Sunday, 14 August 2016

Outing to Loch Lomond - Monday 12th September 2016


The fifth and last outing of 2016 takes place on Monday 12 September, when we have a full day trip to Loch Lomond. 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 Mackinnon Mills, Coatbridge.  We will then head to Loch Lomond for a cruise from Balloch and then have free time at Loch Lomond Shores Visitor and Retail Centre.  High tea will be at the Winnock Hotel, Drymen at approximately 4.30pm.  Please therefore indicate your choice from the Menu on the reply form that was attached to email sent to members.
We should be back in Edinburgh at approximately 20.30pm.

Details and cost of the outing have been sent out to members by email on Sunday 14th August. If you intend to come on this outing, please complete the booking form and return it, together with your cheque, to our treasurer Moira (details in booking form), to arrive by Wednesday 24th August.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Theatre Group - Christmas Pantomime 2016


This year’s pantomime is Jack and the Beanstock at the Kings Theatre Edinburgh. We have made a provisional booking for the Matinee Performance at 2.00pm on Tuesday 13 December 2016.
Prices and details have been circulated to members on the Theatre Group Distribution list by email. Those who only receive a postal mailing will receive this within the next few days.


If you wish to attend, please complete and return the reply form with your payment, no later than 27th September 2016. The tickets you order will be available at the November Coffee Morning on the 2nd November or posted out the next day. 

Note: If you want to sit beside your friends, it would be easier for us to administer if you could all get together and send back a single form for the group of you, thanks.
Also: If you are replying for the Pantomime and the September Summer Outing in the same envelope, please enclose a separate cheque for each event, as this will ease the administration and the cheques will be cashed at different times, thank you.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Strollers Walk No. 208 - Thursday 18th August 2016, Earlston and River Leader

Walk No:      208
Date:            Thursday 18th August 2016
Distance:     5.5 miles approximately (see text below)

Summary: On another warm day twenty four Strollers met in Earlston for the August walk. Starting at the War Memorial we made our way up Station Road and down a flight of stairs to Speedy’s path. That Mexican mouse Gonzalez gets everywhere! There also seemed to be a lot of steps on this walk, down then up again, taking us past Sorrowlessfield Bridge where we crossed the Leader Water. Sorrowlessfield named as it was the only one to have had no one killed at Flodden. We then passed Cowdenknowes House, originally a tower house of four storeys and a corbelled-out parapet dating back to the 16th Century, where Mary Queen of Scots once stayed in October 1566, while en route to Jedburgh. Time then to have a seat on the fine “Badger Bench”, carved from a single tree trunk by chainsaw and installed in 2010. Going through Packman’s Wood and continuing on along the side of Leader Water where we saw a heron and a flock of Goosanders ducks. Passing Drygrange which had been a Roman Catholic seminary called St. Andrew's College founded in 1953 but closed in 1986 and is now a care home. We were able to look into the walled garden as the current resident has built a step so people can see her lovely garden. Continuing on we made our way to the Viaduct over The Tweed where we stopped for lunch sitting at the end of Drygrange Old Bridge, a road bridge dating from 1776.
We were entertained at lunch by three enthusiasts from Greenock, flying drones with cameras and using headsets to see what the drones saw. Some Strollers got the opportunity to try out a headset. Then it was time to partly retrace our steps past and through Drygrange and the Lodge entrance where we walked back down the old A68 road and then beside the A68 itself back to Earlston and time for a snack.
There was a bit of a discussion over the distance travelled but the general consensus was that Moira’s arithmetic was poor and it was a tad further than the 5.5 miles she had calculated! (Alistair’s GPS tracked 6.7 miles.) But everyone was happy and enjoyed the lovely walk.
Thanks to Moira for arranging it and the good weather.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Outing to Lindisfarne, Tuesday 23rd August 2016

The fourth outing of 2016 took place on Tuesday 23 August, when we had a full day trip to Lindisfarne (Holy Island). We needed two coaches, as 86 people had booked for this trip. We left Waterloo Place at 09:30 and headed down the A1. One coach stopped at East Ord Garden Centre at Berwick for morning coffee, but the second coach went on to Beale for its stop. We all met up again on Lindisfarne, by which time the sun was well out. The island was very busy and we walked and climbed to the castle, run by National Trust where we had the chance to view the many rooms and admire the coastal views.
We then had some free time to wander more of the town before boarding our buses to head for
the Tankerville Arms at Wooler and high tea. Given the large numbers, service took a while, especially the battered cod which was massive and took too long to cook and serve.
We were back in Edinburgh shortly after 8pm after a good day out.
Many thanks Barabra for organising this trip, to Carole and Moira for handling all the bookings and cheques, also to Ronnie, Joan and others who helped out on the day distributing forms, refunds, etc.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Strollers Walk No. 207 - Tuesday 19th July 2016, Haddington and River Tyne

Walk No. 207:    Haddington and River Tyne
Date:                 Tuesday 19th July 2016
Distance:           6 miles
Start at:             Court Street, Haddington
On a hot balmy day twenty two strollers met up for a leisurely stroll round Haddington. Actuall there were twenty three, but two more missed the bus to Haddimngton, so one decided to wait for them. Given the heat, somewhere around 27ºc, a leisurely stroll was the order of the day. We left the town centre to go down Meadowpark past Knox School and the Long Cram to join the River Tyne and follow the path, passing trees planted for the coronation of Queen Victoria and George the V and his wife Mary, round to St Mary’s Church where we stopped for lunch, and where the late arrivals caught up with us. We sat the shadow of the church which started off the career of John Knox and the Nungate Bridge where executions were held in earlier centuries.
Crossing the bridge we moved on to Haddington Golf course which is in the ground that once was part of the Amisfield estate owned by the Earl of Wemyss. The area at the start of the estate also housed a prisoner of war camp, and then a refugee camp from 1944 to 1949. The clubhouse now stands on the site of the former house which was demolished in 1928. Nearby are the ruins of a summer house in front of which was a bowling green. From there we went into Amisfield walled garden, which is the largest walled garden in Scotland. It used to provide the fruit and vegetables for the house and due to its size acted as a showpiece garden for the estate. It is now run as a community garden and is open to the public.
It was time to make our way back along the river to Haddington and find a long cool cold drink.
Thanks to Drew for guiding us round this lovely walk. Hopefully the August walk will find a medium between the heat of Tuesday and the rain of the June walk! Hope to see you all then.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Outing to Scottish Organ Preservation Society and Manderston House - Thursday 14th July 2016


The third outing of 2016 was on 14 July to the Scottish Theatre Organ Preservation Society in Greenlaw, then Manderston House. 44 people came on this outing but no fancy bus this time, nor our usual driver. Again the weather was very kind to us although Edinburgh was sunnier.
When we arrived in Greenlaw there was an ambulance on the main road near the Organ Hall. That’s when we found out we had a problem. It had the Organist in it, as he had taken ill before we arrived and he was being taken to Borders General Hospital.  The person in charge of the hall had not had time to deal with the Teas and Coffees. The tables had been set, so we mucked in and
everyone eventually got their elevenses, thanks to the committee members and some Association members.
One of our members, Alan, then stepped in and said he could play the organ if there was music available. So although no requests were played and “Happy Birthday” was missed we were well entertained.
With time on our hands, we then had an unscheduled stop in Duns where lunch was bought by some, either at the bakers or the baguette café. Someone even managed to make a purchase from the Charity Shop!
We then proceeded to Manderston, where we wandered round the gardens in the sunshine and also visited the House which is famous for its silver staircase.  Some even managed to walk back to the Stables and the Tea Room.
After that, High Tea was at Carfraemill which was good as usual.  However that didn’t go without incident either.  Alan’s wife tripped entering the building and ended up clutching a bag of ice to her face with a large plaster on her elbow.  “The things that people will do to get a free glass of wine!”
We all returned safely to a still sunny Edinburgh, a bit early as Carfraemill isn’t too far away.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Strollers Walk No. 206 - Wednesday 22nd June, Linlithgow Town, Union Canal and River Avon

Date:           Wednesday 22nd June 2016
Distance:     5 miles approximately
Duration:      2.5 hours approximately
Started at:       Linlithgow Railway Station
Finished at:     Linlithgow town centre
On Wednesday 22nd, 25 of us set out in the sunshine from Linlithgow Railway Station westwards along the Union Canal. The canal was opened in 1822 and as we walked along the towpath we passed a 16th century doocot built by Baron Ross of Halkhead to provide food in the winter, then Linlithgow Primary and Academy Schools, the Linlithgow Canal Boat Heritage Centre where we saw the Victoria a replica steam packet boat built in 1972, the stables used for the horses which pulled the Canal boats , the headquarters of the Linlithgow Sea Scouts and Linlithgow Golf Course. before arriving at the Avon Aqueduct. However by 12:00 we had encountered a shower of rain which got heavier as we approached the aquaduct over the River Avon. This was built by Thomas Telford and is over 800 feet long support by hollow piers which do have small doors for access. 
We didn’t cross the aqueduct but went down a steep set of steps to join the Avon Heritage Trail and followed a footpath alongside the river underneath the trees, giving us some shelter from the shower. This path crossed boardwalks and slightly muddy paths which took us down to the 24 span railway viaduct over the River Avon which was opened in 1842 and connects the Cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow.  By this time the shower has passsed, so we continued along the main road through Linlithgow Bridge and back into Linlithgow town centre in time for something to eat. 
Drew then thanked Ronnie for organising this walk, before we dispersed into/onto various cafes, pubs, buses and trains. The promised sunshine had not materialised and it was a tad on the wet side at times which was more galling when we got home to discover it had not rained in Edinburgh!
The July walk is to Haddington following another river so let’s hope the sun comes out!


 If you did not receive an email advising you of this walk (and think you should have), please contact us by email at sl.pa.strollers@gmail.com or sl.pensioners.association@gmail.com.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Outing to Legends of Grandtully / Scottish Chololate Centre - Wednesday 8th June 2016


The second outing of 2016 took place on Wednesday 8 June, when we had a full day trip to Legends of Grandtully / Scottish Chocolate Centre. A full barnd-new 62-seater coach load of people made the most of the sunshine, as the sunny spell in June was about to come to an end.
Coffee stop was at Dobbies, Perth.  We then headed to the Scottish Chocolate Centre to browse about for a while.  After that is was some free time in sunny Pitlochry.
High tea was at the Crieff Hydro
, although rather disappointing for some, before our eventual return to Edinburgh. 

Many thanks to Joan for arranging this outing and to the usual others who helped out with bookings, cheques, etc. Roll out some more good weather for July outing please.

Strollers Walk No.205 - Monday 23 May 2016, Dalkeith Country Park

This walk was in Dalkeith Country Park on Monday 23 May.
For details about the Country Park, see http://www.dalkeithcountrypark.co.uk/

I notice that they now seem to be charging £1 for person for entry to the Park.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Outing to Stirling Castle - Friday 13th May 2016

The first outing of 2016 took place on Friday 13 May, when we had full day trip to Stirling Castle. After a coffee stop at Dobbies, Livingston, we headed for Stirling Castle. Many found this attraction significantly extended and improved since a previous visit and wanted more time to browse the various displays and museums there. Others wanted more time to spend wandering the Callander shops before moving on to Bridge of Allan for high tea at the Royal Hotel. We can't please all of the people all of the time but we do try our best!.
Many thanks to Ronnie for arranging this trip (and for use of his credit card to avoid an embarrasing refusal of entry to the Castle). Also thanks to Barbara for her "induction by fire" to the finacial organisation of such trips. 

Monday, 18 April 2016

Summer Outings - Dates and Venues

We are close to finalising the coach and venue bookings for the Summer Outings. Here is what we are planning, so you can get the dates into your diaries.
  • Friday 13th May - Visit to Stirling Castle, then hopefully some free time in Callander
  • Wednesday 8th June - Visit to Legends of Grandtully / Scottish Chocolate Centre,
    then some free time in Aberfeldy or Pitlochry
  • Thursday 14th July - Visit to Greenlaw Organ Preservation Society,
    then on to Manderston House
  • Tuesday 23rd August - Visit to Lindisfarne (Holy Island) including Lindisfarne Castle
  • Monday 12th September - Cruise on Loch Lomond from Balloch,
    with free time at Loch Lomond Shores Visitor Centre
Each outing will be an all-day coach trip, with High Tea somewhere on the journey back.
Full details of the each outing, including costs, timings and booking form will be issued via email to members. The details of the first outing on 13th May should be available tomorrow, with replies needed by Monday 2nd May. Apologies for short notice of the first date.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Strollers Walk No. 204 - Thursday 21st April 2016, Kinross and Loch Leven

Walk No. 204:     Kinross and Loch Leven
Date:                  Thursday 21st April 2016
Distance:            6.6 miles approximately
Start at:     Boathouse Bistro, Sandport Close, Kinross
On a beautiful sunny morning 29 Strollers met at the Boathouse car park for this walk, with some taking refreshment the Boathouse Bistro to fortify them for the miles ahead. We set off along the excellent loch-side path through the reed-beds, emerging at Kirkgate Park. Continuing northwards along the loch-side, we watched swans taking off and then passed Kinross House, admiring the daffodils around the hedge and walls and getting a view of the house thorough the gate. The path returned to the water's edge at Burleigh Sands, where a few walkers settled in the sunshine on a wooden bench to eat their picnic lunch while others walked into the shade where there was a circle of stone seats and some information boards.

Resuming our walk after this break, we crossed the minor road and headed up a path to reach the disused railway track. This was on a raised embankment giving a good view of Burleigh Castle and the passing through some fields where we watch tractors preparing the ground for potato planting. Now heading west along the railway path, we reached the main road and turned left to head back down towards Kinross. We paused at the new Community High School Campus to thank John for organising this picturesque and interesting walk, debating whether John or Drew should be congratulated for the excellent weather. As we walked back through Kinross, members gradually disappeared into various establishments for some lunch as the remainder returned down Sandport to the Boathouse Car Park.

Friday, 11 March 2016

National Trust for Scotland - Car Park Sticker

Are you a member of National Trust for Scotland? If so, like me, you will recently have received their Spring 2016 magazine "Scotland in Trust". Hidden away on page 49 of that magazine you will find the sticker that entitles you to free parking at NTS sites until 31/03/2017. Please don't throw out the magazine without detaching your car park sticker.

Strollers Walk No. 203 - Wednesday 23rd March 2016, Commonwealth Pool to Musselburgh

Walk no. 203:    Commonwealth Pool to Musselburgh via Innocent Railway path, etc.
Date:                 Wednesday 23rd March 2016
Distance:           5.25 miles approximately
Meet at:            Commonwealth Pool (outside main entrance in Dalkeith Road)

Finish at:           Fisherrow Harbour, Musselburgh
Thirty seven Strollers met up at the Commonwealth Pool to walk to Fisherrow Harbour, Musselburgh. It was very good of the schools to come along and entertain us with a swimming and diving contest while we were sitting and having coffee and bacon rolls. Dragging ourselves out in to the overcast day we set out on the stroll to Musselburgh. Walking along the Innocent Railway and passing Prestonfield Golf Course, home to a monastery at one time, watching the flight of the heron (sounds a good title for a book) and passing a tree full of bras. Obviously a hen night got carried away.
On past Duddingston Golf Course and down to Bingham and the Jewel, so called because of the quality of the coal mined there. It was there we encountered a field of shopping trolleys too numerous to count that had obviously escaped from their normal habitat at Asda. Crossing the Borders Railway line we continued on down the path of the Brunstane or Braidburn or Niddrie burn depending on what map you look at, passing the private golf course at Milton Glen and the big houses with some features including a dry-stane wall. Finding a tree filled with trainers, obviously the marathon runners having had enough and throwing them away.
Spotting a rare looking bird in a tree which turned out to be a pigeon, must get new glasses before the next walk, it was then time to finish the walk at Fisherrow Harbour and find a cafe for a well earned tea and cake.. Hope you all enjoyed the rather quicker stroll than normal and thanks again to Drew for organising the walk. Look forward to seeing you all at Kinross in April.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Strollers Walk No. 202, Thursday 25th February 2016, Historic Walk - Stockbridge to Botanic Gardens

Walk no. 202:    Historic Guided Walk - Stockbridge to Botanic Gardens
Date:                 Thursday 25th February 2016
Distance:           2 miles approximately
Duration:            2 hours approximately
Start Time:        10:45
Meet at:            Stockbridge at corner of St Bernards Row

Finish at:          Botanic Gardens, East Gate (on Inverleith Row)
On a rather dull morning in Edinburgh, 58 Strollers met in Stockbridge for a walk to Inverleith and the Botanic Gardens, guided by our Blue Badge Guides Karen and Helen. There should have been 59 of us, but it helps if the organiser remembers to let everyone know about a change of starting point! Many apologies to Bill M.
We started off in St Bernard’s Row, where if you need to ask the price of a house you can’t afford it. We heard the history of Malta House - a Church of Scotland support centre. Malta Terrace itself used to be used as a drying green. We then stopped across the river from the Glenogle Colonies for a brief history of how and why these houses were built. In 1861, a group of builders found themselves locked out of their building sites due to a dispute about working hours. Their three-month ban led to the formation of The Edinburgh Co-operative Building Company Ltd (ECBC). This group comprised many different trades - stonemasons, plasterers, plumbers and others sympathetic to their aims. Central to its mission was a co-operative spirit that was reflected in its adoption of the beehive motif, visible on the gable-ends of the houses and depicting the motifs of the different trades. We then passed a large red-sandstone house that used to be used as a hostel for SL Actuarial Students. Passing the Ferranti Bowling club we learned how the first rules of the game of bowls as we know it know were put together in Scotland in 1864, though the association had been started in 1848, with the Glasgow firm of Taylor’s still being a main manufacturer of the bowls.
As we approached the west entrance to the Botanic Gardens, we paused to look at a new planting of a yew hedge behind the perimeter fence. We then entered via the new John Hope building to warm up a little and see all the changes being made. We set off through the gardens and saw the tree of Friendship with the USA, before heading through the Beech Hedge to admire the small gardens made by the students and to pass by the Botanics Cottage. This building originally stood in Leith Walk at the entrance to the Botanic Gardens in the late 18th and early 19th centuries (before the Gardens were relocated to Inverleith). By the early 2000s it had been abandoned and was set to be demolished, but a plan was hatched to dismantle it and rebuild it here at Inverleith. It is now nearing completion and will become a centre for community and education activities exactly 250 years after it was first constructed, but it was too busy with construction workers for us to pause here to learn more. We moved on to see the Queen Mother's gardens with its amazing little house decorated with shells and pine cones.
Finishing up, as it began to feel a lot colder and a bowl of soup beckoned, we headed for the east gate exit and heard the story that the Wee Tea Company of Scotland now exports tea to China. How things change.
Our thanks again to our guides Karen and Helen for all their efforts in preparing for the walks and we’ll see them again next year.


Annual General Meeting - Monday 8th February, Edinburgh

Apologies for not posting this earlier. Our Annual General Meeting will be held in The Royal Overseas League, Princes Street Edinburgh on the afternoon of Monday 8th February 2016. Notice of this meeting was sent out to all members on 12th January. If you did not receive this, please contact our mailbox at sl.pensioners.association@gmail.com with a note of your name and post code. Bookings to attend this meeting have now closed.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Strollers Walk No. 201, Monday 25th January - Historic Walk - Drumsheugh - Dean Village



Walk No. 201:     Historic Walk - Drumsheaugh - Dean Village
Date:                  Monday 25th January 2016
Started at:           Charlotte Square, outside West Register House
Finished at:         Dean Village / Stockbridge

Forty Strollers turned out for the January History Walk led by our Blue Badge Guides Karen and Helen. Changing the day of the walk proved to be very fortuitous on the weather front as it remained dry and mild though a trifle windy. Gathering together at Charlotte Square, we made our way into what was known as the Drumsheugh Estate when the Edinburgh New Town extended westwards.
At the start of Melville Street we learned about the fine wrought iron work and the history of Lord Melville. This street used to be home to Melville College, the all boys school, before it merged with Daniel Stewarts. In addition, St Georges, the all girls’ school, used to be here before moving to Ravelston. The Girl Guide Association still has its headquarters here as well as the Consulates of around 30 different countries and the Edinburgh office of the Secretary of State for Scotland. We then stopped in Stafford Street to see the site of a Turkish Baths that existed there in the 19th and early 20th Century, for both men and women, though at different times. It was one of several in the city but the only one surviving now is in Portobello baths. Moving on to Walker Street, we heard about the first site of the Elsie Inglis medical centre, the forerunner to the better known Edinburgh hospital. At the outbreak of the First World War she offered to set up nursing units but was refused by the British Government, however her offer was accepted by the French and she also worked in Serbia and Russia. She died in 1917 but her work was recognised by the countries she served in and the hospital in Serbia still bears her name.
We moved on to Rothesay Terrace to B+B Edinburgh, a boutique bed and breakfast hotel. No, not time for a nap, but time to see the former home of John Ritchie Findlay, once the owner of the Scotsman newspaper. It has a lovely view over the Dean Village from the window at the back. Its architect, Sydney Mitchell, also oversaw the apprenticeship of Findlay's son, James Leslie, who went on to design the Scotsman Newspaper's former headquarters on North Bridge, which is also now a hotel.
Leaving the Drumsheugh Estate, we headed down to the Dean Village to visit the site of all the grain mills that used to exist. Collectively known as 'The Baxters' or baker's guild, they provided the whole of Edinburgh and surrounding villages with meal and thrived until the 19th Century, when the larger flour mills in Leith eventually made them redundant
.
They have all gone now or converted to housing but the Miller Row name reminds us of who has been there, as does the engraving of paddles on the Brae Bridge. This was the main route out of Edinburgh to Queensferry before the Dean Bridge (designed by Thomas Telford) was built in 1832. The name of the village comes from the word dene meaning "deep valley”. The most striking building in the Dean Village is Well Court, recently restored with the help of Edinburgh World Heritage but built in the 1880s as model housing for local workers by John Ritchie Findlay, to improve the view from his house in Rothesay Terrace!. What goes down must come up again and so we did - up Bells Brae to Kirkbrae House which at one time was a tavern for the Dean Village Baxters. It has an engraving on the wall in keeping with its clientele: "In the sweat of thy face shall thou eat bread Gen 3 verse 19". Here we ended our walk.
Our thanks once again tour guides, Karen and Helen, for all the information we enjoyed on the walk. See you next month.

Strollers Walks - Planned dates for 2016

Here are the dates currently planned for Strollers Walks in 2016. Thses may be subject to change.

25 January       - Historic Walk - Drumsheaugh
25 February      - Historic Walk - Botanics
23 March          - Edinburgh Area
21 April            - Kinross
23 May            - Dalkeith Area
22 June            - Linlithgow
19 July             - Haddington
18 August         - Borders
19 September    - Edinburgh Area
19 October        - 
17 November    - Corstorphine, Pinkhill
8 December     - Christmas Lunch

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Strollers Walk No. 200 - Thursday 2nd December 2015, Christmas Lunch

On Thursday 2nd December we celebrated the 200th "walk" by meeting up for our Christmas Lunch at the Royal Scots Club in Edinburgh. Around 90 of us enjoyed a pleasant lunch in convivial company and were then entertained to a medley of appropriately scripted walking songs by our very own "Strollers Songsters". I'll remember "We walk on paths and cycle tracks that make our feet and legs go sore" the next time I hear that familiar Proclaimers tune. As for: "The hills are alive to the sound of Strolling...". need I say more.

Many thanks to all involved and in particular to Drew for organising the event. He has now issued a list of potential dates for our 2016 walks. I'll probably post them here at the start of the year.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Strollers Walk No. 199 - Wednesday 18th November 2015, Musselburgh Circle

Walk No. 199:   Musselburgh Circle - New Hailes, Esk Valley Way
Date:                 Wednesday 18th November 2015
Start Time:        11:00
Distance:          6 miles approximately
Never trust a weather forecast. Having gone from being on the verge of cancelling the walk as the forecast was dire, and then going ahead because the forecast had changed to be fine for the time we were due to start, twenty hardy Strollers turned up for the walk. The rain did eventually stop and blue sky appeared, just a tad later than the forecast suggested. It’s what waterproofs are for! Meeting at Musselburgh’s Fisherrow Harbour we made our way up for a brief look at Newhailes House, a National Trust Property gifted to them in 1997 by the Dalrymple Family. The original house dates from 1686, called Whitehill, but was extensively remodelled in the 18th Century and renamed as New Hailes. There are lots of things to see in the grounds but it was not a good day to loiter.

We crossed the road over into the small industrial estate and worked our way on the path running parallel with the main Edinburgh to London railway line. At Musselburgh station we paused to look at Queen Margaret University, which moved here from its site at Clerwood to a purpose built series of building with the emphasis on ‘green environment’ for which it has won many awards. From there we followed the cycle route down to Monktonhall Golf Course, now used as an Open qualifying course, admiring a nearby house already decked out in Christmas decorations. At least you won’t get lost on a dark night in that street. Following the cycle route down to the River Esk, we crossed the bridge to make our way back down to Musselburgh, catching sight of a heron as we walked down to Eskmills, which is now rejuvenated as offices from its original use as mills.
Colonel James Paterson, a local to Musselburgh, invented and patented in 1812 the first machine capable of tying knots for the manufacture of fishing nets. When he died his company was bought, along with the patents for the knot tying machines, by J. W. Stuart who established a new factory for the manufacture of fishing nets on the banks of the River Esk and expanded the business into a world leader with sales and repair facilities in North America, Europe and Australia. At its height Stuart’s mills employed over 800 people in cotton processing and rope manufacturing. Throughout the World, “Scotch Weave Nets” became the generic name for machine produced nets. The mill’s domination of the market faltered when newer man-made materials were introduced namely nylon and terylene (Dacron). They were late in adopting the stronger and cheaper materials, handing  their competitors a considerable advantage, so the Esk Net Mills slowly declined.
We crossed the main road and then the Old ‘Roman Bridge’. Although the current bridge dates from the 16th Century it has been the site of many bridges before which have been used by the various armies invading Scotland. Continuing down the river, past the geese and swans, down Eskside West and the Category B listed Gazebo in Eskside West House dating from 1776, we made our way in the sunshine back to Musselburgh Harbour.

Thanks to Drew for organising an excellent and interesting walk on firm paths, great for this time of year. We are now looking forward to the lunch, where hopefully we won’t need waterproofs while inside, although a few years back we slipped and slithered in frozen snow down the street to the venue.