Wednesday 24 April 2019

The Duchess's Drive Walk at Bowhill

It was only Tom, John, and myself today as the rest of the gang were otherwise engaged. The weather was not as good as it has been over Easter but it was dry and almost warm except on the top of the hills. John arrived from Edinburgh and Tom and I arrived at Bowhill at almost the same time. The Duchess's Drive is a 7 mile walk round Newark Hill. It follows the route of a Victorian Carriage Drive and is therefore an easy track underfoot and a gradual climb to almost 1600ft. 
The route up the hill is a gradual climb and therefore fairly easy for old men 
This stone seat is carved with the letters BQ which stand for The Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry, owner of the estate. Its a nice place to stop for a short rest.
We soon leave the forest and head onto open hillside with this photo taken looking back to the way we had come.

As we got higher the visibility was not as good. These are stone Grouse shooting buts on the side of the road looking over the moor. The last time we walked this route over 4 years ago there were loads of Grouse about but today we only saw one bird.
Tom has a practice shoot
Gaining height with plenty of Heather. We saw no Raptors unlike the Langholm Moor where there is always a good few Raptors at this time of the year. This of course is still a working Grouse Moor unlike Langholm which has not been shot for over 20 years. 
Plenty of good Heather
On our way down the other side of Newark Hill we stopped for a snack and just as we set of on our walk again we had a RAF Hercules Cargo plane fly past below us. 
The Hercules flying below us and just as Tom had stopped for a pee. There is no privacy these days.  
On the last leg of the walk we pass Newark Tower, built in 1423. In the Covenanter's Wars, 100 prisoners were slaughtered in the courtyard  
The Tower is all closed up now and I am delighted to see the it is the nesting place each year for a family of Barn Owls 
There are some lovely cottages in the grounds of Bowhill Estate 
Bowhill House
Our walk took just over 3 hours and we had completed 7.25 miles and climbed over 1300 ft.

Wednesday 10 April 2019

Lyneholm Moss Walk near Westerkirk

Despite a cold wind it was a perfect day for walking and we selected this route which included a couple of miles on the Castle O'er road from Enzieholm Bridge and then a forestry track over Lyneholm Moss and Hill. Finding new routes in this area is quite difficult as we have walked many of them before. This was our first visit to Lyneholm Moss. It was good to have Niall back after his winter in Australia. Unfortunately it was only 3 of us today as John is playing a Golf tie, David is in Barbados, and Tom is still recovering from the flu. It turned out to be an excellent walk through the forest.  
Near where we left the road to go into the forest is this summer house sitting next to a small pond. On a nice day it will be a perfect place to sit in the sun. 
The forestry road.
After the forestry section we came through a couple of fields and this stile which has seen better days.
A view over the Esk Valley
These guys were very curious but kept their distance 
More views over the Esk Valley 
Our map of the route walked. By walking the road section first it was a fairly easy climb over the first 2 miles and then the forestry section was mostly downhill. We met Tom after our walk and headed to Whitshiels Cafe where we had a splendid lunch in record quick time. 

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