Sunday, 12 January 2020

The first outing of the New Year for the Biggar Ramblers was on Sunday the 5th January. Led by John Hart. The weather didn't seem too promising nevertheless ten hardy members met up to help burn off some of the festive excesses! The walk was billed as a short winter hill walk, the hill selected was the Hammerhead from Broughton Place. With the wind behind them it was a pleasant challenge. The mist lifted as they negotiated the initially steep ascent revealing tremendous views of the surrounding Southern Uplands. After hunkering down to a perfect, sheltered hollow near the summit for some refreshment they headed back to the car park on the John Buchan Way. Just as billed a short but rewarding winter challenge enjoyed by all.
Walk at New Lanark led by John Hart
On 12/12/19 twenty members of the Biggar Ramblers met up for their annual pre Christmas get together at New Lanark. The occasion was the hotel's lovely evening of carols and Christmas dinner. An afternoon walk preceded this up to the Falls of Clyde. All the recent rain made this a spectacular event, Corra Linn was thundering due to the sheer volume of cascading water. They continued as far as Bonnington Linn where the dam takes off the water to feed Scotland's original hydroelectric power station. The water in these upper falls was equally dramatic. What a privilege to have such a spectacular talk on our doorstep. They returned to New Lanark as the light was failing with appetites primed for the events ahead.
Camps Reservoir is a lovely remote walk near Crawford. On Sunday 24/11 thirteen Biggar Ramblers met to circumnavigate the reservoir on the well maintained access track. They were fortunate with the weather for although there was low cloud covering the surrounding hills it was very still. The water surface provided perfect dramatic reflections. The route which was six miles proved just right for this time of year. They were back before the light began to fail and before the onset of some persistent drizzle that had been threatening since they left Biggar. We have great local walks at all times if year - check our web site if you are interested in joining us.
Thirteen Ramblers from Biggar enjoyed a most interesting walk exploring Douglas Estate. The walk began in the village centre and continued down the Main Street, passing the memorial to James Gavin, a tailor who had his ears cut off because he supported the Covenanters and was later banished to Barbados, and the Church with its unusual octagonal bell tower and clock donated to the village by Mary Queen of Scots and thought to be the oldest working clock in Scotland ( although it wasn't working on the day of the walk), and finally the Polish Memorial Garden which brought together three Polish memorials from 1940 which had lain in and around the village.

Further on in the Estate grounds, Stable Lake was quite placid and very attractive and the memorial which commemorates the disbanding of the Cameronian Regiment in 1968 offered a moment of reflection and a photo opportunity. Nearby, the only remaining tower of Castle Douglas, which had been re-named Castle Dangerous by Sir Walter Scott in his book of the same name, stood as a lonely reminder of past times.

The trail soon entered woodland where the Group was mesmerised by a forester in the distance operating a huge machine which grabbed a tree,cut it down, stripped the side branches and cut it into lengths all in one continuous movement. Otherwise the woodland walk was quite peaceful, although a little muddy underfoot. Leaving the woods the Group crossed the playing fields to admire the striking statue of young James Douglas, Earl of Angus, who had originally raised the Cameronian Regiment as part of the British Army in 1689 and was sadly killed only three years later, aged 21, at the Battle of Steinkirk ( Flanders).

Finally, the Group enjoyed a first class lunch at the Scrib Tree Cafe in Douglas village centre.

The walk was 4 miles led by Bernard Airlie
The short walk-on November 14th was over a local hill, Quothquan Law, 1100 feet. This hill is often overlooked in favour of more challenging climbs such as Tinto. It was a perfect autumn morning with wall to wall sunshine. A short road walk from near Boat Bridge, Thankerton, provided a warm up session whilst admiring the local scenery. The approach route to the Law began in Cormiston Road at a farm track. The final ascent was very steep, and managed slowly. The rewards were significant, blue sky, brilliant sunshine and a 360 degrees vista. Snow could be seen on the mountains to the north, including Ben Lomond. Quothquan Law means pointed hill, derived from Celtic. There are hut circles at the top. It was probably occupied in 3,500 B.C. or before by Iron Age Tribes. It has never been excavated. After short coffee break the descent was taken back to Sheildhill Road and the parked cars. The final stretch was very muddy, and at times difficult to negotiate. However the small group of six really enjoyed the three mile walk and continued to Tinto Tea Rooms for a delicious snack lunch. The walk leader was Jan Airlie.
On Saturday a group of 6 members of Biggar Ramblers had an enjoyable walk in crisp but sunny conditions in the Pentland Hills. We set off from the little Hamlet of Silverburn and followed the Old Kirk Road, a path that hardy parishioners would once have taken to church in Penicuik. We climbed up along the side of Scald Law before crossing a col and descending down towards Loganlea Reservoir. We then walked along the side of the reservoir and down the valley along an access road before crossing the burn and climbing back up  the side of Turnhouse Hill. To complete our circuit we joined a path which wound across the lower slopes of Carnethy Hill, where we were able to stop for sandwiches and enjoy fantastic views across the Forth and back to the Southern Uplands, before descending gradually to our start point. A great winter walk.