Sunday, 24 April 2022

On 26th March eight Biggar Ramblers tackled Broadlaw, a Corbett that is the highest summit in the Scottish Borders at 840 metres. The sunny weather promised a good day out and passing Talla Reservoir en route to the starting point at the Megget they were treated to a stunning reflection of the sheer side of Muckle Knowe in the calm water. From the Megget Stone, which is already at an altitude of 452 metres, the Ramblers enjoyed a gentle breeze as they climbed the steepish sections up to Cairn Law and the views opened out.

 

After passing between the two cairns, they continued following the fence as the route levelled out to some extent. After a fair stretch of walking on rough open moorland on the rounded top, the tip of a radio tower mast became visible over the horizon.  As the walkers came over the last rise, the trig point became visible, and, just beyond it, the radio tower, along with a white ‘UFO’ like structure. This ‘VOR beacon’ is the highest short-range radio navigation system for aircraft in the UK.

 

At this point the Ramblers were happy to find an old stone wall to provide improvised seating for lunch and a brief rest. They enjoyed the return route down as it offered the views that were behind on the way up: along the valley and over to Megget Reservoir and even a corner of St Mary’s Loch. A splendid 5 mile walk in spectacular countryside was enjoyed by all. www.biggarramblers.org.uk 

Saturday, 16 April 2022

 Five members of Biggar Ramblers braved the elements to  climb Culter Fell on 30th March. A horizontal snow shower greeted them as they arrived at the start point, but cleared as they began the steep ascent up Fell Shin passed the line of shooting butts. As the climb levelled off they took time for a short coffee break in the biting wind. As the group headed towards the first cairn the wind gathered pace and brought with it a hailstorm which cut into their faces. Visibility reduced but the path remained clear ahead, though the snow had drifted in pockets making progress with the bracing side wind quite challenging. Reaching the trig point (748m) after a little over 2 hours it was no place to linger in the cold. Besides the panoramic views theyd hoped to enjoy were hidden in cloud, mist and the continuing hail blizzard.


The team followed the fence line downwards south over Moss Law. Very quickly the sun appeared and lit up the snow capped peaks spectacularly behind and ahead of them. Lunch was taken when they reached the land rover track in the continuing sunshine, which remained with them as they followed the track alongside Culter reservoir back to the start point along King’s Beck. Despite the sun the temperature kept at or below freezing throughout the walk, but they were all well equipped for the conditions. The ramblers much enjoyed this challenging seven and a half mile circuit despite the wintry conditions on the fell, which is the highest peak in Lanarkshire. www.biggarramblers.org.uk

 Three members of Biggar Ramblers set out from the Glenochar car park to walk the circular route of Lousie Wood Law and Dun Law south of Abington. The weather at the start was wet and this

continued for a good bit with the wind increasing during the ascent of Coupland Gair. The weather
eased but the party soon entered the low cloud and it wasn’t until nearly at the summit of Lousie
Wood Law that the weather cleared to give views. From Lousie Wood law the route was over Black hill and into the steep descent of Little Windgate Hass and at last some shelter from the wind. A suitable spot or lunch. Then the ascent out of Little Windgate Hass and into the increased wind gusting at an estimated 40mph to reach the 2 nd summit, Dun Law. Descending over Kneesend and reaching the base of Dobbin the group walked out to Glenochar Bastle and Fermtoun Trail. This was created 25 years ago and a good number of bridges, walkways and handrails were put in to assist visitors to see around the area. Unfortunately there has been no maintenance and care was taken at each location and such facilities were avoided to ensure a safe return to the start. www.biggarramblers.org.uk

 Biggar Ramblers walked a circular route on the familiar territory of the Carmichael Estate recently.They knew to expect mud, deer, and a short but stiff climb to great views from the Monument. But this time, before they did the stiff climb, this 4 mile walk took in the Mausoleum on Kirkhill at the site of the old church. As they made their way up to the stand of trees, they were greeted by a stunning array of snow drops and daffodils almost out. The Mausoleum among the trees and shrubs on top contains a number of graves with inscriptions showing the historical range of postings the Carmichael family held in the past. A perfect resting place with lovely views.

The route then heads off for the stiff climb up the east side of Carmichael Hill which gave the walkers a windy battering. After coffee in the lea of trees near the top, the gusty winds made heading out to the Monument a challenge, but an achievement! They took the relatively short descent down the south western side of the hill to the estate road and through the trees towards the ruins of Carmichael House. There are sawn logs lying around as the clear up from the storm winds continues and it’s always quite spooky following the path through the trees past the pets’ graves, up what would have been the ‘ha-ha’ on the original lawns. Passing the house completed the circle and the group made their way back to the visitor centre to enjoy a welcome lunch in the refurbished Bistro! see www.biggarramblers.org.ukfor more info.

Sunday, 27 February 2022

Biggar Ramblers did something very different recently enjoying an evening walk for the first time as a group. Starting from Falkirk FC, they crossed into the Helix park walking through the landscaped park area and onto a boardwalk edged with reeds at the side of the wetland. They stopped at the colourful and reflective giant ring installation, then crossed the canal and onward into the woodlands. After a brief stop at the storytelling clearing, they walked on to the Love and Kisses sculpture where they learned a little of its history. The piece de resistance was the stunning Kelpies which were beautifully illuminated, again some historical background was given to the group before the walk ended back at Falkirk FC. A very interesting 6 mile walk. See www.biggarramblers.org.uk for more info.   . 

Keeping near to home, Biggar Ramblers did a 6 mile circular walk on 16th January out to Biggar Common. Starting from Burnbraes car park they headed up to Hillridge Farm and then followed the right of way over to Huntfield. Half way up the hill there’s a stile to climb and then the route heads over towards the plantation. It was a lovely sunny day and the views were splendid, opening out over to Black Mount, Broughton Heights, Cardon Hilll and Culter Fell. As they walked through these fields the walkers were very mindful of the livestock, especially since ewes are pregnant at this time of year. Once in the plantation, the route passed through the trees to a pond, coming back out to the open hill further west. Lunch was taken sitting on the edge of an old quarry, with views over to Tinto.  The walkers then went down the hill to the woods just north west of Langlees Farm and followed the road to Lindsaylands, back to Burnbraes via the Gas Works. This was a very enjoyable walk in weather totally unexpected for mid-January! www.biggarramblers.org.uk 

Monday, 31 January 2022

 On Wednesday 12th January 2022 twelve members of Biggar Ramblers gathered for a winter walk to explore the history of the closes in Lanark, many not having stopped before to read the information boards and enjoy the artwork. From the High Street the group then walked to New Lanark via Braxfield Road and The Beeches. A coffee break was enjoyed at the picnic benches in the village before taking the Clyde Valley Walkway to Castlebank Park and returning to the Town Centre. Contact www.biggarramblers.org 


 On Thursday 20th January a group of 10 members of Biggar Ramblers completed an undulating circular walk among the rounded hills above the Loch of the Lowes near Moffat. On a clear winter’s day with bright sunshine they started with a scenic drive to the start point past the Talla and Megget reservoirs. They walked from the car park near Tibbie Shiels Inn from where the group followed a section of the Southern Uplands Way along an old drove road which wound up the hillside past Earl’s Hill and into a sheltered valley. After a coffee stop near a burn and ruined shepherd’s cottage, they climbed up higher and along a grassy ridge on Pikestone Rig. Turning off the ridge, they descended on a winding path with spectacular views of the loch and surrounding hills.  lunch was by a pebble beach at the foot of the loch, before completing the walk by following the loch-side path back to the starting point. A great walk on a glorious day.Contact www.biggarramblers.org.uk



Monday, 17 January 2022

Biggar Ramblers first walk of 2022 was a 4mile ramble through
Motherwell’s Dalzell Estate and Barons Haugh RSPB nature reserve.
The ramble started from the icy carpark and wound through the historic
Dalzell Estate which has a fascinating history starting as a royal hunting
lodge in 843, owned by the Dalzell family until 1647 when it came into
the hands of the Hamilton family. The Estate then passed down through
successive generations of the Hamilton family until 1952 when the family
moved to Surrey. Later North Lanarkshire Council bought the estate and
in 1985 sold the house for just 1p! The walk took in several historical
features such as the Ha Ha (1724), curling pond, Japanese Garden,
arboretum, Lord Gavin’s Temple, and St Patrick’s Chapel.
The paths were very muddy, but the sun made an entrance and stayed
to help give good views as the walk went through a mix of parkland and
woodland perched on the banks of the River Clyde.
Continuing into the RSPB Baron’s Haugh which contains a variety of
habitats most notably wetland (the haughland), woodland, parkland and
riverside. Here several species of birds were spotted including tree
creeper, red wings and a peregrine falcon. The walk took in two of the
four hides situated around the haugh which gave spectacular views of a
variety of birds – grey wagtail, gadwall, moorhen, mute swan, goldeneye, greylag geese and grey heron. Everyone agreed a great way to start 2022. Contact www.biggarramblers.org.uk

 It is traditional for Biggar Ramblers that the last walk before Christmas is the mince pie walk. This year, on a fine sunny morning, 18 Ramblers did a circular walk from Manor Bridge, heading off along the old railway line. In parts the track was muddy and the old railway ballast made it rough underfoot, but after crossing Lyne Water and walking through Lyne Station they reached the picnic table. Here they enjoyed mince pies, Ecclefechan cakes and coffee, along with a seasonal rendition of ‘The Night Before Christmas’ from one of their number!

Much refreshed, they crossed the Tweed where the full river made it clear why there is no longer a ford at that point, though it is possible to trace the remains of a track leading up to Barns.  Once past the Tower, there were significant signs of storm damage to be seen among the trees along the Tweed Walk Way, though some of the replacement beech planting is coming on well.  On the river, quite a large family of ducks provided entertainment as they swam against the current and down with it by turns. All in all, a very pleasant morning walk in the sun. See www.biggarramblers.org.uk for more information.



One of Biggar Ramblers winter walks recently was to visit the Great Polish Map of Scotland at
Eddleston. The group of 10 started near the Scots Pine café outside Eddleston and walked to the
Barony Castle Hotel where the map is. After crossing the ‘ravine’ the group viewed the map from
the platform and spent time learning about the history of the map, of Sergeant Jan Tomasik and his

friend General Stanisław Maczek. Leaving the map, the walkers went up through the woods to reach the old post road for a coffee break. Then it was northwards along the old route past Hare laws. Leaving the Old Post Road onto the farm road to Darnhall Mains the group were afforded a clear view of Dundreich, a hill climbed recently by the group. From the farm it was a short and easy route back to the start and the end of a short but interesting 4 mile walk. Contact www.biggarramblers.co.uk 

 Although the visibility was poor there were 8 of us on the walk on Wednesday. The views of the gorge and the castle were taken the week before on my recce with Phil when the view was clearer. Phil was on a plane to Australia when we walked this week. Five of us had lunch at the Tillietudlem Inn at the end of the walk. 

The rain was falling really heavily when seven ramblers met at Strathaven on 31 October. They were doing a four-mile circular walk leaving Strathaven and going by country lanes to Sandford. Fortunately, the rain had abated by the time they stopped for elevenses at Sandford. Being Hallow'een, one of the group members was suitably hatted and had brought a Hallow'een treat all There were lots of leaves afoot but still plenty left on the trees to give a spectacular show. The heavy rain showed the Spectacle E'e  falls at their finest. The river was swollen but it had not overflown and they were able to walk along the side of the Kype water until reaching the bridge just beyond where the Kype and Avon meet. From there it was a short walk up the field to climb a stile on to the pavement taking them back to Strathaven. Contact www.biggarramblers.org.uk

 

Despite heavy rain during the night and early morning 6 ramblers met at Dunsyre to walk to the Covenanter's grave. Before the walk started they heard about the drawing up of the National Covenant in 1638 which led to violent unrest for most of the 17th century, Dunsyre was a great covenanting area.

They started the walk near the cultivation terraces on the road to Easton Farm and followed the farm track crossing two very deep and fast flowing fords to the base of Black Law. Before climbing the hill they heard of a Covenanter fleeing from the Battle of Rullion Green near Penicuik in November of 1666. He was badly wounded but managed to make his way to the hills around Dunsyre. He was found by Adam Sanderson, a shepherd. Knowing he was dying the covenanter asked the shepherd to bury him in sight of the Ayrshire hills. Sanderson carried out the covenanter's wishes and erected a stone which is now in Blackmount Church. The present stone was erected in 1841.( More Village Trails by Rosemary Turpie)

Until now the weather had been very pleasant and they were rewarded with fantastic views but as they started climbing the hill the wind and rain set in. They had a brief visit to the stone

The spot is atmospheric in any weather but the moors and hills around them were very bleak in the wind and rain and made them appreciate the covenanters efforts and unfortunately they could not see the Ayrshire hills.

They headed back down the hill and found several grouse butts which gave welcome shelter while they had a brief lunch by which time the rain was passed. They returned to the cars by the same track and managed to finish the walk before the rain set in in earnest. A very enjoyable walk of about 8miles. Contact www.biggarramblers.org.uk


 Biggar Ramblers met on Saturday 23 rd October to walk 8 miles starting at the village of Wanlockhead..The weather throughout the day was misty over the tops of the hills with occasional rain showers and high winds. The group of eight walked on the Southern Upland Way past the mine workings in Meadowfoot before crossing the bridge over Wanlock Waters, then made their ascent up a steep rough, muddy grass path to the open flat moorlands above with its excellent views of the rolling country hills. The weather did not keep the occasional group of runners from making their way past the walkers along the rough and at times isolated path, which was once home to the Covenanters, with its forests and valleys and majestic hills of the SUW from St John’s Town of Dalry to Moffat. After stopping to cheer and clap the runners to encourage them on their way the ramblers continued along the path which eventually led them down to the ruins of Goghead farm before turning off from the main SUW path and onto the circular path which would take them back to the start of the walk. Here they had the chance to look for the Kists with their treasure hoard, a minted coin or token. The Kists are made to blend into the environment and can be found around a metre or so from the path, they are to be found in each of the thirteen sections of the SUW. Each of the walkers were delighted with a coin, and then went back onto the track to find somewhere sheltered out of the wind for lunch, after this it was back to the starting point on an undulating track. Contact www.biggarramblers.org.uk

 17 members of Biggar Ramblers walked seven miles of the John Buchan Way from Stobo to Broughton in October, a day that started as a delightfully bright Autumn morning. The special feature of this walk is that it passes through three valleys: Harrow Hope, Stobo Hope and Broughton Hope. At the top of the ridge between each one, there is a dramatic change of view into the next valley. There are gentle climbs and descents, unveiling wonderful countryside, without the challenge of scaling an individual peak. There’s a remarkable hexagonal sheepfold just below Hopehead Rig. The only drawback on this occasion was that the weather closed in as the morning wore on. The walkers were walking into stronger winds, especially between Hammerhead and Brooomyside. It must have been the windiest lunch spot this year, where the gusts whipped the coffee out of our cups! Nevertheless, they kept up a good pace and all returned well pleased with the walk. Contact www.biggarramblers.org.uk for more information.