Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Annual General Meeting will be on Thursday 26th February 2015

We will hold our AGM on Thursday 26th February 2015 between 14:00 and 16:00. The venue is the Royal Over-Seas League, 100 Princes Street, Edinburgh. Notice of the AGM has been sent to all members (either by email or post). This includes the Agenda for the meeting and Chairman's Report on 2014. It also includes details of how to book for the event and the cost. Please note that replies should be received by Friday 20th February.

If you have notice of the event, please send and email to the mailbox at sl.pensioners.association@gmail.com giving you name and postal code, so that I can check that hold the correct email and postal address information for you, thanks.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Strollers Walk No. 190 - Thursday 19th February 2015, Moray Estate to West End

Walk Number 190:     Historic Walk - West End, Moray Estate to  Stockbridge

On Thursday 19th February, fifty five Strollers met outside West Register House in Charlotte Square for the February History Walk led by our Blue Badge Guides Karen and Helen. It was a bright sunny day with a bit of a wind but thankfully none of the rain that was forecast. West Register House used to be St George’s Church and was a key feature of James Craig’s plan for the west-end of Edinburgh New Town.
We were enlightened on the set up of Charlotte Square and how the perfect symmetry of the new-town plan could not be completed beyond the north-west corner of the square because it bordered on to land owned by the Earl of Moray. We were also reminded about the ‘glass’ tax, not the ‘window’ tax that we tend to assume it was. The extent of the Moray Estate was explained to us and that Lord Moray demolished Drumsheugh House, his home there, because he felt that the ‘New Town’ was encroaching on his space. Something I’m sure the rest of us can only aspire to.
We made our way down to St Colme Street discussing the merits of ‘cobbles’ or ‘sets’ in the road and the pavement being made up of chips of stone from building work at Edinburgh Castle. There we took time to look at the monument to Catherine Sinclair, 4th daughter of Sir John Sinclair, who wrote children's books and did a lot of charitable work. The monument is modelled on Sir Walter Scott’s monument in its Gothic design but is also known as an Eleanor Cross after the crosses erected by Edward I to mark the journey of the body of his wife Eleanor back to London. There are three Eleanor Crosses remaining, the most famous being that at Charing Cross.
From here we made our way down Weymss Place, passing Gloucester Lane, which also used to be know as Kirk Lane as the people from Stockbridge used to come up this way to go to St George’s Church. We then entered the streets that were developed as “The Moray Feu” via Forres Street, arriving at Moray Place. The majority of the streets are either named after the Moray family or places from his country estates, e.g. Forres Street, Doune Terrace and Randolph Place. We went into the private gardens in the centre of Moray Place, which gave us a better perspective to see the size, scale and shape of Moray Place. Our guide had managed to obtain a key to these gardens. We learned that the street is built in the shape of decahedron, having 10 sides and that the plans for the whole estate were drawn up by James Gillespie Graham. The land was sold in plots to different builders but the exterior of each feu had to match that of the plans. The potential purchasers were also strictly vetted for “suitability”. We then had to beat a hasty retreat from the private gardens when one of the members of the Moray Feu management people asked who gave us permission to be there!
The Earl himself lived in number 28 for a few years but then moved out. Some of the buildings were used as hospitals during the Second World War. One of the houses also belongs to the queen, and was presented to her by a former Lord Provost in the 1950’s. Lord Reith who was head of the BBC lived there for a short while until his death in 1971. Today the current Earl of Moray is involved in building a ‘new town’ of 5000 houses called Tornagrain, between Inverness and Nairn.
From Doune Terrace we then went into the gardens below the outside of Moray Place and Ainslie Place to work our way down the Water of Leith. We stopped to look at the series of arches that had to be built after a landslide, in order to keep Ainslie Place from falling down the slope into the river. The arches go for some 30 feet under the gardens of the houses.
We continued down to St Bernard’s Well on the Water of Leith, built in 1760. The well was named after an old legend that St Bernard of Clairvaux once lived in a cave nearby. The waters of the well were held in high repute for their medicinal qualities, and the nobility and gentry took summer quarters in the valley to drink deep draughts of the water and take the country air. In 1788 Lord Gardenstone, a wealthy Court of Session judge who thought he had benefited from the mineral spring, commissioned Alexander Nasmyth to design a new pump room. The builder John Wilson began work in 1789. It is in the shape of a circular Greek temple supported by ten tall Doric order columns with a statue of Hygieia, the Greek goddess of health, in the centre made in 1791 from Coade stone. The wonderful mosaic interior is by Thomas Bonnar. St Bernard's F.C., a once successful Scottish team but now defunct, was named after the famous well and played in Stockbridge.
From there we looked across the river to the houses built by the artist Henry Raeburn including Anne Street named after his wife. We can dream. We ended our walk at Stockbridge.

Our thanks again to Karen and Helen for all the information we enjoyed during the walk. We may even remember some of it!

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Strollers Walk No. 189: Tuesday 20th January 2015, Historic Walk down Royal Mile

Walk No. 189:   Historic Walk - Royal Mile, Edinburgh
Date:                 Tuesday 20th January 2015
Start Time:        10:45 a.m.
On a very cold but bright sunny day with no wind and dry underfoot, sixty Strollers turned out well wrapped up for the January History Walk led by our Blue Badge Guides Karen and Helen. We met outside John Knox’s House in the Royal Mile where we started the walk by hearing a bit about the location of the mistresses of Deacon Brodie (at least 3 plus his wife) and how one led to his downfall. We then sneaked down the Close to the back of the house to hear all about Patrick Geddes. He was born in Ballater, went to school in Perthshire and then came to Edinburgh University to study Botany. He dropped out after a week but continued to study in London and Paris and in 1890 came back to Edinburgh when appointed assistant in Practical Botany for the University based at the Royal Botanics. He promoted the idea of ‘green space’ in towns for the health benefits and you can still see these open spaces and gardens down the closes of Edinburgh today. He also promoted ‘learning by doing’ and arranged for the school children to be involved in growing their own vegetables (sounds familiar). He arranged many exhibitions and travelled extensively promoting his ideas and being involved in planning towns from Jerusalem to Colombo in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). He lived in India from 1917 to 1924 when for health reasons he moved to the South of France until his death in 1932.
We then crossed the street to Tweeddale Close where the house of Dame Margaret Kerr was. This subsequently became the Head Office of the British Linen Bank which led to robbery and murder. It then became a printers and home to the Poetry Society. Sheds for Sedan Chairs still exists in Tweeddale Close. It was then off down to Chessels Court, purpose built flats dating from 1748, and where at one time the Customs and Excise had rooms which Deacon Brodie robbed. It was this last robbery which ultimately led to his downfall after fleeing to Flanders. Here we heard about the tale of Andrew Gray, who fled Edinburgh after being sentenced to death for rioting, went to Morocco and returned many years later as a sea-captain. He saved the Lord Provost’s daughter from the plague, later married her and they lived in a house on the Royal Mile near where a statue of
a Moorish man can be seen above the door.
Next we went into Sugarhouse Close, originally a sugar refinery then a brewery but now student accommodation, and then Bakehouse Close to hear about the origins of Bovril. It was time for some warmth, so Karen had arranged access to Old Moray House, dating from 1618 and built for Mary Countess of Home, now part of the University. The interior ceilings and walls still remain as they were intended and were beautiful to look at and admire. The house was also used by Cromwell when in Edinburgh. The balcony overlooking the Royal Mile only had its railing added in 1842 so that no one would fall on Queen Victoria as she passed by in her carriage. It must have been a precarious vantage point before that.
Leaving there we went up to visit the Lodge Canongate Kilwinning number 2 in St John Street where Sandy gave us a talk on the history of the Lodge and its prominent members like Robert Burns. It is the oldest continually used Lodge in the world and one that was built specifically for that purpose in 1735, though the Lodge dates from around 1677. It was a lovely building with some of our attendees getting caught out by the 3D style paintings on the wall, and all were impressed by the Sneltzer Organ dating from 1757 and still powered by hand today. We then had a brief stop outside the Museum of Edinburgh to hear about the number of brothels that used to exist on the Royal Mile (lots), where the age expectancy of the people who worked there was only 30, and to look at the sea shells in the side of the buildings put there to ward off witches. We then crossed over to Dunbar Close to see another example of gardens that Geddes had arranged, and site of a bar that Rabbie Burns used to frequent.
Finally, at the foot of the Royal Mile we heard a story about conspiracy, murder and execution involving a wife, her maid and butler. With a cunning that would please current ‘soap’ writers, the ‘lady’ was beheaded by the ‘maiden’, Edinburgh’s version of the guillotine, while her maid was burnt on the Castle Hill at the same time to divert attention from the other execution. The butler was eventually caught and sentenced to death on the wrack, which was normally only used for interrogations. The judge was obviously a friend of the murdered husband.

Our thanks again to Karen, Helen and Sandy for all the information we enjoyed on the walk.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Strollers Walks - Dates for 2015

Here is the schedule of dates planned for Strollers Walks in 2015:

20/01/2015  Tuesday          Historic Walk in Royal Mile / Canongate, Edinburgh
19/02/2015  Thursday         Historic Walk - Moray Estate, New Town, Edinburgh
18/03/2015  Wednesday    Dechmont / Bangour, West Lothian
23/04/2015  Thursday
18/05/2015  Monday
24/06/2015  Wednesday
21/07/2015  Tuesday
20/08/2015  Thursday
21/09/2015  Monday
20/10/2015  Tuesday
18/11/2015  Wednesday
03/12/2015  Thursday   Christmas Lunch

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Strollers Christmas Lunch: Thursday 4th December 2014

The Strollers Christmas Lunch was held on Thursday 4th December in the Royal Scots Club in Abercrombie Place, Edinburgh. Over 80 Strollers (in number, not in age) attended what was a very good lunch, preceded by mingling and drinks in the bar. After we were piped into the meal by our very own pipe major, Alex, it was time to pull the crackers, laugh at the silly jokes and don the paper hats.
A few glasses of wine or a soft drink to accompany the beautiful beef, turkey, sea bass or vegetarian dish helped the flow of talk round the tables, with mints as well as mince pies to go with the coffee at the end.
Time then for the Strollers Minstrels to take to the stage and give us a rendition of songs from the past 100 years, and to get audience participation with some of the old favourites. It's amazing how good you think you are after a glass of wine or two and how some people remembered the songs from when they were originally released on gramophones!
After a quick quiz on films and music to finish with, it was time to retire to the bar and plan next year.
 
A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone and all the best for Strolling in 2015.
Many thanks to Drew for organising our lunch and for coordinating all the walks in 2014.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Theatre Group - Programme for early 2015 and Booking Arrangements

The Theatre Group sub-committee have arranged a programme of matinee shows for the first half of 2015 at The King's Theatre and The Festival Theatre, Edinburgh. Details are being circulated to Association members who have expressed interest in the Theatre Group.
Emails have gone out today and letters (for those not on email) will follow shortly.


Please note that booking forms need to be returned by Friday 12th December 2014.

The shows planned are:
Romeo and Juliet, Festival Theatre, Saturday 28 February 2015 at 2:30pm
The Producers, Festival Theatre, Thursday 26 March 2015 at 2:30pm
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Festival Theatre, Thursday 30 April 2015 at 2:30pm
Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense, King's Theatre, Wednesday 13 May 2015 at 2:30pm
 

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Strollers Walk No. 187: Wednesday 19th November - Holyrood Park

Date:             Wednesday 19th November 2014
Start Time:    11:00a.m.
Distance:       4 miles
Duration:       3.0 hours
 
Nineteen Strollers met at the Commonwealth Pool to enjoy a walk round Holyrood Park. The weather was a bit grey but thankfully there was no rain until we were back at the Pool at the end of the walk. In fact it was quite mild on the walk with no wind, almost balmy for November.
The walk was like a figure of eight starting off along the Radical Road, back up Hunters Bog, round to Dunsapie Loch and then via the Innocent Railway back to the start. 
At the start of the Radical Road it looked like a Dutch get together with lots of people in bright orange suits and hard hats, but they were studying the geological make up of the Salisbury Crags.
Following in the footsteps of the geologist  James Hutton, and Harold Raeburn the mountaineer we made our way down the Radical Road to St Katherines Well. The road is called that as it was built by Radicals from the Dumfries area after a suggestion from Sir Walter Scott.  From there we headed up through Hunters Bog, site of early settlement and an iron age fort, but also the hunting ground of the kings and queens, hence its name. Also used by the Romans and Bonnie Prince Charlie's army, it was also partly flooded by Mary Queen of Scots to hold a birthday party for a lady in waiting and recreating a sea battle off Leith. It is now home to rare plants like adders tongue fern.
We then set off round the road in the direction of Dunsapie Loch. Much of the current layout of the park was created by Prince Albert when he arranged for drainage work to be done and the roads to be put in so people could access the park easier. Dunsapie Loch as well as St Margarets Loch were created at that time. At the base of Arthurs Seat you can still see the outlines of the terraces used for farming by the early settlers. From here we then went down over 200 steps to Duddingston Village, not as sprightly as the joggers who passed us, and past the the famous Sheep Heid Inn. Scene of many a skittles match.
From there we made our way down to the Innocent Railway, site of the Edinburgh and Dalkeith Railway, opened in July 1831, originally as a horse-drawn tramway built to haul agricultural produce and coal from the mines of Lothian up to the Edinburgh at St Leonards, it was Edinburgh's first railway line. At 517 metres, the Innocent Railway tunnel under Holyrood Park is an impressive one, particularly when you consider it was the first railway tunnel in the UK. Before 1845, trains were winched by cable drawn by horse and stationary steam engines up the St Leonard's Inclined Plane.
Avoiding the tunnel some of us went back to the Commonwealth Pool for some well deserved refreshment while others went off to the Engine Shed.
 
Dates for the 2015 walks will be sent out soon.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Strollers Walk No. 186: Braid Hills, Blackford Hill, Hermitage of Braid on Tuesday 21st October 2014

Date:            Tuesday 21st October 2014
Start Time:   11:00
Distance:     A circular walk of 3.5 miles, approximately
Duration:      2 hours, approximately
Start at:        Braid Hills Hotel, 134 Braid Road, Edinburgh, EH10 6JD
Ignoring the weather forecast for heavy rain and gale force winds twenty three Strollers gathered at the Braid Hills Hotel for coffee and biscuits on what turned out to be a bright sunny day.  Thankfully the weather front had settled elsewhere and so all was fair for a walk round the Braids, Blackford Hill and through the Hermitage of Braid.
Setting off along Braid Road and on to the bridle path skirting the Braids golf course, waiting for stragglers who can’t tie shoe laces, skipping over puddles and avoiding the trail markers left by the horses it was time to cross the road to head down the Lang Linn path to Hermitage of Braid.
Crossing the Braid Burn we climbed the path up towards Blackford Hill, an early factor 5 on the puffometer, and followed it round above the allotments and Blackford pond. Stopping here to allow the more leisurely to catch up and make a choice of continuing on or taking the lower route back to the start. Ian passed on information here which was obviously interesting as we gained the attention of a little dog who was all ears as Ian spoke.
From here it was up again, skirting the Royal Observatory Edinburgh building, built here in 1896 with support from the Earl of Crawford who gifted his library and equipment from his own Aberdeenshire observatory. The Royal Observatory Edinburgh has been in existence since 1786 and is still highly regarded in the world of astronomy today.
Blackford Hill itself being one of the ‘7’ hills of Edinburgh with its typical volcanic shape of crag and tail. Coming back round the hill to rejoin the path just above the Braid Burn we headed back down the path to the burn and along to past the Hermitage of Braid, built in 1785, and now a visitor centre.

From here it was along the path and back up the hill to the Braid Hills Hotel and time for a quick lunch before heading home.

Thanks to Ian K********** for arranging the weather to be so nice and for arranging the walk.  

Here’s hoping November will be as nice!

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Strollers Walk No. 185, Aberdour to Burntisland, Monday 22nd September 2014

Walk No. 185:    Aberdour to Burnisland - part of the Fife Coastal Path
Date:            Monday 22nd September 2014
Start at:       Aberdour Rail Station Car Park
Finish at:      Burntisland Main Street
Meet at:      11:00 a.m.
Distance:     4.5 miles approximately
Duration:     2.5 hours approximately

Well, 21 of us turned up at Aberdour Station this morning to set off on the Fife Coastal Path to Burntisland. It was a pleasant morning, with the weather clearing as we went. We headed down the road towards Aberdour Harbour then walked round to climb the steps up onto Hawkcraig point (site of a previous war-time installation called HMS Tarlair). We the descended to Silver Sands beach for a break at the excellent cafe (best scones yet, says Alec). The path then followed the railway line until we reached the modern housing on the outskirts of Burntisland. We continued right on through the town into the High Street, where we dispersed for various travel options, bus, or train, or pub lunch, or whatever.
Thanks to Isobel for organising this walk for us.
For more information on the Fife Coastal Path, see their website at http://www.fifecoastalpath.co.uk/.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Theatre Group - Christmas Pantomime 2014

This year's pantomime is Aladdin at the King's Theatre, Edinburgh. We have made a provisional booking for the Matinee Performance on Thursday 11th December 2014. Details of how to book have been sent out to members who have expressed interest in the Theatre Group. If any other members wish details, please contact our mailbox at sl.pensioners.association@gmail.com and I will send the details to you.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Outing on Monday 8th September 2014 to Perth Racecourse

The fifth and final summer coach outing was to the Scotland Food & Drink Race Day at Perth Racecourse. 49 of us enjoyed a beatiful sunny day, The food and drink market was fairly limited, but none the less everyone enjoyed the event and some even had a little flutter on a horse or two. Many thanks to everyone involved in making this year's outing such a success.

Strollers Walk no. 184, Thursday 21st August 2014, Duns Railway Walk

Walk No. 184:  Duns Railway Walk
Date:              Thursday 21st August.

Drew did hope for a cooler day for this walk. It was like an October day cold and wet.

Ten braved the elements. It was dry when we left The Market Square in Duns and headed down to the A6105 and up Bridgend to the turn off to the Sinclair Hill Road.  Half way down towards Wedderburn Castle the heavens opened and that was the rain on for most of the walk.  
 
We entered The Castle grounds by the The West Gate,  an archway butt defined by screen walls and gabled lodges. The Grounds and Castle are private, but as we had been given permission by David Home himself,  we walked through the grounds and round the castle. The Castle was designed and constructed 1771–5 by the famous architect brothers Robert Adam and James Adam, with the work superintendent being James Nisbet, for Patrick Home of Billie . He had already completed Paxton House (using James Adam and Nisbet, with Robert Adam doing the interiors c. 1773. (For those who were on the Paxton house outing they may remember that was the country house built for Patrick Home of Billie in an unsuccessful attempt to woo a Prussian heiress). Wedderburn was where he lived.

We left the Castle by the north gate and headed eastwards and north to the A6105 and to the the old Railway Line.  This railway line was opened in August 1849 as a branch line between Duns and Reston to the main east coast line.  The line was extended in 1865 to join the Edinburgh Hawick line to complete the route from Berwick to Hawick through the eastern Borders. However, the service ended after the devastating floods in 1948 when the line west of Duns was closed.

We followed  the old railway route westwards back towards Duns passed a farm that has Llamas and many types of sheep but I think they were hiding from the rain! The views here walking through the fields and looking towards the hills are usually very nice. By the end of this part of the line there was a bit that was muddy (It wouldn't be a Duns walk without mud!), some thought they had got something smelly on their boots but we had only walked passed the sewage works. We continued the walk passed the Industrial Estate and back towards the Square.
That was when the sun came out when we were having lunch in the White Swan. It has a pensioners lunch on a Thursday,  two courses for £4.95.
Moira
(Many thanks for Moira for organising this walk, if not the weather.)

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Outing on Wednesday 6th August 2014 to Pitlochry Festival Theatre

Our fourth coach outing of 2014 took place on Wednesday 6th August, when we had a full day trip to Pitlochry Festival Theatre.  A full 57 seater bus left a very wet Edinburgh to go to the Pitlochry Theatre. We had our coffee stop at Doonfoot where we could either have self service or waiter service. (This is one of the better places for a coffee stop.) We then made our way to Pitlochry where we could have an hours free time walking round the town. Only a few hardy souls decided to brave the elements and do some shopping. Yes, it was still pouring rain, so the rest decided to stay on the bus.

By the time we made our way to the Theatre it was clearing up a bit. The show we saw was a musical comedy called Whisky Kisses. Everyone agreed it was very good with most people leaving the show with a big smile on their faces. We then made our way to the Royal Dunkeld Hotel for High before retuning to a dry Edinburgh.
Many thanks to those involved in organising this trip. - You know who you are!


Thursday, 3 July 2014

Strollers Walk No. 183, Tuesday 22 July 2014, Pentlands - Swanston circular walk

Date:            Tuesday 22 July 2014
Start Time:   11:00
Distance:      5 miles
Duration:       3 hours approximately
Meet at:         Hunters Tryst (Public House) Car Park, in Oxgangs

On a day which was more suited to a day by the seaside, twenty seven strollers met up at the Hunters Tryst at Swanston to stroll round the Pentland Hills. Most of the early arrivees had gone into Morrison's for the usual hearty breakfast to fortify them for the walk.

We made our way down through New Swanston and over the bypass to use the path running parallel to the bypass. Earplugs would have been a good move as it was quite noisy here. At the end of this section we were circled by a buzzard, so a few of the strollers decided that the safest thing was to cut short the walk and go the short route back to Swanston Golf Club in time for a coffee. The rest of us continued on past Dreghorn, the army training area and soon to be site of a memorial plantation planted by the Woodland trust to commemorate the outbreak of World War I. From here we headed down to the bottom of the Bonaly Burn, which offered another chance for people to use the path down to Colinton Village if they wanted to. However the mention of stopping for lunch kept everyone together. Mention must be made of the sandwiches that Elzabe had prepared for David. There seemed to be a never ending supply being pulled from his rucksack.
It was time to move on and work our way up the hill to Green Craig Cistern. This was built as part of the first developments in providing water to Edinburgh from the reservoirs in the Pentlands. The Strollers had extra company for this part with 3 dogs joining us to take our mind off the hill. From here we headed back towards Swanston Golf Course where we divided into those who took the low road past Robert Louis Stevenson's cottage and those that took the high road to see the Highland coos. John and Kathy had meanwhile gone off on a treasure hunt to find their missing camera case - they took the low road home. The high road group then came down through Swanston Village with its thatched cottages, where we met up with one of the local residents, who was familiar to most of the group, Norrie McLeod. It was then down to the golf club for a well earned drink and rest.

Many thanks to Drew and Eleanor for organising today’s walk.
The August walk will be to Duns – let's hope for a slightly cooler day (says Drew).

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Outing on 17th July 2014 to Chillingham Castle


The third outing of 2014 took place on Thursday 17th July, when we had a full day trip to Chillingham Castle and Gardens, near Wooler in Northumberland. On a lovely sunny day, 82 of us set off in two buses for Chillingham. We had a coffee stop on the way at the Garden Centre at East Ord near Berwick. The weather was so nice some people even sat outside at the picnic tables and benches that were on sale!

At Chillingham we were split into two groups with an hour between us to wander round the castle by ourselves. The castle is like no other - think of the Burrell Collection, but all mixed up in any room. One sitting-room even included a bath that Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull had shipped to the States.

While the first group of our members were wandering through the Castle another two bus loads arrived (not part of our party). This meant a further 100 people taking over the small cafe to have lunch, which was only expecting one bus of 50. So by the time our first group had finished their tour and went for lunch there was a very large queue. Our drivers came to the rescue and did a good job in helping two very over-worked staff clear tables so that our group could get lunch. One driver was even mistaken for someone in authority by a customer who wanted to complain about food!

On leaving Chillingham, we had a short drive to the Tankerville Arm in Wooller for high tea. This was the third time we have been there and the service and food were still excellent. The staff were also very helpful when one of our group took ill and they even offered accommodation there if needed.

With two busses returning different ways to Edinburgh, many people were dropped off near their homes, but those from Peebles just missed their bus home and had to wait another hour.

Many thanks to those involved in organising this successful outing, especially Liz and Moira.


Thursday, 5 June 2014

Strollers Walk No. 182, Wednesday 25th June 2014, Vogrie Country Park


Date:                  Wednesday 25th June 2014
Start Time:        11:00
Distance:            6 miles (circular walk)
Duration:             3 hours (approximately)
Start / Finish at:  The Cedar Tree Cafe (will open for us at 10:00am) in Vogrie Country Park


On a cloudy but dry and warm day twenty four strollers gathered at Vogrie Country Park for a walk round the park and the surrounding countryside. After some fortified themselves with bacon rolls and coffee, we set off from Vogrie House past the golf course and made our way along the road to the village of Newlandrig, which was founded in 1751 by James Dewar the owner of Vogrie House, and is now a conservation area.
From there we picked up one of the Tyne and Esk trails and made our way past an old poultry farm towards the Camp Ridge. The paths had grown a lot since  the walk was checked out but it was really good of Alasdair to arrange for the farmer to come and cut a new path in front of us as we went up the hill. We stopped at the top for a breather and to admire the views of the Lammermuir Hills and East Lothian. We then cut a path through the nettles and thistles to make our way down past D’arcy Farm, and along the road with good views of Edinburgh, Fife and the Pentland Hills. Continuing on towards Spy Law Wood and then Windmill Wood admiring the house that was once the windmill and gave its name to the wood. Following the road down through the village of Edgehead, or Chesterhill to give it its proper name which is built on the old Roman Road of Dere Street.  It was also at one time a mining village with the mine situated in Windmill Wood,  but is now more admired for the flowers.
Back to the trail and through more fields of nettles and thistles, a machete would really have been useful, taking us down to Dewartown built to house the workers on the Vogrie estates. Some people were side tracked by the small ponies then missed the opening into Vogrie estate and wandered back along the road to the car park. We all managed to meet up again at the Cedar Tree Café for some well-earned refreshments.

Thanks to Alasdair and Jill for arranging this walk.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Strollers Walk No. 181, Monday 19 May 2014, Beecraigs Country Park


Date:           Monday 19th May 2014
Start Time:  11:00
Duration:     2.5 hours
Distance:     4 miles
Start / Finish: At theCar Park at Beecraigs Visitor Centre, Beecraigs Country Park, EH49 6PL

On a lovely sunny day, a select few turned up for the walk at Beecraigs. Disappointing that so few managed out on the day. Perhaps the lack of public transport put some off. Anyway, nine of us enjoyed a lovely walk around Beecraigs, starting with a view of the fields of farmed deer and highland cattle. We then walked round the loch before heading through the woods towards Cockleroy. Everyone made it safely to the top and enjoyed the hazy views. On returning from Cockleroy, we had our picnic lunches at the tables in the well-equiped barbecue area. We then returned to the Visitor Centre Car Park to end our walk.
Many thanks to John for arranging this walk.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Outing on 17th June 2014 to Callendar House and The Falkirk Wheel

The second outing of 2014 takes place on Tuesday 17 June, when we have a full day trip to Callendar House and the Falkirk Wheel (including a barge trip). If you wish to come on this trip, please complete and return the booking form with your cheque. The costs and return address can be found on the booking form which has been sent out to members by email on 2nd May. Letters and booking forms have also been issued to those members without email who specifically requested details of this outing. If any member did not receive details, please get in touch with our mailbox at sl.pensioners.association@gmail.com.

The coach will leave from Waterloo Place, Edinburgh at 9.30am. Meet at bus stop ZE across from the Apex Hotel.

Coffee stop will be at Dobbies, near Livingston.  We will then head to Callendar House where we can have a look around.  After that, we will head to the Falkirk Wheel, where we have a boat trip booked at 14:50.  High tea will be at the Leapark Hotel in Grangemouth at approximately 5pm. 

This outing is fully boooked, with a small wait-list for places. Contact Moira for more details.




Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Outing on Friday 9th May 2014 to New Lanark

On Friday the 9th of May, a full coach load of Pensioners left Waterloo Place at 09:30 prompt for a day out at New Lanark. The first stop on the way was at Bigger for a coffee break at the Cross Keys and then onto The New Lanark Visitors Centre.

At the Visitor Centre, we were give a short talk on the history of the area and what to see. The party was then split into 2 groups and given a tour of the whole area. This included the Engine House and Gallery where on the third floor you could watch yarn been spun, which was rather noisy. We also visited the Millworkers’ House. This was made up of 2 homes with one set in the 1820’s and one in the 1930’s showing the conditions the workers had in both centuries. There was a Village Store set up as it was in the 1920’s where visitors could purchase sweets and fancy goods – at 21st century prices. One of the buildings was Robert Owen’s House. He was the owner of the mill who made a difference to lives of the workers and their children. He set up a nursery and a school and improved working conditions at the mill.

A very entertaining attraction at New Lanark is the Annie McLeod experience. The journey starts by you sitting in a mechanical chair that glides along a rail, supported form the roof, and takes you on a journey back to the 19th century. The guide for the tour is the ghost of a young millworker named Annie McLeod and she describes how it was to be a young millworker during that period in history.

After leaving New Lanark, the coach conveyed us to the Cartland Bridge Hotel for high tea before heading home after a pleasant day out.

Many thanks to Ronnie for arranging this outing.

Strollers Walk No. 180, Thursday 24th April 2014, Balerno via Lymphoy to Blinkbonny, returning via Water of Leith to Balerno

Date:             Thursday 24th April 2014
Start Time:    11:00
Distance:       4.5 miles
Duration:       2.5 hours
Start at:         Balerno Parish Church, in Balerno Village
Finish at:      Balerno High School

The weather on the day turned out to be much better than forecast. Thirty of us set out on an enjoyable walk, after some had sampled the tea/coffee and cakes at the Mill at St Joseph's Cafe in Balerno. Our walk took us from Balerno Parish Church, up the driveway past Malleny House and Gardens (National Trust for Scotland) then eastwards along the ridge passing Lymphoy House (private). There were some fine views through to the Forth Bridges and beyond. This track brought us out at Currie Kirk-yard which we passed through to come out onto the back road that leads to Blinkbonny. After comparing the houses there to the old photgraph in the book, we dropped down onto the Water of Leith Walkway near the site of Kinleith Paper Mill (demolished). We then followed the walkway along the river to the west until it ended back in Balerno beside the High School with access to the 44 bus or our parked cars. A number of us returned to The Mill at St Joseph's to have some lunch and a blether. Many of the group were quite surprised at how quicky this walk led us into quiet countryside and most had never visited Blinkbonny before.
A good day out for everyone.