Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Four Marilyns between Moffatt and Berwick

Walk summary
Looking NE along flooded Ettrick Water
on way down from Cacra Hill
Woke up this morning at 5am and unable to get back to sleep.
For those of you that know me you may have an idea why I was awake. But rather than laying there dwelling I decided to get up early and make an early start on the move from Moffat Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Not because all objectives have been achieved, that did not happen because of the exceptionally wet weather, but because it was time to make my way east to meet Gina off the train in Alnmouth tomorrow.
Plan is to knock off the two Marilyns in Glen Ettrick I could not manage at the same time as Law Kneis & Ward Law last week. Then fit in as many of the surrounding Marilyns around Galashiels before heading to Berwick YHA.
Only managed Sell Moor Hill around Galashiels but that still brought the days total to three which was half as many as I managed during the eight days based in Moffat.

Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 08 December 2015
Walkers - Steve Smith

Accommodation - Berwick YHA
Start Point - 
Various. See maps below
Finish Point
 - Various. See maps below
Duration - 6hrs 07mins
Average pace - 2.10mph
Distance Walked - 9.66miles
Height Ascended - 736.83metres


Peaks visited
Munro (282)
NONE
Murdo (443)

NONE
Corbett (221)

NONE
Graham (224)

NONE
Marilyn (1218S - 1552E,W&S)

Turner Cleuch Law (57S - 179E,W&S)
Cacra Hill (58S - 180E,W&S)
Sell Moor Hill (59S - 181E,W&S)
Lamberton Hill [Ayton Hill] (60S - 182E,W&S)
Hump (2168S - 2976E,W&S)
Turner Cleuch Law (70S - 256E,W&S)
Cacra Hill (71S - 257E,W&S)
Sell Moor Hill (72S - 258E,W&S)
Lamberton Hill [Ayton Hill] (73S - 259E,W&S)
Donald Dewey (248)
NONE
S: Scotland. 
E,W&S:England,Wales & Scotland


Other walks on this trip
2015
November
25th Whitfell & Black Combe
26th Whitbarrow, Gummer's Howe & Top o'Selside
28th Dodd (Lorton)
29th Birkside & Hunt Laws
December
01st The Wiss
02nd Hods Law & surrounding Donald Deweys
03rd Law Kneis & Ward Law
06th Croft Head & Scaw'd Law
08th Four Marilyns between Moffatt and Berwick
10th The 100th English Marilyn

Walk Description
Turner Cleuch Law
Marilyn bagged and after only 50 minutes
back at van opposite Hartleap B&B

Click on photograph to view slide-show

GPX can be downloaded from

www.shareyouradventure.com
1.43miles, 231.99m ascent,  Start Time 08:59am, Finish Time 09:52am, 0 hours 53 minutes, 1.62 mph
The early start meant I was walking well before 09:00am, well one minute before.
   
Cacra Hill
Cacra Hill from the west
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GPX can be downloaded from
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5.08miles, 361.07m ascent,  Start Time 10:34am, Finish Time 12:38pm, 2 hours 04 minutes, 2.46 mph
By


Sell Moor Hill
Sell Moor Hill trig towards Windlestraw Law
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GPX can be downloaded from
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1.89miles, 91.12m ascent,  Start Time 14:56pm, Finish Time 15:50pm, 0 hours 54 minutes, 2.10 mph
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Lamberton Hill [Ayton Hill]
Lamberton Hill [Ayton Hill] from Habchester hill fort ramparts
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GPX can be downloaded from
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1.26miles, 52.65m ascent,  Start Time 11:46am, Finish Time 12:31pm, 0 hours 45 minutes, 1.68 mph
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Sunday, 6 December 2015

Croft Head & Scaw'd Fell

Walk Summary
Hart Fell from Yadburgh Hill
Almost to the day, this time last year, following a walk around Dulyn reservoir that went more or less exactly as planned I remember thinking "...maybe I am getting the hang of this hill walking malarky". Well this year - today's walk went even better than planned. Even though I could not get to the walk start point at Selcoth Fish Farm due to the A702 being blocked by flood water, following a night of rain and the after effects of Storm Desmond that had devastated Keswick, Glennridding as well as other large areas of the Lake District and Cumbria.
Opting not to drive through flood water of an unknown depth and turning back towards Moffat I decided to fall back on a route I had also planned but had abandoned due to the weather and lost walking days during this trip.
The route was what was now the isolated Marilyn Scaw'd Fell, due to it being bypassed on a walk earlier this year to Capel Fell. It was this familiarity that enable the walk to go even better than planned.

Other walks on this trip
2015
November
25th Whitfell & Black Combe
26th Whitbarrow, Gummer's Howe & Top o'Selside
28th Dodd (Lorton)
29th Birkside & Hunt Laws
December
01st The Wiss
02nd Hods Law & surrounding Donald Deweys
03rd Law Kneis & Ward Law
06th Croft Head & Scaw'd Law
08th Four Marilyns between Moffatt and Berwick
10th The 100th English Marilyn

Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 06 December 2015
Walkers - Steve Smith

Accommodation - Moffat Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Start Point - Off road parking near bridge over River Moffat on road to Craigbeck (GR - NT10651 04301)
Start Time - 09:56
Finish Point
 - Off road parking near bridge over River Moffat on road to Craigbeck (GR - NT10651 04301)
Finish Time - 16:03
Duration - 6hrs 07mins
Average pace - 2.04mph
Distance Walked - 12.49miles
Height Ascended - 1031.61metres


Peaks visited
Munro (282)
NONE
Murdo (443)

NONE
Corbett (221)

NONE
Graham (224)

Croft Head (2)
Marilyn (1218S - 1552E,W&S)

Croft Head (55S - 177E,W&S)
Scaw'd Fell (56S - 178E,W&S)
Hump (2168S - 2976E,W&S)

Croft Head (68S - 254E,W&S)
Scaw'd Fell (69S - 255E,W&S)
Donald Dewey (248)
Scaw'd Fell (13)
S: Scotland. 
E,W&S:England,Wales & Scotland


Route
GPX can be downloaded from www.shareyouradventure.com

Walk Description
Looking across at Craigmichen Scar and Selcoth Burn below
from Croft Head ascent
Parking at the same spot used back in January to climb Capel Fell near the bridge over the River Moffat on the road to Craigbeck, then setting off along the Soutern Upland Way, it did not take me long to realise I could extend the days impromptu route and include the original days first Marilyn - Croft Head as part of the days route. The planned route was already 9½ miles but unlike previous days the weather was dry and because of the bad weather I was well rested so  had no hesitation to carry on past the turn off to Scaw'd Law below Allan's Craig, along the already familiar SUW around Birch Hill following Wamphrey Water to the col between Croft Head and West Knowe. I had already seen the path from this point up Cats Shoulder on the way to Capel Fell earlier in the year, so the plan was to take this route up to Croft Head summit, then back along the same route to the Scaw'd Fell turn off passed earlier.
Steep descent down Allan's Craig from Gateshaw Rig
Studying the map more closely I noticed a ridge walk to Gateshaw Rig and steep descent down Allan's Craig back to the SUW making a very pleasant circular route, thereby avoiding the backtrack along the SUW. The ridge walk is in fact an alternative high level option to the SUW, providing a fine view of the SUW below and a walk of faith from Gateshaw Rig towards what looks like an edge over Allan's Craig. Turns out it is not a climb or even a scramble down but very steep descent requiring care through thick wet heather and scrub.
After a quick bite and drink I finally started heading up the forest track towards Scaw'd Fell and looking for the sharp turn back into woods that would take me towards Coombe Cairn.
From Coomb Cairn you can see Scaw'd Fell summit off to the left, but the best route is to continue on the shallow ascent to the fence then turn sharp left, following the fence all the way to Scaw'd Fell summit.
With both the days Marilyns bagged and with at least 3 hours of daylight left instead of heading back along the fence I decided to drop lower to the east and follow the fence down Logan Gail. From the fence corner I could see Yadburgh Hill in all its splendour.
Bathed in afternoon winter sunshine,
steep descent then reascent to Yadburgh Hill
Bathed in winter afternoon sunshine bisected by thick pine forest on one side, the other golden yellow grass with it's full 74m prominence obvious and ascent route clear along the forest boundary. I know it is only a TUMP but it is on the way to Big Hill and who knows it may save a return visit. Not that I am bothering with TUMPs!
Anyway after summit photos time to press on to Big Hill. Continuing the descent along the forest boundary I was looking to turn right in to the forest down a boundary track just before the 424 spot height. Instead I found the forest had been cleared and it was a case of picking a way through the tree stumps until finding the forest track  on the NW side of Yadburgh Hill that would take me back towards the SUW behind Craigbeck Hope.
Following this to the sheepfold on the east side of Big Hill I had the choice of carrying on to the SUW and home or turning up hill and in to the forest to pick off Big Hill. Well surprise surprise I opted for the hill. Not an easy find because hill-bagging only had it as a 6 figure grid reference and as it had only been visited by 3 other people so far, hence no obvious or worn path to the summit.
Big Hill summit near small clearing within thick plantation,
difficult to focus in fading light
Having reached the 6 figure grid reference in a small clearing it was obvious there was higher ground to the NE. Only problem was it was within densly packed trees. Well I am not coming all this way to not finish the job and found the high point as best I could. I did take a photo but because of the fading light and poor light due to the tree canopy the summit photo was somewhat out of focus. The descent route via a compass bearing to the north again through dense pine forest until reaching the SUW along which I walked early, leaving only 40 minutes of easy downhill walking back to the van.
A most satisfying day. At 12½ miles would be the longest walk of the trip but more importantly an extra Marilyn that I will not have to do on a later visit when I will be able to head straight for West Knowe along Selcoth Burn rather than up Croft Head first.


More Photographs
Scaw'd Fell summit near fence from cairn to the SW
Click on photograph to view slide-show

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Law Kneis & Ward Law

Walk summary
Heading up Ward Law, into the wind and wet driving snow
Four Marilyns around Ettrick excluding Ettrick Pen
Planned to do all 4 in one day based in Ettrick but decided to attempt from Moffat on a day when rain forecast by 11.
Set off still hoping to do all 4 but be satisfied with 3. Would save the shortest, Turner Cleuch Law, at 1.44 miles until last so not too much of an issue even if raining and getting dark.
During first walk up Knies Law rain was holding off conditions ideal for walking - cool and cloudy with clear summits so had thoughts about doing all 4. By finish of walk had it had begun to rain and I was well and truly soaked, so quick change into dry clothes in van as well as bowl of hot soup would prepare me for the next walk up Ward Law.
The rain continued during drive to Scabcleuch Farm and it was at this point with the extended lunch to get warm and dry I began to think 4 Marilyns for the day was a tad ambitious.
By the end of the 02nd walk and nearly 6 miles walked rather than the planned 4 miles, walking the final mile in torrential rain along road from James Hogg Memorial back to van I abandoned any idea of a third walk and the days 3rd Marilyn - 2 soakings in one day is enough for anyone, especially when it is nearly 5pm and the last of the daylight has disappeared.
Peaks visited
Munro (282)
NONE
Murdo (443)

NONE
Corbett (221)

NONE
Graham (224)

NONE
Marilyn (1218S - 1552E,W&S)

Kneis Law (53S - 175E,W&S)
Ward Law (54S - 176E,W&S)
Hump (2168S - 2976E,W&S)

Kneis Law (66S - 252E,W&S)
Ward Law (67S - 253E,W&S)
Donald Dewey (248)
Ward Law (12)
S: Scotland. 
E,W&S:England,Wales & Scotland


Other walks on this trip
2015
November
25th Whitfell & Black Combe
26th Whitbarrow, Gummer's Howe & Top o'Selside
28th Dodd (Lorton)
29th Birkside & Hunt Laws
December
01st The Wiss
02nd Hods Law & surrounding Donald Deweys
03rd Law Kneis & Ward Law
06th Croft Head & Scaw'd Law
08th Four Marilyns between Moffatt and Berwick
10th The 100th English Marilyn

Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 03 December 2015
Walkers - Steve Smith

Accommodation
 -  Moffat Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Start Point - Various. See maps below

Finish Point Various. See maps below
Total Duration - 4hrs 46mins 
Overall Average pace - 2.01mph
Total Distance Walked - 9.57 miles
Total Height Ascended - 907.40 metres

Law Kneis
Wedder Law half way up Law Kneis
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GPX can be downloaded from
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4.07 miles, 449.67m ascent.
Start point was as planned opposite convenient footbridge just south of Deephope, however with lack of marked tracks due to forest harvesting at lower levels it would really have been better access to the lower forest track by driving slightly further past Angecroft Cottages and parking in marked car park at NT27990 13067. 
Heading straight up through the harvested forest to reach the higher track below Deephope Hill I still managed to pick the wrong forest track which took me to the south of Gateclough Hill rather than the north. Once mistake was realised it was a sharp turn left through forest and up to fence along which Law Kneis summit can be found adjacent to a lone juvenile tree on the south side of the forest boundary. Route home was via Mountcommon Hill. Only a TUMP but one which had not been logged on hill-bagging before so off I heads south west down hill towards the 426m spot height then up the boggy firebreak to the unmarked summit at the junction of another firebreak which happens to be a much steeper descent to the forest track.
Once again did not find forest break to take me down to lower track so retraced ascent route below Deephope Hill back to van.
Ward Law
Ward Law summit. A worthy cairn
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GPX can be downloaded from
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5.50 miles, 457.73m ascent. 
A straight forward and easy to navigate start up the Southern Upland Way from Scabcluech Farm as far as Shiel Sike where there is an easy crossing of Scabcleuch Burn in spite of it being quite fast flowing and full due to the increasing rain. On the way to Ward Law I decided to pick off Craig Law, again only a TUMP but hard to ignore as it was so close, even though rain was getting heavy driven by a strong back wind.
From there it was a descent and crossing of Clark Sike and following Clark Cleuch north until a suitable crossing point was found.
From there head uphill and east until reaching the fence which you can handrail to the right to find the summit and Jubilee Cairn.
A worthy cairn that was worth photographing in spite of the difficulty making the touch screen work in the driving snow which was now about ankle deep at 500m.
It was also getting dark and time I was off the hill. Plan was to retrace footsteps and go back the way i Came but without visiting Craig Hill again.
Plan was revised when the driving snow forced me off bearing further south than planned resulting in me taking the longer but by now easier route following Kirk Burn towards Ettrick.
Due to it being dark I missed the crossing over Kirk Burn at Kirkburn House and ended up reaching the road near the school east of the James Hogg memorial and a long walk back to the van in pouring rain.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Hods Hill & 3 surronding Donald Deweys

Walk Summary
Follow fence down from Hods Hill
then reascend Mosshope Bank left & centre
A brief excursion out of Area 28 to tackle my first Marilyn in area 27. Hods Hill is really the only one in that area within driving distance of the trips base at Moffat Camping and Caravanning Club Site.
A brief excursion because it is just one day, but at 9.78 miles not so brief in distance compared to other walks on this trip.
As well as being a Marilyn, Hods Hill is also a Donald Dewey, but by walking an anti-clockwise route rather than the planned clockwise I was able to visit 2 extra Donald Deweys making 4 in total but also a 5th TUMP for just an extra 2 miles on top of the planned route.
Yet another example of how easy it is to lose the trips focus of Marilyns in area 28:The River Tweed to the English Border and to start gorging on the strawberry of the 60 Marilyns in area 27: South-West Scotland. But like the elephant of the 1556 Marilyns of Great Britain you have to start somewhere.
But why bother with Donald Deweys or even TUMPs?
Well you never know if you may start working on that list as well.

Other walks on this trip
2015
November
25th Whitfell & Black Combe
26th Whitbarrow, Gummer's Howe & Top o'Selside
28th Dodd (Lorton)
29th Birkside & Hunt Laws
December
01st The Wiss
02nd Hods Law & surrounding Donald Deweys
03rd Law Kneis & Ward Law
06th Croft Head & Scaw'd Law
08th Four Marilyns between Moffatt and Berwick
10th The 100th English Marilyn

Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 02 December 2015
Walkers - Steve Smith

Accommodation - Moffat Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Start Point - Small layby on B7076 opposite works access to A74(M) (GR - NT03420 12142)
Start Time - 12:08
Finish Point
 - Small layby on B7076 opposite works access to A74(M) (GR - NT03420 12142)
Finish Time - 16:35
Duration - 4hrs 27mins
Average pace - 2.20mph
Distance Walked - 9.78miles
Height Ascended - 664.69metres



Peaks visited
Munro (282)
NONE
Murdo (443)

NONE
Corbett (221)

NONE
Graham (224)

NONE
Marilyn (1218S - 1552E,W&S))

Hods Hill (52S - 174E,W&S)
Hump (2168S - 2976E,W&S)

Hods Hill (65S - 251E,W&S)
Donald Dewey (248)
Wintercleuch Hill (8)
Hods Hill (9)
Beld Knowe (10)
Mosshope Bank (11)
S: Scotland. 
E,W&S:England,Wales & Scotland


Route
GPX can be downloaded from www.shareyouradventure.com

Walk Description
The days unscheduled Donald Dewey - Beld Knowe.
It would be rude not to.
Gambling on the weather forecast being correct and that it really would stop raining by lunch time I set off just after midday in steady rain and was nearly put off at the first hurdle. Across the bridge over the fast flowing Harthope Burn I could see a lock and chain on the gate to Harthope House. Thinking about heading back to the van and looking for an alternative crossing I thought I would check the gate anyway.
Amazingly the lock clasp was not closed, so why not check with the house if it was OK to gain access to the planned route behind the house. Approaching the house all windows were open and it was obvious it was in the middle of a major renovation so maybe in the future this will not be a viable access route. 
Behind the house was a bridge over the main east coast rail line and access to the track heading uphill alongside Harthope Burn towards Wintercleuch Hill.
Weather refusing to follow script during approach to turbine 
on Wintercleuch Fell near the head of Glenthirston Burn
Not quite straight forward as the ford over the burn was in flood and after checking there was not a dry route over I quickly waded calf deep the 5 or 6 steps to the other side, managing to avoid any ingress of water over the top of my boots due to the tight wrapped new Alpine gaiters.
Continuing towards the left side of the wind farm on Wintercleuch Fell the weather seemed to ignore the improving forecast in the form of low cloud on the summit and almost obscuring the wind turbines I was using to keep me heading in the right direction. But by the time I was at turbine house near the summit the weather did improve allowing sight of Hods Hill and good visibility for the rest of the day.
Reaching  Hods Hill at 14:10 I could see the two extra unplanned Donald Deweys of Beld Knowe and Mosshope Bank and while I am not pursuing this list (yet) my strengthening peak bagging instincts would not allow me to ignore them with bright winter sunshine and at least two hours of daylight remaining.
Always satisfying to return to walk start/end point
after day alone in the hills with just enough daylight left
That is not to say I am losing my new found wisdom to not overdo things or losing focus on the trip objective of concentrating on Marilyns. The bad weather and lost walking days had allowed me to recover ensuring the extra miles would strengthen me rather than weaken or aggravate tired recently injured recovering muscles. Also there was not an option to do another Marilyn today.
By 15:50 I had visited both Donald Deweys and managed a return route over the TUMP Camping Hill. With daylight fading fast all I had to do now was head down hill and back to the van. Not a time for complacency or thinking the day is over because you can easily turn an ankle in these conditions. However after heading away from Harthope House 4 hours earlier, apart from the wind farm I had seen no other people or evidence of mankind. So crossing the final ridge and seeing the line of pylons and vehicle lights on the A74 is one of the most satisfyiing feelings and reasons why I enjoy hill walking so much 



More Photographs
On way down Wintercleuch Fell looking south towards the days Marilyn - Hods Hill
Click on photograph to view slide-show

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

The Wiss


Walk Summary
Looking south along Loch of the Lowes
from opposite Glen Cafe and walk start
After getting wet on three of the four walking days of the trip so far I was not disappointed to lose yesterday (Monday) to a scheduled rest/kit washing day, especially after the forecast on Sunday night was for 36 hours of rain. That would have given me until mid morning today (Tuesday) for the rain to stop and give me plenty of daylight for a moderate walk after a lie in this morning.
Well by midday it was still raining and my resolve to go out whatever the weather was weakening. By 13:00 it looked like it had stopped raining in Moffat, so less than 3 hours of  daylight left by the time I start walking.
Nearly didn't bother to go out but decided to set off for Loch of the Lowes car park about 40 minutes drive away along the A708, to do the 3¾ mile planned route up The Wiss. 
Really pleased I made the effort even though there was not a lot to see from the inside of a cloud.
Only disappointment was that I was within 200m of the summit of Nether Hill and did not realise it was a TUMP. I know only a TUMP, a list that I am not bothering with, but can't help feeling disappointment to be that close and not tick it off. Yep sad I know, but that is how it is.

Other walks on this trip
2015
November
25th Whitfell & Black Combe
26th Whitbarrow, Gummer's Howe & Top o'Selside
28th Dodd (Lorton)
29th Birkside & Hunt Laws
December
01st The Wiss
02nd Hods Law & surrounding Donald Deweys
03rd Law Kneis & Ward Law
06th Croft Head & Scaw'd Law
08th Four Marilyns between Moffatt and Berwick
10th The 100th English Marilyn

Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 01 December 2015
Walkers - Steve Smith

Accommodation - Moffat Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Start Point - Parking o/s closed Glen Cafe (GR - NT07422 09000)
Start Time - 14:20
Finish Point
 - Parking o/s closed Glen Cafe (GR - NT07422 09000)
Finish Time - 16:03
Duration - 1hrs 43mins
Average pace - 2.42mph
Distance Walked - 4.16miles
Height Ascended - 393.49metres



Peaks visited
Munro (282)
NONE
Murdo (443)

NONE
Corbett (221)

Hart Fell (7)
Graham (224)

NONE
Marilyn (1218S - 1552E,W&S))

The Wiss (51S - 173E,W&S)
Hump (2168S - 2976E,W&S)

The Wiss (64S - 250E,W&S)
Donald Dewey (248)
The Wiss (7)
S: Scotland. 
E,W&S:England,Wales & Scotland


Route
GPX can be downloaded from www.shareyouradventure.com

Walk Description
On a clear day would expect to see the trig point
from gate SW of trig
Posting the summit photo on Social media with the title "Shot up The Wiss this afternoon" could have left me open to juvenile sniggers and comments, but of course I do not know anyone with that sense of humour. However think I will change it here as "Wizzed up The Wiss".
As mentioned above the "wizzing" and "shooting" was down to the last minute nature of this walk and as a consequence missing out on bagging Nether Hill, which of course I am not bothered about.
Straight forward enough walk and ideal in terms of distance and time for the lateness of the start time.
The plan was to gain Thirlestane Head after following the grass track round Nether Hill, then head line of sight for The Wiss summit, thereby following a partially different route up than down. Due to poor visibility there was no line of sight and had the visibility been OK reckon it would still have been better to head for the fence and follow March Sike up hill to a suitable crossing point then following the fence to the gate and fence junction near the trig and summit. The only problem is you will not manage any semblance of a circular walk, but what possible difference could that make

No views at all from the summit but the bonus of logging another trig point. Return route is back to the gate, turn left downhill along the fence, then cut across to the grass track back to the van.
Just before return to van I saw a statue near the Glen Cafe, that I had not noticed before, which turns out to be a memorial to James Hogg " The Etrick Shepherd". Never heard of him but apparently a big mate of Sir Walter Scott.

More Photographs
End of walk in site straight ahead in front of small clump of trees beyond Crosscleuch Farm and the Tibbie Shiels Inn
Click on photograph to view slide-show