Thursday 28 March 2013

Walk to Mayborough Henge & Penrith

Todays walk was a 10 mile circular starting at the village of Stainton and taking in The Mayborough Henge and then on to Penrith and back to Stainton. This is a brand new walkers bridge over the River Eamount. Although it was still very cold the weather was quite dry with only one short flurry of snow. Most of last weekends snow had disapeared from the fields but the sheltered areas at the sides of many fields still held deep snow drifts.

Shortly after leaving Stainton we came upon this line of trees with all this attached to them and someone had trimmed it to allow shelter for the animals. There was actually 6 trees in the line. I dont know what this is called but maybe Mr. Tootlepedal can help me with this.

The first part of the walk was along this lovely lane with dry stane dykes on either side and it certainly protected us from the wind.

Near Penrith we came upon this large raised circle called Mayborough Henge and I enclose details from the web site about it.  The vallum or enclosure is entirely composed of small water-worn stones taken from the beds of the Eamount or Eden rivers. The stones are wonderfully uniform in size, and just about what any man could carry without inconvenience. We are told there are 5 million stones in the building of it and it is about 2000 years old.
The standing stone in the middle of the Henge

In a park in Penrith is this statue called The Black Angel in memory of locals who lost their lives in the Boer War

Near the end of our walk we passed through a farm where there were a number of newborn lambs and this one came running towards the four of us. Must have been the Black Sheep in the family looking for the Black Sheep in our group, but on seeing Tom it soon ran off again.

Wednesday 20 March 2013

The Covenanters Grave on Martins Birthday Walk

Martin selected an 11 mile walk starting in West Linton and taking us up to about 1400ft and the Coventanters Grave. If the walk had been yesterday we would never have made it as there was a lot of snow and it had been a white out then. Today the weather was much better, but a biting cold east wind. We were joined by a another Ken who is a friend of Martin and Aileen's and he had been down for Martin's Birthday party and their 40th Wedding Anniversary party the night before. Gaye and I had been invited but unfortunately Gaye was called to Holy Orders playing the part of a Nun in LAODS show The Sound of Music so we missed it. We missed an excellent party and both of us wish them "a the best".
The walk was very difficult in places and the route from the Covenanters Grave back to the track was in deep snow with many dangerous drifts covering up ditches and holes. I fell twice and the others were much the same.
Also missing today was Peter who has the flu so we wish him a speedy recovery together with Elizabeth who is also unwell.
Unfortunately I left my camera in the car so these have been taken by my phone camera and they are not very good.

The Dry Stane Dike in the photograph shows how the snow was driving out of the East yesterday. Unfortunately at this time of day the light was not very good.

At this point we left the road to follow the path to the Covenanters Grave and the path had dissapeared but luckily we managed to follow the footsteps of another walker about 300 yards ahead of us. From the grave we should have turned and go back the way we had come but Martin suggested we head north and would eventually come to a service road for the water pipeline. Big Mistake. It was really tough and because I was leading the way I was the first to fall into a deep ditch that looked ok but it was a snowdrift. Luckily I was not hurt but got a bit of a fright so from then on we all took it very carefully and used our sticks to search for the ditches and hidden streams.
This eventually lead us to a steep valley and that caused more problems as it was quite slippy and again I fell but this time on my backside so as it has plenty padding I was ok.

Lunch at the end of the tough section.

Before we got back onto a proper service road we came upon this house called Medwynhead. It is boarded up but looks in good condition so maybe it is used during the summer. It is one of the most remote houses in the Borders and has no elecrticity or phone line. The garden shows signs of having been cultivated. If you want to get away from it all this is definately the place.
We made it back to the start having been away for over 5 hours and it was then into the Gordon Arms for soup and a Panini next to a roaring log fire.

Sunday 17 March 2013

Rotary Soup Kitchen in aid of "On Call Africa"

It was the Rotary Soup Kitchen this morning in aid of the Charity "On Call Africa" and we raised the magnificent sum of £1000. Leo looks at the choice of sweets with eager anticipation.

The Menger family enjoying their soup. Notice how Mario has a lovely black eye caused by an unfortunate accident on the Quayside, Newcastle on Friday evening when he fell of his bike while on the way home from work. He was carted away in an ambulance to the RVI but thank goodness no real damage was done and he should be back in the saddle soon.

President Mark with Past President Frankie and Vice President Tom

Dr. Simon Tolmie and Dr. Kirsty Luecher the Founders of "On Call Africa"
We were delighted they were able to attend and Dr. Luescher will be attending Langholm Rotary Club on Thursday to give the club an update on the work of the charity.

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Another River Esk Walk

As we all had meetings to attend at some time today we decided not to travel far for our weekly walk. John indicated he had never walked the River Esk from Canonbie to Langholm so we set off at 9.00am to Canonbie. It was cold but sunny so if wrapped up warm then a perfect day for this lovely walk. It is the intention of Langholm Walks Group to make this a way marked walk to add to the 14 already in our Langholm Walks Booklet. In my opinion it is the nicest walk in the area and will be a very popular walk with both visitors and the many locals who have never been on this part of the Esk before. The photograph above is Irving House in the distance. This is the most beautiful section of the walk with the path quite spectacular beside the river.

Irving House which is empty at the moment. It would make a fine Country House Hotel. This area in the front of the house used to be Tennis Courts.

Tom & John near Byreburn Cottages. The local Fishing Association have done great work in improving the river bank for fishers so let's hope they have an excellent fishing season which will begin in April.

This is the old walled garden at Irving House and is now rented by Ian Waldie for his garden vegetable business. He was clearing one of the walls to enable another Polly Tunnel to be built against the wall. It is good to see this old garden back in use again after all these years. 

Thursday 7 March 2013

Ploughed Fields near Kelso

It was a grey overcast day but the forecast said there would be no rain until about 5.00pm so Peter, Tom, and I set off for the village of Smailhome near Kelso and a meeting with John & Ken who were coming down from Edinburgh. We were setting out on an 8 mile circuit which would take in Smailhome Tower which you can see in the background above. It was 2 weeks since we had been in this Borders area when the ground had been so muddy we found it difficult to walk and our boots and clothes had been filthy. What a difference from part of the Southern Upland Way we had been on then. The ground was dry and in many of the fields the farmers had completed their spring ploughing. 

One of the many ploughed fields which will probably be planted with Barley. There is nothing nicer than a well ploughed field.

Smailhome Tower with a small loch in front of it. The building was in superb condition but it was closed until Easter so we never got to see inside.

A large boulder left after the Ice Age with loads of smaller boulders round about it.

A closer view of the Tower.

Peter and John beside yet another plowed field. It was a superb walk and it is great to get home and not need to clean my boots for the first time for many a long week.

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