Today’s stunning guest picture comes from our son Tony in East Wemyss. He took it this morning looking out over the Firth of Forth.
We didn’t even have a glimpse of sunshine here today. It was a uniformly grey day from start to finish, with the only variety being provided by additional rain which started at lunchtime.
This wasn’t a perfect day for a guided tour of the moor, but after meeting at the Kilngreen, five walkers and three marshals were driven up to the car park at the top of the hill, and we assembled there, suitably dressed for the conditions. Mike Tinker, the walk leader can be seen indicating our route. (The fifth walker was taking the picture.)
To our great delight, we were met by a piper . . .
. . . who led the us off on the start of our journey, playing a 6/8 march which he had composed in honour of the community purchase of the land.
He took us to the top of the hill, and then we turned off to walk along the ridge to the left. We would have enjoyed the views . . .
. . . on both sides of the ridge . . .
. . . if we could have seen them.
Instead we looked at old gates . . .
. . . and neatly built walls . . .
Going along the ridge was a bit of a slog, with dips and rises on a rough path to negotiate before we got to the trig point on Hog Fell at over 1200ft.
Then we dropped down over some even rougher ground to the col between Hog Fell and Auldshiels Hill, just on the 1000ft contour. We were still well in the low cloud, and it was quiet, gloomy and slightly eerie as we came to the wall.
Luckily, a fine stile had been put up by the Langholm Walks Group to help us on our way . . .
. . . and John took advantage of it to get a commanding view of the surrounding terrain.
We crossed the head waters of the Duncan Sike, and battled along the faintest of paths among the tussocks to get to the forestry track that leads down the hill to the road along the Tarras Water. After three miles of heavy going, it was good to have a solid surface to walk along.
On the down side, it started to rain as we reached the bridge across the river.
We walked along the road beside the river into both wind and rain, buoyed up the promise of a sit down to eat our lunch when we got to the end of the road.
In spite of the rain, we remained remarkably cheerful and the walkers chatted away as we went along.
After a brief stop for lunch (in the rain), we crossed the Tarras Water . . .
. . . and walked up the road back towards the White Yett where we had started our tour.
We soon turned off the road and took the track to Middlemoss. I had seen the wild goats here on my last walk a couple of days ago but they were not to be seen today, so I took a view from the road . . .
. . . and then we pressed on and took the track that leads across the moor into the valley of the Little Tarras. The path we were following on this section was sometimes more an act of faith than a clear track . . .
. . . but our leader Mike lead us unerringly to the footbridge that spans the Little Tarras Water.
There we had a pause . . .
. . . before tackling the steep climb up to the road.
There is a neat sheepfold near the bridge.
We were very pleased to get back to the car park after nine miles of hard walking in unfriendly conditions, but I had thoroughly enjoyed the walk all the same. I have been meaning to do this walk for some years, so it was very good to have a guided tour to show me the way. I am grateful to Mike.
I will certainly do it again now that I know it as there was lot to see even without any views. There was fungus on all sides . . .
. . . plants, mosses and lichens . . .
. . . and more lichens, heather and webs.
If we get a fine day soon, I will go back and try to do the walk photographic justice. This definitely was not a good day for taking pictures.
To make a good walk even better, we were provided with tea, scones and tray bakes when we got back to the town.
No flying bird of the day today but one of the walkers did spot a very soggy kestrel sitting on top of a telegraph pole.