The tour of the moor

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.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

33 thoughts on “The tour of the moor

  1. That is beautiful countryside, even in the rain and mist. I am glad you took the walk and shared the moor with readers. The bagpiper was a special treat!

  2. That looks like a great hike but I think I’d do it on a sunny day. I say that because it rained here today too and I’m feeling a bit waterlogged.
    That mushroom in the lower right corner of the six panel frame looks like one of the ink caps. I don’t see too many of those.
    I like the neat sheepfold. It makes me wonder if they found the stones there or if they had to carry them to that spot.

  3. Hmm…

    According to, a guided tour is one of the rewards for a silver level of donation to the buyout project. One wonders if this tour today might be somehow related.

    However, I think that this blog is worth far more than any financial contribution to the project. I have come to love this area, and hope to visit and see it for myself if the opportunity for international travel is ever reasonable in the future. I expect that I am not alone in my feeling. Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Tootlepedal, And to all the others who helped.

    1. I think that this was a consciousness raising event for locals rather than a treat for donors.

      I hope that you do come and visit our area. It would be nice to meet you.

  4. Old gates and stone walls are good enough for me. As my son is a piper, I particularly enjoyed the guest appearance of this one.

  5. Wonderful header picture. Glad you enjoyed the walk even under such depressing conditions and look forward to seeing your pictures when you do it again in better weather.

  6. Stunning guest picture.
    I much enjoyed the pictures of your magnificent walk, very atmospheric in the gloomy weather. A bonus to be played on your way by a piper.

  7. Beautiful report of the walk through “the moor”. The foggy and drizzly weather gave the walk an extra mysterious tinge. The company op the piper was a great extra.
    Happy Sunday and greetings,

  8. Dear ‘Tootlepedal’

    Back down south, passed through Langholm last month and only tried to contact you at the last moment so not surprised it was not achieved. Was hoping to say in person what an escape your notes and images have been over the last few years. Have visited friends in Kelso sporadically over a some 20 years and it has always been good to get to open skies and open country North of the border, just. We are South African/British so appreciate space. We made a detour round the east side of the Yorkshire moors deliberately to pass through Langholm and enjoyed the backroads South of Penrith. My daughter has just got her driver’s license and needed a longer drive. Also, I am a botanist and work at the RHS, Wisley, but am aways hoping to improve my local knowledge so I especially enjoy seeing what plants/fungi and other things turn up on your walks. My husband and I sing in a local amateur choir and we watch the birds in our garden too, perhaps not as much as you. Though we have had a pair of crows in a tall Conifer adjacent which fledged two young, one of which was weak and I found dead close to our local allotments. The remaing, a ‘muttering’ demanding teenager juvenile has just this week gone missing, I am not sure where.

    Anyway, just back from Sunday evening rehearsal. We are singing evensong at Southwark Cathedral next Saturday, so feeling too awake, read your story of the misty walk and decided it’s time to say thank you a bit more formally. It seems crazy to absorb almost every letter and never provide any feedback.

    Many thanks , your dedication is much appreciated and somehow comforting.

    KInd regards, and if you did want to visit Wisley Gardens I am based in the herbarium and would happily say hello.

    Best wishes,

    Saskia Harris

    1. Dear Saskia,

      I feel very guilty that we weren’t there to welcome you to the town (but we did get some good brambles on our excursion.) You message came as a surprise and I didn’t react to it as I should have done.

      If you get the chance to come again, let us know more in advance and we will offer you a warm welcome.

      You must sing in a better quality choir than us if you are singing evensong in Southwark Cathedral. I hope that it all goes to plan.

      My wife has been to Wisley once or twice and I think that I have been there too but we would certainly like to visit the gardens again if we get the chance.

      I was very touched by your kind words and I hope that I can continue to provide some interest from time to time.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: