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.