In Edinburgh for a few days for work and some Edinburgh Festival stuff. Too much kulture is a bit overwhelming though so I fancied a day out in the hills. Knowing very little about the Borders hills, I contacted my old pal and Borders dweller Woodcarver Ian (toilet seats a speciality) for suggestions. As always with Ian, things were never simple but finally we managed to arrange to meet in Peebles for a day walk around the local hills.
After a visit to Greggs, we drove for a couple of miles out of time and set off at Crookston Farm up the glen towards Preston Law aiming for Hundleshope Heights. There are no paths marked on the OS map but the path is obvious once you get to the farm. The weather was mostly cloudy but we had good views over Peebles as the path gained height.
The weather was great for walking – high clouds with blinks of sun and not too hot. As we got a bit higher, we found some blaeberries and then unusual (to me) plants with red and green leaves that Ian thought were cloudberries. I’d never seen these before but shortly after we spotted a few orange berries. These were fine to eat – a wee bit seedy and tasting like redcurrants. Scandinavians make jams and cordials from them but I doubt if it’s possible to pick enough in Scotland to do this.
The path ran out and we set off through the thick heather talking about older hillwalker things – kids, growing vegetables and how we used to be fitter. The thick heather was tiring but it soon thinned when we got higher and it was a fine high walk with good views of about a mile or so to the summit of Hundleshope Heights.
Lunch on the summit where Ian demonstrated his knowledge of the Borders hills by identifying lots of them. Then we headed on a circular route towards Broom Hill, Stob Law, Glenrath Hill and ended up on Canada Hill. The track came and went but the walking on short heather was easy and dry. The landscape was a patchwork of colours as we looked over Cademuir Hill towards Edinburgh.
We contoured round to pick up a path leading to Hundleshope Farm (where we admired a classic old Porche) then followed the road back to the car.
I had preconceptions of the Borders Hills as rather dull lumps but this was a fine wee walk with some great views and good company. And our feet stayed dry all day.