Tuesday, 7 August 2018

They got soaked- On Wednesday evening, 1st August, sixteen Biggar Ramblers met up at Candybank for a 'bring a dish' meal. This was to be preceded by a short walk up the nearby Broomy Law first visiting the recently refurbished 'cattle creep' under the A702. Twelve hardy souls 'volunteered' for the walk despite the rain teeming down!
They walked from Candybank up the road to Edmunston House. James Whitson had given permission for them to access the 'cattle creep' from his grounds. They looked briefly at the ruins of the old castle that was original fortified residence before the present 'big house' was built in 1815. Once they had accessed the fields of Brownsbank Farm they made their way to the farm access road abandoning the Broomy Law target and headed back past the 'writer's cottage' ( Hugh MacDiarmid's former residence). The cottage looks in rather a sorry state at the moment. The call of a lovely buffet meal was getting stronger as the walkers were all getting wetter!
Once back the splendid food and convivial atmosphere didn't disappoint. Thanks are due to everyone for their gastronomic contributions. A lovely meal tastes even better after a good soaking.
John Hart
On Saturday 29th July a small group of Biggar ramblers set off from Glasgow Central Station to explore the murals of Glasgow with Lynn Weir. The route took them initially past the "Hip Hop Marionettes" and onto Strathclyde University buildings where they saw several murals including a seven storey high lecture hall complete with students, an equatorial telescope and a Land-Ship, which was a mock-up navigation bridge once used to teach at the School of Navigation. A short detour up the High Street brought them to one of the favourites of a man with a robin on his hand. Heading for Candleriggs and the Merchant City was a huge mural called "Fellow Glasgow Residents" depicting the varied wildlife of Glasgow parks. The detail was astonishing, right down to the landscapes reflecting in the eyes of the animals. Another detour along the Trongate brought them to the first of three murals of the Big Yin (Billy Connolly). before retracing their steps, past the Panopticon Music Hall where Stan Laurel had performed, to see the second one featuring Billy near Osborne Street. After this it was down to the River Clyde to admire the various personalities and local history on the walls of the Clutha Bar with the new mural above it celebrating Charles Rennie Mackintosh's 150th birthday. A pleasant stroll along the Clyde Walkway brought them to one of the original murals - the "Glasgow Tiger Mural" - which has now been re-done and up onto Dixon Street to view the third Billy Connolly mural - opinion was divided as to which was the most liked! It was then back into the city centre to see the "World's Most Economical Taxi", "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" , "Wind Power", which was very cleverly depicted  using a dandelion clock and wind turbines, and then another early mural - "Glasgow's Panda". The second half of the walk had less murals to see but nevertheless was felt to be worthwhile doing. It took them along Argyle Street, away from the buzz of the city centre, to where a derelict block on the corner of York Street had been ingeniously adapted into an events noticeboard, complete with, among other things, an octopus and a Glaswegian Mona Lisa. Down onto the Broomielaw they passed the memorial to the Cheapside Fire Disaster of 1960 and under the Kingston Bridge the huge "Swimmer" mural created as part of the 2014 Commonwealth Games was best seen by crossing the road! From here they headed to Charing Cross to view a pelican and crocodile before aiming for the underpasses to Cowcaddens Subway Station where one is decorated with insects, the other with hand shadow puppets - it was fun watching the group trying to recreate the shapes and it brought back many childhood memories and the question of whether todays children would still know how to make hand shadow puppets.
Apart from the murals it was interesting to see how ornate many of the buildings were when you stopped to look up and everyone agreed that it had been a very different kind of Ramblers walk to what they were used to but worthwhile in exploring areas of Glasgow that they would never have visited, just whizzed past in a car or would have been too busy looking at shop windows to notice architecture all around them!
The walk on Thursday 19th led by Isobel MacDonald was altered slightly due to the longer journey time by train caused by the re-routing for work being done on the low level line. This meant the arrival at Milngavie was more than an hour later than intended and giving the small group of walkers time for a welcome coffee before the start meant that part of the West Highland Way along Craigallian Loch past the Carbeth Huts was omitted. However the rest of the walk was successfully done still using the start of the WHW and a different route into Mugdock Park. This afforded a stop at the ruins of 14thc Mugdock Castle, a strong hold of the Grahams before continuing past what remains of 10thc Craigend castle once home to Smith of bookshop fame, Outram the newspaper owner and Yarrow shipbuilder and the site of the Zoo owned by Mr. Wilson the most famous animal being Charlie the elephant who followed his mahout to a pub in Milngavie where he became stuck in the door. In the former stables the walkers took the opportunity of lunch in the very busy café before continuing though the park, around Mugdock Loch. There was no evidence of the blue/green algae posted with warnings on the notice boards but many water lilies and two swans. Using the exit at the South Lodge gate the walk headed down to the reservoirs. On the bridge between the two reservoirs the numerous ducks rolling and diving were quite a spectacle. The walk continued down away from the reservoirs and along the private residential road back to the view point above the town and the Allander Water with a final 40 minute walk to a welcome coffee before facing the disrupted journey back to Chatelherault.
Biggar Ramblers 11th July 2018          Yarrowford and Minchmoor Road

As they followed in the footsteps of history, near perfect conditions gave Biggar Ramblers an excellent walk on Wednesday. Venturing slightly further afield, the group began their walk in Yarrowford, near Selkirk and quickly joined the Cross Borders Drove Road known as Minchmoor Road. This old byway is one of the oldest east-west routes in Scotland, the Yarrowford variant recorded on maps dating to 1752 although believed to be much older. The Earl of Montrose is believed to have retreated along the track to Peebles after his defeat to the Covenanters at Philiphaugh in 1645. It provided a delightful means of ascent to where the drove road intersects the Southern Upland Way. Here the group turned east to complete the ascent of Brown Knowe (523m) crossing another historical feature - Wallace's Trench - in the process. The effort was rewarded by a spectacular views across the Tweed valley, the Borders and towards Galloway.
A delightful stroll along the Way followed, the Eildon hills always in view, until a path heading south began the descent towards Broadmeadow, the first Scottish YHA created in 1931 ( but now a private house). The path continued in dappled shade alongside the burn as it descended gently to the road and back to the village.
On June 21st a very small group of the Biggar Ramblers met at Rosslyn Chapel to complete a circular walk of 7 miles via Polton. The path goes past Rosslyn Chapel and turns left past Slatebarns caravan site allowing spectacular views of Roslin Glen, it continued through pleasant woods and along a new path recently restored by a group of volunteers and the Midlothian Rangers, until recently this path has been too dangerous to attempt due to a huge landslide. The path came out at a clearing which has no sign post but they took the left hand path which led through Hewan Bog and brings walkers to the Maiden Castle  where there were information boards pointing out various wildlife and flowers. There is a pleasant walk along the river here and a Weir, evidence of an earlier landslide can be seen.
The track then went up the Hewan Bank via some steps and they arrived at the Bilston Woods, here they turned right toward Polton. The correct path is a bit faint at first but then widens out, it also has a narrow section with a steep drop on both sides fortunately very short! They continued through the woods and down some steps where the path comes very suddenly out to a narrow road fortunately there is a gate here. The group then continued over the bridge and into the grounds of Springfield House. There are several paths, some of which lead beside the River Esk. They sat on a convenient bench to have lunch under the trees as the day was now very sunny and warm. A track past Springfield House and up past farms and stables brought the walkers to Rosewell and finally onto the Penicuik to Dalkieth cycle path, a short walk along here to Rosslyn Castle Station, down the road to Rosslyn Country Park and finally a steep climb stopping for a look at Rosslyn Castle and the walk was finished. This walk would also be spectacular in the autumn.
Walk leader L. Glidden