk leader.

Monday, 20 February 2017

On Wednesday 8/2/17 eleven Biggar Ramblers met to walk around White Hill from Dolphinton. They were lucky with the weather but previous rain had made the going very muddy in places. There were great views on this walk looking back to the Broughton Heights and ahead over Mendick Hill and the Pentlands. It is a short walk, four and a half miles, which meant they were back in good time for a visit to The Big Red Barn for an excellent snack lunch and a chance to enjoy each other's company in a nice relaxing environment. The next walk on 19/2/17 is another local circular this time from Blyth Bridge.
Saturday 4th February, Wanlockhead: Southern Upland way 8 Miles

As the walkers prepared for their walk having parked in Meadowfoot at the far end of Wanlockhead their eyes were drawn to the sky as the dark grey clouds drifted over them looking foreboding as they covered the tops of the hills.
They walked down the old little-used road and felt the first drops of rain, they crossed the bridge over the heavily swollen Wanlock Waters rushing beneath.

Going up the steep zigzag path the rain had now turned to snow and became heavier as they got higher and on reaching the top they were hit by an icy cold wind. The 3 walkers made the decision to carry on over the western slopes of Glengaber (515mt) as they could still see to navigate the rough moorland path with the Southern Upland way markers but with none of the excellent slopes of Lowmill Known ( 448mt) to head down to the ruined farmstead in the floor of the valley at Cogshead
with its extensive pine plantation and here they stopped to collect a coin from the Kist.

They left the valley and started to make their way up through the trees. The weather had improved, it had stopped snowing and they sheltered from the wind and sitting out of the forest on Duntercleuch (390mt) for luch they were rewarded with extensive views into the distance of rolling hills and now on their final stretch back along a good track to the cars the clouds cleared and once again they were this time rewarded with blue skies and sunshine which brought smiles all round and announced four seasons in one day.

Thursday January 26th was a gloriously sunny day and this brought out 16 Ramblers to walk from Broughton to Biggar along the old railway line. The walk began by catching the local bus from Biggar to Broughton but there were too many to fit into the tiny bus and some had to go to the start of the walk by car.

The walk itself is flat and easy and 5 miles overall. The weather forecast had been for a very cold SE wind but fortunately this did not materialise and this added to the enjoyment of perfect winter walking weather. Once back in Biggar, everyone was treated to a bowl of hot soup.

The walk was led by Bernard Airlie

Saturday, 21 January 2017

On Wednesday 18th January, 6 Biggar Ramblers met to walk from Gladhouse Reservoir to Eddleston up the remote South Esk valley. The head of the valley gives access to local highest peak Dundreich at 2,044 ft. After a rapid thaw, all the snow had gone but the group startled a perfectly white mountain hare, no longer camouflaged. Its every twist and turn could be followed as it made its rapid escape through the tussocks of heather. A picnic lunch was consumed near the summit cairn. Great panoramic views could be seen but there was a cold wind so they didn't linger and made the steep descent to Boreland Farm, then across the fields into the back of Eddleston, 7.5 miles in total. It was a linear walk so the previously parked car was used to ferry drivers back to the start while the others made their way to the Scots Pine café where the group met up for well deserved tea and cakes. It was a good day out.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

It was minus 5 degrees when 12 Biggar Ramblers set off to walk the 5 mile Differick circular above Kirkfieldbank, an easy leg stretch on any other day. On Saturday the 14th January however, after heavy snowfall two days previously and low temperatures the night before, the route proved to be much more challenging than expected. Hard packed snow and ice as well as drifted snow had to be negotiated. The route from the houses at Greenrig followed a very straight track between fields which is said to be part of an old Roman road which led ultimately to the large Castledykes fort near Ravenstruther. The highest part of the walk at 1000ft was reached on this stretch. After 2 miles on the track, the route turned left on a minor road leading to Hawksland and then back to Greenrig following another treacherous ungritted stretch of minor road. The skies were blue so that the views of snow clad Tinto and the Lowther hills were breathtaking.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Report on walk of 5th January, 2017
There were eleven members of Biggar Ramblers who enjoyed a very pleasant circular walk from Castlebank Park, Lanark, on a beautiful winter's day, with blue skies and good underfoot conditions.
We went through the park to the Horticultural Centre which was mothballed for the winter, but enjoyed again the wonderful carvings of the wildlife at the Fairy Dell. The walk continued up Jookers Johny's lane and on to the main road, passing Cartland Hotel and so crossed over the road to the first section of the Cartland Crags walk. This was very pleasant, quiet and still, no bird song, but views of the spires of Lanark in the distance, seen through the leafless trees. Out from the woodland setting on to the road and up the Stey Brae and back to Castlebank Park, a walk of about three and a half miles.
Walk leader Dorothy Duncan