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