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.