Sunday, 17 November 2019

Report on walk on Wednesday 30th October to Chatelherault led by Isobel MacDonald.

On a bright frosty morning 13 walkers set out from the visitor centre at Chatelherault Country Park after an initial coffee and tea stop to do the circular Green Bridge walk of approx 5 miles. Due to a path closure on the far side of the River Avon the return route was altered.
The path from the visitors centre to the Green Bridge followed the walkway high above the river past the golf course with trees on either side showing their autumn colours. Once the steps down to the bridge were reached most of the group chose to go down to view the river. Two sets of ducks were seen before the climb back up to join the others.
The return route was by way of the original track but at the sign for the White Bridge the group took the downward path into the gorge to meet the one at river level. In the sunshine this was an ideal spot for lunch.
From there the walk continued giving a view of the surrounding garden wall of the house, the ruins of Cadzow Castle and the Duke's bridge before meeting the steps up to the level of the house.
From its front there were views down through the tree lined wide 'avenue' which once led to the Palace, to Hamilton and in the distance a spectacular view of the Campsie Fells with Meikle Binn, Dumgoyne, and Ben Lomond clearly in sight.

Culture Fell stands at 2,454 feet and next to it is Chapelgill Hill at 2,283 feet. These hills were the objective of Biggar Ramblers on 26 October. Normally Culter Fell is climbed from the west side starting at the Culter Allers Farm but on this occasion with both hills on the walk the start was in Glenholm near Broughton. The group led by Brian Henry consisted of 6 walkers.

Starting at Glenkirk the walk was along the floor of the valley until the cottage at Holms Waterhead. Then to the rear of the cottage Holms Water was crossed and the ascent of Leishfoot Hill was started. The route on the hill was alongside the fence which will be a track through a new forest plantation inside a deer fence where Douglas Firs and native broadleaves trees will be planted. Further up Leishfoot the group left the area to be forested and began the ascent proper of Culter fell. At the summit the views extended to the Pentlands, the Moffat hills and the high rise flats at Motherwell. However the wind chill kicked in and making time for a photograph of the group moved northwards towards Kings Bank en-route to Chapelgill Head. Once out of the wind a lunch break was welcomed. Then it was over Kings Bank Head and a turn eastwards towards the summit go Chapelgill Hill. From that high position the complete walk so far undertaken could be seen from the start, up Leishfoot and over Culter Fell.

Then it was downhill all the way, all 1,300 feet to the start although a heavy rain shower marred the descent but not the spirit of the walkers who appreciated another good day on the hill.

Thursday, 17th Octobers - on a cold and bright morning 9 walkers set out from Cramond Village to walk to South Queensferry. Clear views were had from Cramond Village over the water to Fife and Cramond Island when the walkers set off on the first part of the walk to Cramond Brig enjoying lovely autumnal colours on the trees and reflections on the River Almond. Along the way the walkers detoured slightly to view Eagle Rock named as a result of an eagle carved into it supposedly by Roman Legionaries from the fort at nearby Cramond. Following a picnic lunch on a shell covered beach, the party then walked past Dalmeny House and Golf Course and then Barnbougle Castle. Further along the woodland track is Hound Point and shortly after that the magnificent Forth Rail Bridge comes into view. On reaching South Queensferry the walkers passed the Hawes Inn which dates back to the 17th century and featured in Robert Louis Stevenson's novel 'Kidnapped'. A well earned coffee was enjoyed before the bus journey back to Cramond Brig and completing this 9 mile walk on a glorious autumn day.

A day of heavy rain showers, lack of visibility combined with steep ascents and descents identified the latest Biggar Ramblers walk led by Brian Henry. On 26th September 3 dedicated walkers set out from the NTS car park at the Grey Mare's Tail to climb to Lochcraig Head and White Coomb. The ascent up past the tail was straightforward amidst the rain with a pair of peregrine falcons flying overhead. Then walking along the Tail Burn the group tried to identify a crossing point for the return. The burn was in spate and only a deep water wade with risk of deeper immersion being possible the decision was made for an alternative route off.

Walking around Loch Skeen past and through the many peat bogs the ascent of Lochcraig Head started and it was a laborious pull up with a few 'let's look at the view stops!' At the top of Lochcraig Head there was a superb view to Loch Skeen and beyond marred by the sheets of rain crossing the loch. Continuing on over Firthybrig Head and Firthhope Rig with accompanying squalls and dry spells along with several wheatears the summit of White Coomb was reached.

Having made the decision not to return across the Tail Burn the group set off for Carrifran Gans as the alternate route off. Walking to the next summit the twin peaks of Saddle Yolk could be seen through the cloud. It was known the descent off Carrifrans Gans would be steep but no one in the group anticipated the actual steepness of the only way down. It was believed to be the first time the walkers have used the fence to give support on a descent that had to be negotiated with care. Eventually after 8 miles and 6 hours walking the Moffat road was reached and a return to the start.

Durisdeer is a lovely place to walk even without the incentive of church hall afternoon teas! On Sunday 29th of September 10 members of the Biggar Ramblers met up to do two walks starting from this little jewel of a village that nestles among the impressive Southern Upland hills. The hill walkers headed up Durisdeer Rig then tackled Skaw'd Law and Glenleith Fell before dropping down to the bothy in Glenaggart where the rendezvous with the rest of the walkers was timed to perfection! The lower level group had walked up Glenaggart to the vantage point overlooking Kettleton Reservoir. After exchanging tories of the respective exploits over a picnic lunch at the bothy they all made their way back down the valley to the village. Both groups had covered almost exactly the same distance of 6.75 miles.

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

On Wednesday 18th September the Biggar Ramblers led by Lesley Glidden, traveled to Dalkeith Country Park, most for the first time, to enjoy two short walks. The park covers over 1,000 acres and has been owned by the Buccleuch family for over 300 years.
The first walk in the morning was the Od Wood Walk and Hermitage Walk about 3 miles. From the Laundry Room followed the track up hill passing trees of which some are over 700 years old and others growing to a great height from the banks of the River Esk far below.
They passed some fields used for equestrian cross country events, the old hermitage with trees growing out of the roof and crossing a bridge came to the Restoration Yard where they stopped for lunch and a look in the shop.
In the afternoon they wandered along the Wilderness walk, again, walking through woods but with the pleasant sound of the river beside them. This track took them past the old gates with it's avenue giving an impressive view of Dalkeith Palace.The path now took them past St Mary's Church, the Town Gate and to Dalkeith Palace. The Palace which was completed in 1711 for Anna, the 1st Duchess of Buccleuch is really elegant and a very pleasant sight. It sits above the river with a lawn below which has some extremely beautiful willow trees and the Montage Bridge, built by Robert Adam and commissioned by Henry, 3rd Duke of Buccleuch is an imposing sight. The Park which has been redeveloped and reopened in 2016 is well worth a visit at any time of year but in a few weeks the trees will be spectacular in their autumn colours
On Thursday the 12th September six members of the Biggar Ramblers visited the Hyndford Monument on the Carmichael estate near Lanark. It is a lovely walk starting from the estate car park. The route they took left the farm track to visit the impressive ruin of the eighteenth century Carmichael House. ( The roof was removed as recently as 1952). From here they progressed through woodland onto Carmichael Hill. At not much over a thousand feet it is towered over by the adjacent Tinto Hill which was shrouded in mist. The panoramic views from here were well worth the effort. Continuing over the hill top the Hyndford Monument soon came into sight. It's prominent position makes it a fitting memorial to the 2nd Earl of Hyndford. It was erected in 1774. Their route was down from here and back to the car park. The four and a half afternoon walk was sufficient to justify a visit to the estate cafe for tea/coffee and some lovely cakes!
On Sunday September 1st eight Biggar Ramblers walked from Walkerburn to Innerleithen and back. The walk began at The Coffee Spot in Walkerburn and ran north close to the Walker Burn, between upland fields and heather covered slopes, to the ruined cottage at Priesthood. Here the track turned sharply left and climbed steadily through woodland, past Pirn Craig before dropping sharply to a lower forestry road and back to Innerleithen. A heavy shower appeared from nowhere exactly at lunchtime but this did not dampen spirits, only the sandwiches. The route from Innerleithen to Walkerburn was along the banks of the River Tweed. Numerous cyclists were encountered during the day and there were many good natured exchanges. A most enjoyable 8 mile walk, led by Bernard Airlie

Thursday, 5 September 2019

The five mile walk on 26th August was a short hill walk from Manor Valley near Peebles to Stobo via Dead Wife's Grave. The gradual ascent up to the Grave was through woodland. At the summit there were lovely views all around, from Tinto Hill to Stobo Castle. Dead Wife's Grave is actually a plaque on a Gate post. This is thought to commemorate the death of an Irish woman after the Battle of Philiphaugh in 1545. She was only one of the many camp followers who were slaughtered after the battle in the borders hills. On the descent to Stobo lunch was taken whilst admiring the hillside scenery, already the vegetation turning to autumnal colours. Detour was made above Stobo village into the german Wood. This was to see the plaque denoting the site of a World War One prisoner of war camp, which housed a hundred inmates. They had been captured on naval ships. After this the enjoyable walk concluded at Stobo Village. The weather had been mostly sunny, at an agreeable temperature. The eight participants were led by Jan Airlie.

Monday, 12 August 2019

Biggar Ramblers Broughton Walk ledgy Esther Daborn on 31st July.
The Biggar Ramblers walk for the end of July involved a short bus journey to Broughton and a walk back along the disused railway line to Biggar ( 5miles). Thunderstorms were forecast, but in the event 9 brave souls turned up and the weather faded from drizzle to nothing, albeit a bit muggy.

The old line runs along the broad valley that's level due to the ice age and follows a straight path thanks to the Victorians, who straightened out the river ( to make Biggar Water ) and lay their railway track. The Ramblers started with Broughton Heights behind us and the masses of Cardon Hill and Culter Fell to the left in front. Then as the valley curved around, Tinto came into view.

Along the way, they saw lots of wild flowers and one of the group found some edible puff balls. The walkers heard yellowhammers, and butterflies rose up from the path in front of us. They came back into Biggar past the golf course and some headed to the Gillespie Centre for a well-earned cup of tea and light lunch.
Saturday 27th July in Edinburgh along the Water of Leith from the visitor centre at Slateford. Was this the wettest walk ever tackled by Biggar Ramblers? There have been other wet days but between the rain falling heavily all the time and the flooded path beneath our boots it was decided by the seven wakers it was indeed the wettest. This did not detract from the banter and chatter as the walk progressed along the board walk past the large cemetery and then a path giving a view of the extensive area of allotments with only one determined owner arriving to tend to his crops. There was some relief admiring the colourful mixed planting of Saugton public gardens with its big band stand and admiration for the group of volunteers weeding and tidying up. Several dogs and their owners were seen out despite the weather with the dogs grateful for the cooler conditions after the heat of the past week. The walk continued past the croquet grounds of Ballgreen and the Murrayfield rugby ground and cricket fields and out to the road at Roseburn. By this time it was decided to call a halt at the Apex coffee bar with its selection of lunch time snacks giving some respite from the continuing rain. The programme had given the option of completing the day at Haymarket or continuing to Stockbridge " depending on Conditions" so with the "conditions" not improving the walk finished with the bus journey from Haymarket station back to the cars at Slateford. A day for umbrellas and waterproofs. Scottish weather does not defeat Biggar ramblers.
On 18/7/19 the Biggar Ramblers met at Neidpath Castle for a short but exciting walk along the Tweed. The route was down from the castle then along the riverside path joining the old railway line at the elegant skew arch Queen's Bridge before heading into the tunnel. This is really dark as the exit is obscured by a late bend. It takes about 15 minutes to walk through, good torches are essential! They continued along the railway line before making their way back to the castle for a celebratory tea- it was Pam's 70th birthday! It was a lovely occasion.
On Sunday 7th July a group of 8 members of Biggar Ramblers set off from a car park in the quaint hamlet of Yarrowford to undertake a challenging 7.5 mile circular walk. The initial part of the walk was a pleasant woodland path above Broadmeadows Burn before joining a track taking us on a steady climb over Foulshiels Hill. They then trekked across open hillside up to the three large summit cairns known as the "Three Brethren", which afforded fantastic views of the Yarrow Valley. These massively built structures, dating back to the sixteenth century, stand proud over the site Ordnance Survey trig point and mark the intersection of three old estates - Buccleuch Estate, Yair Estate and Selkirk Burgh. From there the Ramblers followed an old drovers road along a scenic section of the Southern Uplands Way before descending on a path surrounded withheld flowers and butterflies back to their start point. A bright breezy day and very enjoyable.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

On Saturday 29th June, eight Biggar Ramblers, led by Lynn Weir, set off to explore the twenty-two bridges (which carry vehicles, pedestrians or trains) across the River Clyde from the Millennium Bridge (completed in 2002) at the Science Centre to the Dalmarnock Bridge (completed in 1891) approximately five miles up river. An added bonus was the sight of two of the “Oor Wullie’s Bucket Trail” statues.
The walk started off in a quite urbanised area, through the International Financial Services District of Glasgow and past the City Centre before entering the parklands of Glasgow Green where the surroundings changed and almost became a rural walk alongside the Clyde. You could easily forget you were still within the boundaries of the City of Glasgow. Despite being billed as a city walk much wildlife was encountered with a heron, cormorant and greylag goose being spotted. Wild flowers were also in abundance but it was noted that the invasive, but pretty, Himalayan Balsam and extensive areas of Giant Hogweed was also presence.
A pleasant walk was had and we managed to get back to the train station before the thunderstorm that had been grumbling away all day finally made an appearance.
The oldest bridge we encountered was 166 years old, the newest one only four years old, however many of the bridges have been rebuilt over the years with the Victoria Bridge (completed in 1854) being built on the site of the first recorded timber bridge across the Clyde in Glasgow – this was believed to have existed in 1285 as it was mentioned in Henry the Minstrel’s epic poem on Sir William Wallace.

The Glasgow’s Clyde bridges use a variety of materials, timber, stone, cast iron, wrought iron, steel reinforced concrete and stressed concrete and almost all bridge types are represented – beam, beam and slab (with solid girders, lattice girders or box girders), the arch, the tied bowstring arch, the suspension bridge, the cable stayed bridge and the balanced cantilever. Some famous names have also been involved in the construction of some of the bridges predecessors, namely Thomas Telford, James Watt and Robert Stevenson (grandfather of Robert Louis Stevenson)
The walk of 20th March required a change of plan owing to the road closure. It was therefore decided to go on the Queen's Jubilee Walk at Coalburn, following the road used by the now defunct Dalquhandy Open Cast Mine, which opened in the late 1980's and became the biggest mine in Europe by the early 1990s. Deer were noticed early in the walk and then Wallace's Cave was pointed out. We eventually reached 3R Energy premises where discarded timber is converted to electricity and sold to the grid. We then walked along a newly mown path heading for Weston. Pam pointed out the cinnabar moth with it,s lovely orange colouring. Lunch was taken next to the Poniel Burn where the distinct call of the cuckoo was heard. The Greenshields Graveyard was well tended and then a lovely garden pond was encountered with lots of beautiful pink and white water lilies. The huge Dewar's whiskey bond was noted before reaching the main road and following it past a herd of Alpacas and back to Coalburn. The weather was kind with some drizzle and the walk covered six mies. Cairn Lodge, with its farm shop, provided lovely coffee and cake for the nine waters who had taken part in the walk.

Biggar Ramblers at Striding Arches.
The striding arches at Cairnhead, Moniaive are a group of 4 sandstone arches, each 7 metres wide.  They were constructed by artist and sculptor Andy Goldsworthy with one in the valley built into an old byre and the other three on the surrounding hilltops.  It was an objective of Brian Henry to lead Biggar Ramblers on a circuit of all 4 arches and 3 years of planning came to fruition on 16th June.  Five walkers set off from an isolated location in the valley and walked 1½ miles to the Byre Arch.  Seeing the arch which has one base inside the Byre and the other base outside led the group to wonder how it was built.  After a coffee stop at the Byre the group continued along the valley turning up beside a burn and then through firebreaks to come out onto Little Dibbin Hill.  A fox was seen quickly departing the open ground for the safety of the forest.  Continuing upwards to ascend Benbrack the next arch was reached during heavy rain.  The route then continued on the Southern Upland Way for nearly 2 miles and continued to the ascent of Colt Hill and the third arch.  After Colt Hill a decision had to be made depending on the extent of fallen trees that has blocked this route during the planning stages.  The way was still definitely blocked and the group detoured back into the forest and the road rejoining the hills after adding ¾ mile onto the day.  It was then just over a mile to the 4th and final arch on Bail Hill.  It was from this point that it is possible to see all 4 arches albeit the arch at the Byre is actually on the opposite side of the building.  Descent from the arch was through a firebreak in the forest and the descent was 900 feet from the arch to the valley floor.  When the group came to the end of the firebreak and with 200 feet still to go the car could be seen but it was surrounded by  herd of cows!

Thursday, 13 June 2019

The day ( Sunday 26 May), Biggar Ramblers set out for another 'big hill' started wet clearing to showers but obvious there would not be any visibility on the summit. The big hill on this occasion was Cairnsmore of Carsphairn with the adjacent 'top' of Brenniner. It was a hardy 3 people that set out from The Green Well of Scotland along the farm track and in just over an hour reached the Poluse Burn just before the terrain became the steeper ascent to the summit. At around 500 to 550 metres the group entered the cloud and the wind picked up. The ascent turned into another wild flower walk with lousewort, milkwort and butterwort ( a lot of worts!). Also seen were starry saxifrage and tormentil.

Navigation was easy initially using farm track then climbing alongside a wall that led to the top. At the top the wind suddenly increased to an estimated 50 mph. Due to the conditions it was decided to omit Benniner and come off Cairnsmore over Black Shoulder and here navigation by map and compass was needed. The wind continued to make the walk uncomfortable. After crossing Dunool the wind dropped when the group left the cloud and descended to rejoin the farm track and enjoyed a late lunch. It was only a 30 minutes walk back to the Green Well and the end of a very challenging walk.
On Wednesday 22nd May, a dry mostly sunny day, 12 Ramblers led by Pam Hart started at the Manor Bridge near Peebles along the old railway line to Lyne Station looking at the wealth of wild flowers lining the path. Colourful blue gerrymander, speedwell, pink and purple common and bush vetch, bright yellow broom and startlingly white greater stitchwort could be found. The group crossed the bridge to the opposite bank of the River Tweed spotting the white flowers of water crowfoot in the water and a pair of dippers feeding their chicks. The next part of the walk was through woodland towards Barns Tower, and old Scottish fortified house, thus returning to Manor Bridge.
Biggar Ramblers - Sat 18/5
After some glorious weather for the recce it was probably too much to expect the same for the Biggar Ramblers walk up Broad Law last weekend. Saturday morning was cool and wet but four 'die hards' met up to tackle the second highest top in the Southern Uplands. As ascent from Megget Stone is a straightforward route but the low cloud and drizzle added to the challenge. In such conditions the boundary fence line proved some navigational security. Despite the conditions it proved an enjoyable outing with good company and some good upland natural history. The terrain was bleak and the wildlife sparse but they were rewarded for their efforts with sightings of red grouse and golden plover. The plaintive call of the latter through the mist was most provocative. In addition, finds of cloudberry, clubmoss and starry saxifrage were typical upland specialities. Upon arriving at  the summit the air traffic control installation loomed through the mist like some alien spacecraft! The group had a brief, thoroughly wet picnic lunch break up here before retracing their tracks using the security of the fence line rather than launching off into the mist to make a circular route taking in Porridge Cairn and Wylies Hill. Once back at the Mehmet Stone there was a good sense of having made the most of some unpleasant conditions!
Seven members of Biggar Ramblers set out on the first of 2 wild flower walks this month led by Kathy Henry and Pam Hart.  The group left from Maxton Church to walk beside newly ploughed and planted potato fields.  At the boundary the tree lined bank leading to the Tweed supported woodland flowers of bluebells, wild garlic and dog’s mercury indicating the site of ancient woodland.  After passing Craigover the walk took to the banks of the Tweed and spotted 2 military jets passing over and returning and then proceeded to carry out flight manoeuvres.  The walk leaders were thanked for putting on a fly-past.  Then it was over the wire suspension bridge to the grounds of Mertoun House.  In the adjacent field a herd of about 50 heifers took an interest in the walkers and gathered alongside the fence. And the jets returned to continue manoeuvres to the east.
Passing Mertoun House the walk descended to the lower gardens of the house where the first yellow azalea bush was.  Then it was round past the ice-house to the dove-cote.  Inside the walled garden the bank was covered in flowering blue and white bells and the top of the bank was lined with apple trees in blossom.  Returning to the road the route was lined with the yellow azaleas and sprinklings of Candelabra Primula.  Reaching the main road a lunch break was called next to the village hall prior to the walk down to the river and across Mertoun Bridge to join the St Cuthbert's Way.  The group stopped to observe sand martins flocking and diving into and exiting their nest holes.  Then it was into the woodlands where different wild flowers were found including toothwort spotted by Kathy.  The final part of the route was through the lines of poplar trees laid out in regimented rows a throwback to the days when trees like these were cultivated for matches.  Leaving the trees and up the side of the banking to reach the church and return to the cars.  It was questioned if the 2nd flower walk in the Peebles area in 2 weeks time would provide such an diversity of nature (not to mention a military fly-past with aerobatics).

Monday, 6 May 2019

The last weekend in April saw the Biggar Ramblers hold their walkaway at Gilsland near Hadrian's Wall.  Twenty members enjoyed a number of walks; the first setting out from the hotel on the Friday afternoon.  This was the Gilsland Stepping Stones which led from the hotel drive descending to the River Irthing.  There the crossing of the river was over 18 stepping stones where a group photo was taken.  The route then went uphill past Wardrew House and into the Irthing Gorge woodlands and onto the 'Popping Stone' where it is claimed Walter Scott proposed to Charlotte Carpenter in 1797.
The Saturday walk was a single walk (with varying lengths) at Housesteads Roman fort.  Being a circular walk of 8 miles there were 2 opportunities to leave the route and cross to the return route thereby shortening the walk to either 4 or 5 miles.  Eighteen of the group set out westwards and with no-one taking the 4 mile cut-out the group moved onto Hotbank Farm  to have their first break.  After leaving the farm 7 of the group took the 5 mile option and took the path leading to the return route only a quarter of a mile away. 
Those that took the shorter option crossed the farmland and came to where the route passes through a wood and although it was boggy managed to find a dry spot for lunch.  When they rejoined the wall to return to Housesteads they helped a family that had bitten off a bit too much of the wall and found themselves with too far to walk.  A lift back from Housesteads to their car another 3 miles away was appreciated.
The remaining 11 continued along the wall keeping to the undulating terrain adjacent to the wall which had several short steep sections.  Reaching the iconic Sycamore Gap the group had to wait their turn to get a photograph under the tree.  Shortly after this a lunch break was called sitting inside Milecastle 39 where plenty of stones provided seats and other  walkers could walk past without interference.  At the last section of the wall section coming off Steel Rigg the steepest part was experienced and negotiated with care.  After this the group turned to the return section and a more gentle walk across farmland until the Pennine Way was reached.  This took the group back to the wall and the more leisurely grass track was taken back to the visitor centre.
On the Sunday there were 2 walks; 9 walked on an 8 mile circuit from Coanwood and crossed the River South Tyne under the 100 foot high 17 arch Lambley Viaduct.  Climbing the steps the route took them into the village of Lambley and passing the various cottages reached the open moorland of Lambley Common where several lapwings, curlew and snipe were seen as well as a lapwing chick hiding in plain view on the path.  Before crossing the Glendue Burn an adder was spotted sliding away into the long grass near the path.  Then it was onto Burnstones which was the turning point and a suitable place for lunch.  The return route was along the South Tyne Trail which used to be the railway line between Haltwhistle and Alston.  On reaching the Lambley Viaduct the route took the group downwards below the viaduct and then up the steps on the other side to reach to top of the viaduct and enjoy the views.  Shortly after the viaduct the start at Coanwood was reached.


The Threipmuir Round

The sun shone, the lark was ascendant and it felt as though spring had well and truly sprung for Biggar Ramblers on their walk in the Pentlands last week. Starting from the car park at Harlaw, near Balerno the walk got off to an easy and pleasant start alongside Harlaw and Threipmuir reservoirs. This was followed by a gradual ascent on good paths to Red Gate before leaving the main path to arrive on the top of Hare Hill.  A good point to stop for lunch as the 360° views took in the Pentland skyline to the south and the Forth bridges to the north. Duly refreshed, the party of 11 descended, steeply for a short while, to Green Cleugh. Here, some opted to follow a lower path above Threipmuir which returned them easily to the Harlaw visitor centre and time to spend in the delightful wildlife garden.  The remainder ascended the heather-clad slopes of Black Hill. More stunning views of Edinburgh and its surrounds were the reward. The path dropped gradually towards Dens Cleugh until the walk leader decided it would be a good idea to “cut out 2 sides of the triangle” and opted for a more, ahem, ‘direct’ descent to the glen path. A decision which proved more difficult in the implementation and for which he will take some time to be forgiven! Nevertheless, all safely reached the return path which crossed Threipmuir by way of a small dam and return to the cars. A walk that will live long in the memory for many reasons!

Monday, 15 April 2019

On Sunday March 31st a group of 14 BIggar Ramblers walked around Harrowhope, near Stobo.  This was a easy 7-mile route, starting from Stobo Village Hall, passing Stobo Home Farm   (lots of lambs) and following the Easton Burn to Harrowhope Cottage (now a ruin) where a coffee break was taken. After this the walk contoured the Harrow Hope.  This always feels a happy valley, little walked, very tranquil, almost serene; a place to be walked slowly and savoured.  Most of the time, apart from the merry chatter of ramblers, the only sounds were from a chorus of skylarks.  A slow lunch was eaten at a spot which looked over the River Tweed towards Dead Wife’s Grave on the opposite hills;  this had been the destination of a previous outing by Biggar Ramblers on March 3rd.  The weather was, until the final section, near perfect, with wall-to-wall sunshine, and this fed in the general mood of well-being.  The walk was led by Bernard Airlie. 
The next walk by BIggar Ramblers is on Thursday April 11th at Balerno. 

Sunday, 10 March 2019

It was a beautiful spring day on Wednesday 27th February when the Biggar Ramblers met on the Lower Green in West Linton to walk to West Water Reservoir. On the way up Medwyn Road we stopped to look at a plaque in a wall which says "This dyke was the work of James Fleming, West Linton, 1948." This was of particular interest to them as the daughter of James Fleming was until very recently a member of the Biggar Ramblers.
They walked past West Linton Golf Club on what was an old drove road and admired the pigs and Hebridean sheep which can be seen in the fields to the right. They turned left over the cattle grid and got a really good view of hills all around but Medick hill dominated the view. Shortly they arrived at West Water Reservoir. The water level was quite low. In the mid 1990s seasonal drops in the water level revealed a 4,000 year old Bronze Age burial ground. Finds from the graves included food vessels,flint tools, a bronze awl and a necklace made of lead beads -the earliest evidence for the use of metallic lead in Britain. The stone burial costs were moved to a site on the edge of West Linton Golf Club. Many flocks of geese rest here overnight flying over West Linton in huge numbers like commuters. Today only a few geese could be seen on the far shore.
The Ramblers returned to the golf club along part of an old Roman road stopping to read the story boards at the present site of the costs.
They then enjoyed a lunch of soup and scones in the golf club where they were made very welcome after which they continued back to West Linton and the cars, thankfully all downhill.
Walk Leader: Lesley Glidden
Biggar Ramblers ‘ Walk on Sunday 3rd March in the Stobo area had a 
historical theme.The Walk began at Dawyck Mill Farm .From here the group 
climbed steadily up to 1400 feet. There were lovely views of the hills all 
around, and to Stobo Castle. On reaching Dead Wives Grave a coffee stop as 
taken. There is no grave here, but on the South Gate pillar is the 
inscription ‘Dead Wife’ . After the Battle of Philiphaugh at Selkirk in 1645 
many Irish soldiers in Montrose’s army and their women camp followers were 
slaughtered . One woman was found by the wayside , this may be a memorial to 
her . The location of the Parish Boundaries of Manor, Stobo and Drumelzier 
is also at this point. The walkers then descended in sunshine and wind to a 
larch wood, much lower down. Here they saw a well hidden stone plaque on a 
wall marking the site of a World War One Prisoner of War Camp. Her more than 
100 German prisoners from submarines were held captive. Their job was to 
fell trees for the trenches. In 1916, Clement Bryce Gunn (1860-1933) the 
Peebles doctor who visited the camp once a week noted that the  guards were 
much older and frailer than the prisoners. This was because all the fit 
young men were away at war. Afterwards, lunch was taken in brilliant 
sunshine before returning to the cars, watched by a line of curious cows ! 
This short 5 mile walk with 13 participants was led by Jan Airlie.

On Saturday 23rd February a group of 17 members of Biggar Ramblers had an enjoyable walk in unseasonally warm weather in the Clyde valley. We set off from Crossword village car park and turned onto a steep woodland path running up the Nethan gorge to spectacular views of the valley and the impressive ruins of Craignethen Castle. Once past the castle we walked along a dismantled rail track, past the village of Netherburn, before heading down a picturesque road to cross the Clyde at Rosebank bridge. We lunched in bright sunshine by the Clyde before walking back along the Clyde Walkway through Milton Lockart estate and on to Crossword. The total walk of 9.2 miles was completed just before the weather broke and we were able to head home tired, happy and dry.

On Thursday 14th February seven Biggar Ramblers met for a short afternoon 
walk at The Mount. This forested hill near Skirling  has a number of paths 
and tracks that provide potential for good exploration. The chosen route 
weaved it's way through the trees to the secluded top of the hill where 
there is a lovely clearing and cairn of stones accumulated by the intrepid 
few who locate this spot. Evidence suggests that deer are the most frequent 
visitors here.  Coulter Fell, Tinto, Broomy Law and The Broughton Heights 
can be glimpsed through the trees. After lingering for a while the group 
took another obscure route back down to the main circular path. It had been 
only three miles in duration but a good sense of exploration was had by all!

On 30th January, on a cold, dry, sunny afternoon, 8 Ramblers, including a visitor from Kirkliston, set off for a short winter walk: the Hillridge Circular. This is a great walk for those who like an amble around the north-western fringes of Biggar, taking in grand views on part of the signed route to Biggar Common. The sky was full of grey wintry clouds with the occasional sunny glow on the snow still lying on the farm tracks, fields and hills around. The advantage of the cold was that the muddy section was solid and the ice on the puddles thick enough to resist a fair weight! We saw fox tracks and hare prints in the snow as we moved away from the farm and there was a gorse bush in flower beside the road as we came back into the town! 
Biggar Ramblers Walk Report – Saturday 26th January 2019
On a dull and grey Saturday morning, a group of 13 Biggar Ramblers set off from Glasgow Central Station to explore the murals of Glasgow with Lynn Weir. They headed initially past George Square and the City Chambers heading for the murals at Strathclyde University. Unfortunately, the very first one – “Hip Hop Marionettes” had disappeared with the demolition of the building where it was situated, but such is the nature of the murals that some are transient. The 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 were still on other Strathclyde University buildings. This then brought us to a new mural at the junction with the High Street – a stunning one depicting St Enoch cradling Glasgow’s founder St Mungo with a robin perched on her hand in a modern depiction of the 6th century icons. A short detour up the High Street showed another favourite entitled “St Mungo”, also including a couple of robins. Heading for Candleriggs and Merchant City was a huge mural called “Fellow Glasgow Residents” depicting the varied wildlife of Glasgow parks throughout the four seasons. Every time you look at it you notice another detail or a different animal. The next short detour along the Trongate brought them to the first of the three murals of the Big Yin (Billy Connelly) before retracing their steps past the Panopticon Music Hall where Stan Laurel had performed to see the second mural featuring Billy Connolly 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 along with the recent mural above it celebrating Charles Rennie Macintosh’s 150th birthday. By now it was raining heavily so it was a quick walk along the banks of the Clyde to observe one of the original murals which has now been re-worked – “The Glasgow Tiger Mural” and up onto Osborne Street to view the third Billy Connolly mural. Opinion was divided on which was the most life like and recognisable as the Big Yin. It was then back into the city centre to see “The World’s Most Economical Taxi” where the artist had painted the wall to look like a brick wall, “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” “Wind Power” which was very cleverly depicted using a dandelion clock and wind turbines, and lastly another early mural – “Glasgow’s Panda”. As it was still raining heavily and showing no signs of letting up the decision was taken to leave the second half of the walk for a better day later in the year when we could take our time to enjoy them and see them at their best. 

Biggar Ramblers
On Thursday 17th January the Biggar Ramblers group walk was around Portmore Loch.  Starting at the Scots Pine CafĂ© the group led by Brian Henry walked up past Portmore House then into the woodlands before a coffee stop beside the loch.  From there they saw mallards and cormorants on the water and a debate started regarding another bird which could be tufted ducks or golden eyes.  Walking around the loch mute swans and greylag geese which appear to have become resident could be seen.  After leaving the loch they then ascended to the leaders favourite viewpoint from which the hills off Dun Rig, Broad Law and Dollar Law to the South could be seen.  To the north the complete Pentland Hills ridge and Arthurs Seat in Edinburgh with East Lomond in Fife just visible on the horizon.  From the viewpoint the group walked into more woodlands to visit the Northshield Rings, a prehistoric hill fort before rejoining the forest track leading back to the start and lunch at the Horseshoe Inn. 

The first outing of BIggar Ramblers in 2019 was a six mile walk across Biggar Common.  There was obviously a need to burn off the festive calories as 20 walkers turned out for this walk, including one potential new member.  As it happened the cloud was a little too low for the best views to be seen, although the mist did clear a little on the return to BIggar.  It was also rather muddy in places.   Nonetheless the fresh air, exercise and good company made this a successful event.  The walk was led by Bernard Airlie. 

In dreadful conditions seven members of the Biggar Ramblers met at 1:00pm on Wednesday 28th November to walk The Old Drove Road from Skirling to Candymill. Fortunately the route was short and the strong wind and squalls were at their backs. The 'wind assisted' route took just an hour - but maybe it was the lure of the promised freshly baked scones at Candybank Steading that sped them along! Whatever it was, they arrived at their destination very wet and windswept where the calm of afternoon tea enabled a chance to catch up on conversations including debate on their wettest outings - this had been one of them!
Walk report: Thursday, 15th November

 The rains eased, clouds parted, the sky turned blue. The walk leader, however, was quickly disabused of any claims to being Ra, the Sun God, as Biggar Ramblers set off on a delightful November walk. Starting by the Tweed in Peebles, the group left the town by way of the playing fields before ascending the pleasant path leading up Janet’s Brae towards the Buzzard’s Nest car park. They pondered a while as to why the brae is named for Janet on the way up but Jenny on the way down. The views along the valley were spectacular. Skirting the car park they found the trail which descends towards the Glentress amenities. A sunny stop for lunch looking back over Peebles interrupted the descent before continuing to the path passing the remains of Horsburgh castle. Down to the banks of the river and a walk through the woods parallel to the railway path led eventually back to the town.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

On Wednesday 19th December, Biggar ramblers were delighted with their good fortune with regards to the weather for the last walk 2018. With blue skies and sunshine they met on the Manor Bridge near Peebles for the short circular walk to Lyne Station. The track was in good condition with very little mud and they made their way to Lyne where they stopped for a short break at the picnic table just before crossing the Tweed.
The walk before Christmas is also called the "Mince Pie" walk and here they enjoyed their Mince pies and coffee while the walk leader entertained them with a rendition of "Twas the Night Before Christmas" by Clement Clarke Moore ( just to get everyone in the mood for the upcoming festivities).
They then continued across the bridge where the river was very full and followed the track to Barns, here they stopped to look at the Peel Tower which is mentioned in John Buchan's book John Burnet of Barns. They also noted that snowdrops were already peeping through on the grass verges and in the woods. The track now continued down to the river and alongside the Tweed where they saw some ducks who seemed to be enjoying floating down the river at great speed in the fast flowing water. Then a few more minutes brought them back to Manor Bridge.
A short but very pleasant walk which everyone thoroughly enjoyed.
Sunday 14th November was a day of idyllic autumn weather when 11 members of Biggar Ramblers took to the local hills at Coulter. The morning part of thwack was totally uphill, steadily climbing from Coulter village past Turkey Hill and finally to the summit of Lamington Hill (1600ft). The walkers were rewarded with fine views all around. The vista over to Tinto was particularly splendid. Lunch was taken at the foot of Lamington Hill on the return leg. Then the return journey down Girdle Glen, and a short road walk back to the cars.
The leader of this enjoyable 7 mile walk was Jan Airlie
Eight hardy Ramblers braved the wet and windy weather on October 31st to walk to the Hammerhead at Broughton. The walk began at the little car park just beyond Broughton Place and proceeded, more or less, directly up on to Trahenna Hill. The route then turned north towards the Hammerhead with, fortunately, the wind and rain coming from behind. On Hammerhead itself the wind was ferocious but occasional specks of blue sky heralded some improvement in the weather. Once down on the John Buchan Way the wind and rain calmed a little in time for a quick lunch. This was only a short walk of about four miles, but it felt much longer.
It was led by bernard Airlie.
Three members of Biggar Ramblers travelled into Dumfries and Galloway on Saturday 27th Oct. to climb Moorbrock Hill. Moorbrock is one of the 89 Donalds and is the easiest to climb although the climb is more of an afternoon amble with a steady continual ascent on a well defined track. Starting from the Water of Ken the group walked up to the cottages of Moorbrock Estate and then continued up to the base of Green Hill. The direct route to the top was ignored and the track continued to provide an easy ascent. Then a track took the group up round the north side of Green Hill to reach the flat top of Moorbrock. It was level going after that to reach the single stone which indicated the top of Moorbrock. Brian henry led the group and his walks are claimed to be wet and windy but on this occasion a clear blue sky was appreciated. From the top the nearby Donalds Cairnsmore of Carsphairn, Windy Standard, Alhang, Blacklorg and Blackcraig Hill were very clear. The visibility was clear enough to identify the Striding Arches on Benbrack, Colt and Bail Hills. On the walk the group encountered buzzards, jays, ramblings, a hare and 3 deer. The route back to the Water of Ken was by the ascent route.
A small group of eight left the Water of Leith Centre for the start of the walk which was by bus to Haymarket. Between the station and Mandala Crescent time was taken for a coffee stop before continuing past the side of the former Donaldson's College to access the long steps down to the river path. There was one short detour because of a previous landslip at Dean village, a former milling area producing flour, before returning the path opposite Hawthorn Buildings and Well Court - housing for 19th century workers of the Scotsman. From there the path runs along a steep gorge under Dean bridge, past St George's Well and the larger St. Bernard's Well with its statue to Hygeia, goddess of Health and into Stockbridge.
Crossing the road here the path continues into Arboretum Avenue giving a view of the colonies - low cost 19th c housing for workers away from the pollution of the city. A stop for lunch before continuing along Rocheid path into Cannonmills and towards Warriston. Before the next diversion, because of road and bridge works, the group took time visit the ScottishPoppy factory and were given a guided tour of the premises,meeting many of the workers and their dogs and making a contribution by purchasing the 1918 special poppy and some their other products . Continuing through the large housing development on the former Powderhall Stadium and crossing the modern foot bridge the walk continued beyond Bennington once the boundary between Edinburgh and Leith. Soon Leith was reached with many of the former buildings now converted to restaurants and housing but their use still marked by many information signs. Completion of the walk was at the whaling harpoon at their end of the port before returning to choose a place for are and coffee or tea. Two buses were needed to return to where the cars were parked and this took some time due to the route and the use city.