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 cafĂ©.
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