Wednesday, April 16, 2014


I'm somewhat behind in blogging about recent walks. This was last month, setting out on a cold frosty morning. I had driven over to Boreland, and along a minor road to Waterhead. The plan was a circular walk, along some paths I'd not been over before.

This is the upper valley of the Dryfe Water. Here the river has eroded the bank, and I suspect the old path is soon to disappear.

Pleasant walking along this little used track. This would have been the original route into the farm of Macmaw. Now, with all the forestry roads, there are lots of options. 

High above the Dryfe valley, this is where Macmaw farm would have been. Little trace remains. I was on top of the hill in the distance looking over to here on May 2, 2009. How do I know? The evidence is here on the Geograph website! Where have these five years gone!

Up and down to go forward, into an area of clear fell.

The sun may have been beating down, but it hadn't made any impression on this ice!

This is a the Caple, a tributary of the Dryfe Water. On the map this area is marked as the 'Raven's Nest'. I love the names on the map hereabouts. There's 'Gudewives Hill', 'Seavy Sike', 'Sembletree Burn', and 'Saughty Gutter'. My way led around the side of 'Scoop Hill'!

The ax men have left this remnant.

I had noted this cairn marked on the map, and was delighted to find it still there. The view, roughly north west, gives an impression of what this whole area would have been like before the coming of the trees. Away in the distance - and I hesitate even to mention it - you can indeed see some wind turbines. Such is 'progress'.

It was a great place to stop, have a cup of coffee, and contemplate a fine view, on a splendid day. No extraneous sounds, other than the wind (a cold one - after all this was only the 24th of March), and the birds singing. The cairn is on the north west side of Scoop Hill. It has been there for a while. It is marked on the first Ordnance Survey map of the area, the 6 inch, published in 1861, as 'Shepherd's Cairn'. On the old map, but not on the new, there's another cairn similarly named. There's a story here, I'm sure.

But wait. In the distance there was the growl of a Tigercat working away, making short work of taking these trees down, stripping the branches and chopping the trunks to the required length. Fascinating to watch. Lots of other activity too, with two timber lorries being loaded nearby.

Now, I'm joining a track I've been on before. This is the road in to Finniegill and Dryfehead. I posted some pics of the latter here, and in the comments there was a a note that the derelict building might have a new life ahead of it. I heard recently that the Mountain Bothies Association had taken an interest, and I see that Dryfehead is now on their list, here. That's just brilliant news, and I look forward to walking in soon to see what the volunteers have done.

For me, I was headed in the other direction. This is looking south. The flat top hill away in the distance is Burnswark, with its interesting history.

Looking down to where I was early in the morning!

A little burn meanders down to join the Dryfe Water. And so did I, back to the car and a short drive home. It had been a good day. It was the first longish walk for me this year, and I had no ill effects the following days. So a big thank you again to the Rheumatology Department at Dumfries Royal!

Photos © Skip Cottage

1 comment:

  1. Bob - these walks of yours are truly wonderful . . I feel they would make a pretty excellent book actually. Thanks once again for uncovering the undiscovered countryside . . .