Thursday, 22 June 2017

Summer solstice

Mike and I decided to spend the summer solstice on our favourite beach, Ross Back Sands. The plan was simple, a walk in the Cheviots before heading for the beach. Having a hospital appointment in the morning meant a later start than normal. It was a straightforward walk starting in the Harthope valley up to Langlee Crags and back. A slight delay when a chappy took a purler over the handlebars of his bike.
A pleasant walk up the hill above the valley, chivied by a blustery wind. A wander around Langlee crags and a leisurely stop for lunch.
 There are several rocky outcrops in the area. A fascinating geological feature.
It was difficult to decide which one was actually the highest point, thus we visited them all.

We took a slightly circular route back to the car, passing through a herd of quite placid cows.
It was then on to Ross Back Sands. A bivi on the beach, is a wee bit different from the average bivi. A nylon tarp is still used However, anchoring in fine sand is a more difficult proposition. Currently I have been using a selection of sixteen inch, home made wooden stakes. The downside is that they are darned heavy. Extra guylines are also needed, beaches can be windy.

Using a gull wing tarp and the camo basha groundsheet as an extra side panel to protect from the wind.

We usually carry in at least six litres of water. For cooking a trangia is the best option. The snag is that they are bulky and not that light. Also added is a half litre of fuel. All in all, a fair bit of extra weight. Recently I laid hands on a stack of large bamboo poles. The idea is to split them, cut them in to eighteen inch lengths and use them as pegs.
Was awake before four in the morning and watched the gradual breaking of the new day. Even Mike was awake for the solstice morning!
A slightly slanted photo of the new day.
Mike went back to sleep. Unable to sleep, I went for a walk up the beach,
Later that morning we heard the ominous rumble of thunder. Snug under the tarp we watched the lightning and heavy rain as the storm passed through.
With the weather clearing, Mike went for a splash around in the sea. All I managed was a paddle. We where treated to seeing seals feeding and playing in the shallows. Arctic turns were very much in evidence.
All in all a lovely walk and beach bivi.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Innerleithen / Peebles

This was a walk in relation to a review Mike was doing on behalf of CAMRA. They had brought out a guide to various pub walks and Mike had agreed to review a couple of the walks.. Peebles is a fair trek just to do a walk, thus Mike suggested an overnight camp would be better.
With the car parked in Peebles we nipped on the bus down to Innerleithen. Heading out, our route took us through the grounds of Traquair House. Plenty of superb lawns, (ideal for backpacking tents!).
. A few folk were around but it was fairly quiet. Lucky was quite taken by the peacocks.

Heading up through the Glen, notices welcomed walkers to the estate. The route led us on to the Cross Border Drove Road. An ancient right of way. We were in no rush and, finding a suitable camp spot we stopped for the day.

A comfortable night, despite a few midges. Early morning rain saw us delaying our start a wee bit. Following the drove road, we headed uphill. Mike had a wee top to visit. Having been moving quite slow, I opted to guard the rucksacks! while he nipped up the hill. Coming around by Yellow Mire, heavy rain caught up with us. squally showers chivvied for the rest of our way.
.The old road is a delight to walk, leading us over Kirkhope Law and Kailzie Hill. a lovely undulating ridge with splendid views all round and Glensax below.
.All too soon we began to descend downwards to Peebles.
There is some fine walking to be had in the Peebles area. Rounded, rolling hills that invite the walker to come and explore.
There was one disconcerting thing though, the route we took was to review a walk given by CAMRA, but we never visited a pub?

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Kielder wander

A nice wee wander proposed by Mike. There was initially a tad bit of faffing due to car parks marked on the map now being closed. The forestry commision seemed determined to funnel all cars in to a specific car park. No doubt as a handy cash cow?
The day was dry and quite warm with a brisk wind. The walking  pleasant as we walked along a maze of forestry tracks.
Mike had a plan in place. It was his aim to bag a couple of tops that lurked somewhere in the forestry. . After a few forays in to dense closely knit phalanxes of prickly pine trees, we eventually won through.  The bleached bones of some other poor soul who had attempted to penetrate this dense mass, gave warning of the dire perils of our mission. Well, alright, that is exaggerating a wee bit! Mind, there was no clear route and we had to revert to Mike's gps to get us back out. Mike decided to give the second top a miss?
Taking a longer loop, we eventually came down by the Calvert Trust buildings. Another little bit of bushwhacking and we joined  paths that eventually led us back to the car park at Leaplish.
A pleasant day's walking. Mind, I am still finding pine needles around the flat. Pine needles down one's bra are very uncomfortable!