Thursday, 15 February 2018

A touch of the Arctic: four Biggar Ramblers tackled the southern end of the Pentlands ridge on Sunday 11th February. A fresh fall of snow overnight and an icy wind made the going quite hard. Drifting snow covered the Monk's Rig track that leads from Nine Mile Burn to the Foot of West Kip. The shortened route took in the three tops of West Kip, East Kip and Scald Law, the Pentlands highest point. Some stunning views but the uncertain terrain and driving wind meant heads down for much of the time! The return route was past Eastfield Farm onto the Braid law track. A total of seven miles.
Walk Leader :John Hart
The walk on Thursday 8th February, with seven lady members, was on the Clyde Walkway from Crossford to Garrion- a distance of approx. 7 miles. Due to the recent wet weather followed by snow it was rather muddy in places but no different from other recent walks. From the bridge at Crossford the way follows the river closely by boardwalk and gravel path and then climbs above it before dropping down via the sturdy wood steps to river level again and the path alongside the wire fenced fields. The sheep were once more out in the fields and in many places snowdrops were beginning to show. There was a short stop for a drink before reaching the private road leading to the large white house. From there follows two fairly steep inclines and drops on either side of a Carluke access road before a final drop to come alongside the river once more and into the Mauldslie estate and the fields opposite the Popinjay Hotel. Continuing under the Mauldslie Bridge and the short climb up to the woods for lunch above the river before the final section along the river and burn to meet the road. A short section on the grass verge tied to Horslea Brae then left down to Garrion Bridge. Once the bridge roundabout was negotiated there was the final short stretch on the pavement to the bus stop at Dalserf in time to catch the bus back to the cars at Crossford. There followed by a welcome coffee and cake at Silverbirch garden centre to round off the day
A short walk with lunch at the end was on the Biggar Ramblers programme at the beginning of February. Brian Henry led the group starting at Eddleston with the first stop being the Polish Map of Scotland. Being a day when light snow fell before and during the walk 'Scotland ' was under a blanket of snow. The group found shelter for a coffee break before joining the Old Post Road to walk northwards over open countryside of Black Barony and farm track. Return to Eddleston was past Darnhall Mains and stopping for lunch in the Scots Pine where the log fire was welcome.

Monday, 5 February 2018

On Thursday 25th January nine Biggar Ramblers met in the afternoon to do a short circular walk from Biggar to Hillridge Farm. They were lucky with the weather as it had been very wet, sunny conditions prevailed. The result of the previous rain and the recently melted snow was some very muddy terrain! Anyway the end of the walk was through the Burn Braes which gave a good opportunity for a boot clean in the ford.
This marked the last walk in the current programme but a new series of outings starts in February. The programme is downloaded from the Biggar Ramblers website. It is always good to see new faces. If you spot a walk you fancy come along, we meet before each walk outside the Corn Exchange.
Walk leader: John Hart

Thursday, 4 January 2018

On a cold and damp morning 7 members of Biggar Ramblers set out from Flotterstone car park heading towards Glencourse Reservoir via the old filter beds. Progress was slow due to water lying on top of solid ice, but at least the forecasted heavy rain failed to materialise. Half way along the reservoir the group headed up to Knightfield Rig and on to Phantom's Cleugh and Bonaly Reservoir. A short climb then followed behind Capelaw Hill where there were good views of the Hermiston area of Edinburgh (on a better day the view would have been right across to the Queensferry Crossing). The walk then continued across Howden Burn and on to the main path down to Castlelaw. There was a brief break in the clouds while passing behind Fala Knowe which gave good views across to Berwick Law and the Bass Rock. From Castle Law it was a simple decent back to the Glencourse Reservoir road leading back to the car park at Flotterstone - the end of a bracing 6.5 mile walk.
Sat. 9th December. The Biggar Ramblers were lucky again with the weather for a winter walk on Shaw Hill, near Coulter. A group of eight walked from the old Culter Kirk through woodland to emerge in glorious sunshine onto the circular path around the hill top. The view up to Culter Fell was worth the woodland climb on its own but further round there was a tremendous panorama over Biggar and beyond to the Pentland Hills. This is only newly opened up due to recent forestry operations. Their adventurous descent was via a 'mountain bike track'!
A short walk but spectacular in the wintery sunlight.
The walk in the Biggar Ramblers programme for 13 December was described as A Winter Hill Walk. The description lived up to its name being in the middle of a Yellow weather warning for snow and ice. The group of only 3 walkers including leader Brian Henry set out from Romanno Bridge along the Old Drove Road heading for Peebles. When the shoulder to Green Knowe was reached the trio turned left to ascend the hill and continue over Hag Law and onto Wether Law. Heading into cloud the rain started which turned to sleet and then snow which prevailed all the way to the trig point on the aptly named, for the day, Wether Law. With little visibility on the top the group posed for the photographic record and then headed west to descend towards the tree plantation. After negotiating a route through recently harvested trees the forest track was reached and then a relatively calm walk downhill to Halmyre Mains and back to Romanno Bridge.
Despite the heavy rain and strong wind earlier in the day the weather cleared to allow ten members to participate in this short walk from the hotel via the boardwalk with, on the right, the strong current in the river to Corra Linn Falls ,which, due to the recent rain were in full flood. A spectacular sight. From there it was up the steps to the hall of mirrors and the surge tank and across the field behind where two white horses were grazing, put there to keep the grass short and encourage the spread of wild flowers. Taking a left turn to the pond - very overgrown at present - to follow the path up and through the trees to meet the road above the river and the badger watch area to the junction leading back to the village. A woodpecker was seen by some of the group on this stretch. It was now becoming darker so the shorter left road was taken giving time to visit the village shop and then the tearoom for a quick tea or coffee before the guests returned to their hotel accommodation and others returned home in preparation for the 7:00pm dinner and carols. 
On a cold, bracing St Andrew's Day 10 members of Biggar Ramblers enjoyed a morning walk in the Pentland Hills. Beginning from Nine Mile Burn they ascended Cap Law following what is believed to be the old monks' route from Newhall to South Queensferry. Pausing briefly at the top - it was very cold!- to admire the stunning views over the Firth of Forth and the Queensferry bridge they descended to the col below West Kip. Here the monks' route continues towards Balerno. Their path, however, returned by way of Quarrel Burn and reservoir where a dozen Whooper swans were spotted, perhaps taking a short breather on their way south. It had been a rewarding 4 mile walk.
Nigel Bamford