Sunday, 22 January 2017


What a fabulous weekend! Mary noticed the propitious forecast at the end of the week and so for Saturday we planned the 13mile Lammermuirs jaunt out to the turbines (or lighthouses as Mary called them) and back. We have taken to parking at the Hopes Reservoir side of things since the unwelcoming signs appeared at Blinkbonny Wood. Also the trails round the side of the reservoir are a more gradual climb towards Lammerlaw and the scenery reflecting in the deep blue waters can look fantastic. The air was cold in the shadow of the hills but we warmed up as we got higher and into the sunshine. 

A quick wave bye-bye this morning to this coffee filter machine we inherited from Ian and Emma when they left for America about a decade ago. We got it down from a cupboard recently and it worked after a fashion, producing something like a Falko's alternative (for days away from Gullane.) However it has been replaced with real beans, a grinder and percolator in stainless steel, all off the internet. 

A combination of caffeine and glorious weather (second Saturday running) produced quite a recital of 80s rock ballads from Mary who felt the need for quite a lot of Total Eclipse of the Heart. No idea where that came from and there were noticable gaps in the lyrics. Turn around something something get a little bit lonely and you're never coming round, etc. 

Mary had her own camera with her, but when we stopped to take some pics it reminded her she had left the sd card in her computer last time she uploaded pics. I had opted to take 2 cameras, just because, and Mary suggested since I had 2 sd cards I might give one to her. Putting the Hunter in Deerhunter. I relented. (I only took 10 photos on the compact. I took 402 on the G3 though.)

Mary had lost the strava record for this hill section and so we both made a concerted effort with no giggling or photos. I wasn't going to stop for photos but then saw the frost melting and sparkling in the sunlight and had to stop for a couple of pics on the ascent. And also the view back down the hill to the surrounding hills in the orange light was amazeballs. Much later Mary found out she won her record back, (2.5mins quicker than the competition!) which means hilariously that some girl will be getting an email from strava saying "hey loser....." I have no immediate plans to join strava.

Over the other side looking towards Lauder and the Eildons there was a misty fog hanging around in the valleys. There was considerably more over in Fife and down by the coast of the Forth later in the day but we got blue skies for the whole run.

Just down here there were 3 lady walkers with smiles on their faces, no doubt after 
hearing Mary whooping with delight as we cantered down the descent.

A while since M had been here and she had forgotten the long steep down and up the other side. There were several Barber-jacketed-hunting-types leaving the bothy as we went past but they were very cheerful and shouted hello. I watched them negotiate their 4x4s up the steep incline.

More sparkles. Mary was so impressed with the still calm air and noiseless surroundings she shot some video to record it. She swears I was stomping around in the background shouting 'arseholes!' when in fact it was 'sparkles'. Normally there might be a fair chance it was the former. 

We came upon this deep blue pond with a thin veneer of ice over the top. I took dozens of photos from this way and that trying to catch the essence of it but Mary took easily the best pic (of my reflection) (below).

photo Mary

Normally I use the screen on the back of the camera to judge pics but the glare of the sun was so strong I found myself using the electronic viewfinder, something I wouldn't normally bother with. I also really appreciated the flip out screen when holding the camera down at sparkle height, so you don't have to lie on the ground to see the potential pic. I was also enjoying M stopping to take pics. Normally she runs on while I stand trying to take the best shot. Then I have to run like a mental to catch up. Many occasions we were both stopped for 5mins taking photos. Beautiful day for it.

We had protein bars at the turbines and a drink of juice. 7 miles exactly.

photo Mary

plenty of grouse

When we got to this point we opted to do an extra summit - a quick hike up to Lammerlaw trig point. I was very pleased as it suggested M was enjoying the run as much as myself and was happy to add a couple of miles to take in the view over the Forth. We could see the low cloud that misted over all but the high tops of the Devil's Burden race in Fife. There was still quite a lot of power ballads in the air, which is not bad going, this late in the day.

bear at the fence?

Then back down and along the road up which we had come as the sun dropped lower and lit only the tops of the hills. What a fabulous day out. We got back to the Berlingo and since I had 15.9 miles on the watch I ran car park laps until it hit 16. (Actually I didn't notice 16 turning over and ran till 16.06. Just can't get enough!) I used to slag Mary off for stuff like that! We were both starving by now - all that fresh air - so drove to the coop in Gifford and stuffed ourselves with, I was going to say goodies but that would give the wrong impression, fairly healthy snacks, and some cheese. What a day!

Mary's account here

Mr Suunto must have heard my remarks.
Ascent and descent EXACTLY the SAME!

the rhino of the Lammermuirs

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