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.