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