Thursday, 22 June 2017

Pensioners Theatre Outings in second half of 2017

Members of our Theatre Group will recently have been emailed information on three shows planned for this Autumn. Unfortunately, The Festival Theatre have had to cancel the show called "Love Letters" due to the illness of one of the cast. Please do not return a booking for that show. The others shows are:
  • "Son of a Preacher Man" at the Kings Theatre on Saturday 21st October at 2.30pm
  • "The Steamie" at the Kings Theatre on Wednesday 8th November at 2:30pm
Booking forms should be returned, with payment, by Monday 24th July.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Outing to Drunlanrig Castle and Gardens - Monday 10th July 2017

Our third coach outing of 2017 will be on Monday 10th July, when we have a full day trip to Drumlanrig Castle and Gardens, near Thornhill in Dunfriesshire. Details of this outing have now been sent to members, either by email or post. Bookings and payment reuqire to be returned by Friday 23rd June (full booking details are on the form sent with details).

Please note: High tea will be at the Buccleuch Hotel in Moffat (not Kelso as was in the original details).

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Strollers Walk No. 218 - Wednesday 21st June 2017, Peebles to Eddlestone

Walk No. 218:    Peebles to Eddlestone
Date:                Wednesday 21st June 2017
Distance:          6 miles approximately
Start at:           Edinburgh Road Car Park, Peebles
Finish at:         Horseshoe Inn, Eddlestone

Sixteen Strollers, and one hanger-on, met on a day that was forecast for rain, thunder and lightning to walk from Peebles to Eddlestone via the old Drovers Road. As it turned out everyone was a bit wet when the walk finished but this was due to the heat and the energy used on the hill that was supposed to only be a quarter of a mile long. Someone needs to get a better measuring stick. Thankfully we had no thunder or rain at all, despite the forecast.
As we walked from the car park to Standalone Farm to start our walk we passed houses decorated for the Beltane week and our hanger-on pointed out whose house they belonged to and also where she played as a child. It’s amazing how good her memory is and how cheeky she is, as she then borrowed a phone from someone cutting their grass just to check where we were on the walk! She left us at the start of the hill which many later described as an astute move. Eventually at the crest of the hill we had lovely views back down to Peebles and the hills beyond.
Stopping for lunch break allowed everyone to get their breath back and cool down a little before crossing a field to walk down the farm track to join up with the Eddlestone to Lyne Road, where we were followed and stared at by a herd of cows who were obviously bemused by a group walking in such heat. Joining up again with the Drovers Road we made our way along to Eddlestone passing through fields of sheep and then down past Bunny Corner and the house with guard geese and ducks on the way to Barony Castle Hotel, where the Polish troops were stationed during the war. Some people stopped there to go for lunch while others went to look at the Great Polish Map of Scotland, while the rest of
us made our way down the hill passing the llama’s on our way to catch a bus back to Peebles.
With immaculate timing, we got to the bus stop just in time for the bus, which took 5 minutes to get us back to where we started the walk 3 hours earlier! At least it didn’t rain.
Thanks to Drew for another great route, but everyone is looking forward to a flat canal walk in July!

Outing to Ford and Etal Estates on Friday 9th June 2017

The second of our summer outings was to Ford and Etal Estates in Northumberland on Friday 8th June. 39 of us left Waterloo Place, Edinburgh by coach and made our way through the borders to the village of Etal. There we all boarded the little train from Etal along the banks of the River Till to Heatherslaw. On arrival, we were met by an estate guide who directed some of us to the tea-room and the rest for a guided tour of the working Cornmill. The two groups then swapped over, so that everyone had a chance to visit both venues at Heatherslaw. We then rejoined our coach for the short journey to Ford Village, where we had a chance to visit The Lady Waterford Hall and also stroll around the pretty village in a warm and pleasant afternoon. High tea was at 4:30pm at The Cross Keys Hotel in Kelso, before we retuned to Edinburgh by mid-evening. Many thanks to Liz for arranging this outing.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Strollers Walk No. 217 - Monday 22nd May 2017, Mouse Water Lanark

Walk No. 217:  Mouse Water, Lanark
Date:               Monday 22nd May 2017
Distance:         5.5 miles approximately, if omitting New Lanark
Duration:          2 to 3 hours
Start at:           Lanark town centre, in middle of High Street
Summary: On a wet Monday morning, 14 Strollers met outside Costa Coffee in Lanark for this walk. After some discussion and borrowing of umbrellas, we set off down the High Street. In less than 10 minutes the rain stopped and never returned for the rest of the walk. We arrived at Mouse Water and followed the path via Cartland Craigs to then cross the A73 and descend to Mousemill Old Bridge. We crossed the Clyde on the "new" (1959) bridge at Clydesholm then back over the "old" (1694-1699) bridge to join the Clyde Valley Walkway. Arriving at Castlebank House and Park, we stopped a snack in the sunshine. A couple of walkers then headed uphill back to town while the rest of us rejoined the walkway and continued to New Lanark. There, the toilets and cafe were popular, but not as popular as the local bus that several of us used to return up the hill to Lanark Centre. Many thanks to John and Janice for arranging this walk.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Outing to Jute Museum (Verdant Works) on Tuesday 16th May

The first of our Summer Outings was held on Tuesday 16th May , when almost 50 members travelled by coach from Edinburgh to Dundee to visit the Jute Museum. We stopped for coffee at Dobbie's near Halbeath before continuing to Dundee via Glenrothes and the Tay Road Bridge. We had ample to time to explore the interesting museum, learning about the wealth that the jute trade brought to Dundee, but also about the working and housing conditions of the workers, mostly women and some children as young as 12 or even 9.
There was some time for us to enjoy a coffee there or venture briefly to the shops in the city centre before our coach picked us up and took us to Kinross for high tea. We returned to Edinburgh, with people being dropped off around 8pm. 
Thanks to those who organised the outing and made it an enjoyable day.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Dates and Venues for Summer Outings 2017

Here are the dates and proposed venues for our 2017 Summer Outings.
 Tuesday 16th May               Scottish Jute Museum (Verdant Works) in Dundee
 Friday 9th June                    Ford and Etal Estates, in Northumberland
 Monday 10th July                 Drumlanrig Castle and Gardens, Thornhill, Dumfries & Galloway
 Wednesday 23rd August      Maid of the Forth Cruise to Inchcolm Abbey
 Thursday 21st September     Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery, Glasgow


Details of the first outing are already in the post or will be emailed to members shortly.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Strollers Walk No. 216 - Thursday 20th April 2017, Cramond Brig to South Queensferry

Walk No. 216: John Muir Way - Cramond Brig Toll to High Street, South Queensferry
Date:              Thursday 20th April 2017
Distance:        5.3 miles approximately
This  linear walk followed part of the John Muir Way through the grounds of Dalmeny Estate. On a windy, dry, sometimes bright April day thirty Strollers met up to walk to South Queensferry. One even then walked back, while the rest of us caught the bus or had left a car near the end. Walking through the Rosebery Estate and parallel with the River Almond and on down to the sea shore the wind dropped away and it became a nice calm day for a lovely walk. Passing Eagle Rock, which has a carving of an eagle reputedly done by a Roman Soldier from the garrison at the River Almond, we made our way along the edge of the 9 hole golf course towards Dalmeny House.
Dalmeny House & Estate has been home to the Earls of Rosebery since 1662 and the house itself was completed in 1817. It marked a great departure in Scottish architecture with its Tudor Gothic style and its highly-decorated chimneys and crenellations, looked back toward fanciful 16th-century English mansions, such as Hampton Court. The house hosts a collection of Napoleon memorabilia, as well as paintings by artists such as Raeburn and Gainsborough. Prior to this the family stayed in Barnbougle Castle which is on the site of a medieval tower house built by the Mowbray family which was destroyed and then rebuilt in the 19th century. At Barnbougle the fifth Earl of Rosebery (Prime Minister) practised his speeches in a gallery hall built for the purpose.
We then continued through the woodland past Fishery Cottage which gains it name from the salmon netting undertaken until the 1950s when declining stocks of salmon made the operation uneconomic. You can see the remains of the wooden piles along the seashore. Continuing on past the Hound Point Terminal where oil tankers from all over the world stop to load up with oil from the North Sea which has been refined at Grangemouth Refinery further up the river. The oil is then stored at Dalmeny Tank Farm, near Dalmeny Village, before onward transmission to the oil terminal at Hound Point. Then on towards South Queensferry realising it was still windy, before finishing our walk under the Forth Rail bridge.
Our thanks to Ian for organising a very nice walk and for arranging such good weather.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

National Trust for Scotland - Members' Car Park Sticker

It's that time of the year again when National Trust members receive the NTS spring magazine.
Although I'm never quick to read my copy, I always remember to search through it straight away to find this year's Car Park Sticker. However, this year, rather than hiding it in the magazine, the NTS have put it inside the Members' Guide book (look between pages 24 and 25).
This is an improvement on previous years, as members are more likely to hang on to the Guide book. Previously some of us have previously thrown out our Car Park sticker with the magazine.
Be warned.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Strollers Walk No. 215 - Wednesday 22nd march 2017, Ocean Terminal to Silverknowes

Walk No. 215:   Ocean Terminal to Silverknowes
Date:                 Wednesday 22nd March 2017

Distance:          5.5 miles approximately

Thirty-three strollers met at Ocean Terminal to walk along to Silverknowes on a dull, windy but dry day. Passing the Chancelot flour mill, part of the operations of American food giant Archer Daniels Midland, producing organic and non-organic flours, bakery pre-mixes, concentrates and sundries for the baking industry in Scotland and the North. On past Newhaven Harbour, site of the building of the largest Scottish ship the Great Michael launched in 1512 then sold to the French in 1514 after the battle of Flodden. Passing the Old Chain Pier, where steamers used to operate from between 1820 and 1850 when Granton Harbour surpassed it. The pier was destroyed in a storm in 1898. Granton Harbour was built to ferry steam trains from Edinburgh to Burntisland in Fife in the days before the Forth Railway Bridge.
At Granton Square we were supposed to be met by Bill M who obviously hadn’t checked bus routes in a long time and got lost but managed to get on a 47 and catch the group as we made our way through the site of the old gas works, now a mix of housing, supermarket and a college as well as a newly formed park. It also opened up access to view the early 19th century house of Caroline House, which was in the middle of the gas works. We passed the old railway station, which is now a listed building, before making our way down to the windy promenade, then along and up to our finish at Silverknowes Golf Club.
It was here that an injury from a golf club sustained many years ago resurfaced and caused an embarrassing situation when one of the group failed to recognise the differing signs for the ladies and gents toilets. I’m sure she’ll take more care in the future.
Thanks yet again to Drew for organising this interesting walk. Looking forward to seeing you all on the next walk on 20th April.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Strollers Walk No. 214 - Tuesday 21st February 2017, Historic Walk - Leith

Walk No. 214:    Historic Walk - Leith
Date:                 Tuesday 21st February 2017
Forty five Strollers met up in Leith, under the shadow of the statue of Queen Victoria, for a wander round South Leith. Starting off by learning about the story of the Kirkgate and the Gaiety Theatre where some Strollers admitted to going to shows, which given it closed in 1956 shows that the memory is still working! At the Trafalgar Masonic Hall built on the site of the Preceptory and Hospital of the Blessed Confessor St Anthony founded by Sir Robert Logan of Restalrig in 1430, we stopped to look at the many mason’s marks on the walls. On to Trinity House to hear about starting classes at 6.a.m. and finishing at 6.p.m., then learning about the local hostelry which stood next door before entering the grounds of South Leith Parish Church which was badly damaged in 1544 and 1547 as part or the ‘rough wooing’ by Henry VIII’s armies and then in 1560 by the Lords of the Congregation besieging Leith. Moving from there to the Links to hear more about the 1560 conflict, the plague pits and the birth of the game of golf. Mary Queen of Scots and John Knox among others are reputed to have played golf here. Passing the Leith Police station which used to be the Leith Town Hall and Council Chamber, we heard about the vote in 1920 not to join Edinburgh, a result which was ignored by the councils. Nothing new then.
Then it was time for a look at the sites of the old wine, brandy and whisky warehouses, mostly now converted to housing, and then on to Lamb’s House where its alleged Mary Queen of Scots stayed when she first arrived back in Scotland, although her mother Mary of Guise had a house in nearby Rotten Row so it may have been there she stayed. Part of Lamb’s House is now the Icelandic Consul. We finished off at the Kings Wark beside the Water of Leith, where Mary and many other important figures in history landed on their way to Edinburgh.
Our thanks again to our guides Karen and Helen for all the work done for the walks and we’ll see them again next year!

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Pensioners Theatre Outings in 2017

The Pensioners Theatre Group sub-committee has chosen the following shows from the Kings and Festival Theatre brochure for 2017.
  • Thursday 2nd March - Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story
  • Wednesday 8th March - Cuttin' A Rug by John Byrne
  • Saturday 25th March - Casanova with the Northern Ballet
  • Wednesday 19th April - Nell Gwynn by the English Touring Theatre
A letter has been sent by post or email to all those who have expressed interest in the Theatre Group activities. It details the shows, dates and prices and also includes a booking form to complete and return should you wish to attend any of these shows. Please note that the booking forms need to be returned by Friday 27th January.
If you did not receive these details and wish to be included in the Theatre Group mailings or need to update your email address, please contact our mailbox at sl.pensioners.association@gmail.com.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Strollers Walk No.213 - Thursday 26th January 2017, Historic Walk from Lawnmarket to Parliament Square


In typical Strollers fashion we chose a cold but sunny day to have a tour of the High Street for our January walk. Preceding days had been quite mild but a difference of at least 10 degrees between Wednesday and Thursday meant it was a day to wrap up. 57 Strollers gathered at The Hub, which is a category A listed building. The Hub’s spire is the highest point in central Edinburgh, constructed between 1842 and 1845 as the Victoria Hall, to house the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland but never consecrated as a Church. In 1929 the Church of Scotland ceased to use the building and it became a temporary home for a variety of congregations. It was named the Highland Tolbooth St John’s Church in 1956, before falling into disuse in the 1980s. In 1999, the building was transformed into The Hub, the offices and a performance space for the Edinburgh International Festival. The spire on the Hub was also used by Playfair when he designed the Assembly Hall on the Mound to create an illusion from below that the spire was actually part of the assembly hall. This saved him a lot of money!
Moving over to
Milnes Court one of the first open squares in old Edinburgh, designed and Built by Robert Mylne in the late 17th Century who was also involved in the upgrades to Holyrood Palace. The old buildings which formed the West side of the court were demolished in 1883. The North and South blocks were restored and the east range rebuilt by The University of Edinburgh between 1966 and 1970.
Continuing on down the High Street to James Court built between 1723-7 by a developer called James Brownhill. His plan was for a courtyard building of exclusive apartments, following the style Milne’s Court. Straight away it became one of the most fashionable addresses in Edinburgh, with an air of exclusivity in the same way as a gated community today. The residents formed a committee which organised assemblies and other social events. James Court even employed its own scavenger or dung collector, rather than rely on those paid by the council. We also heard about Deacon Brodie and Jekyll and Hyde Robert Louis Stevenson’s version of the events.
Crossing the Royal Mile we stopped off at the Heart of Midlothian, the statue of the Duke of Buccleuch, heard about George Heriot and the site of the Tolbooth. In the square behind St Giles we discovered we were actually standing on a cemetery before heading into Parliament Hall and the law courts. This beautiful building was originally built by Charles I to house the Scottish Parliament, which it did but only up 1707. Our host there, Karen (different one), took us on a tour of the cells which were used to house prisoners pointing out that they were also used for executions, showing us the cell used to house Burke the body stealer, the piano room also with a coffin and providing us with some colourful stories about the rooms.
A very good finish to the walk and it was interesting to watch the QC’s pacing up and down the Parliament Hall as they have done since it was built.
Our thanks again to our Guides Karen and Helen for all the work done for the walks and we’ll see them again in February for our walk round Leith.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Annual General Meeting - Friday 3rd February 2017, Edinburgh

Our Annual General Meeting was held in The Royal Overseas League, Princes Street Edinburgh on the afternoon of Friday 3rd February 2017. Almost 90 members attended  the brief business meeting then enjoyed some social time over an afternoon tea of sandwiches and other nibbles. Full details, including a Chairman's Report were sent out to all members by email or post on 29th December 2016. 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, as perhaps you have changed your email address or your postal address. 

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Dates for Strollers Walks in 2017

Drew has updated the list of the dates for Strollers activities for your diary in 2017:
26/01/2017 Thursday   Historic Walk, High Street (top)
21/02/2017 Tuesday    Historic Walk, Leith
22/03/2017 Wednesday  Ocean Terminal to Silverknowes
20/04/2017 Thursday    Cramond to South Queensferry
22/05/2017 Monday      *** Volunteer wanted, Drew is on holiday ***
21/06/2017 Wednesday   Eddleston to Peebles
18/07/2017 Tuesday       Ratho Canal Walk
17/08/2017 Thursday    *** Volunteer welcome ***
12/09/2017 Tuesday     Fife Coastal Walk (note change of date)
18/10/2017 Wednesday   Borders??
16/11/2017 Thursday
07/12/2017 Thursday      Strollers Festive Lunch

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Strollers Walk No. 211 - Thursday 17th November 2016, Corstorphine Circular

Walk No. 211:   Corstorphine Circular Walk
Date:                Thursday 17th November
Distance:          2.75 miles approximately


Do we go on the walk or not? That was the question we asked ourselves on Thursday morning as the rain battered off the windows. But look, a bright spot appeared and a gap in the rain, so off we went - and so did another 26 Strollers. Just shows weather doesn’t stop our hardy bunch! Luckily the walk, starting at the site of the old Corstorphine Railway Station, was on tarmac, partly through Carrick-Knowe and then on to the new cycle and pedestrian path laid alongside the tram line and then back along the old railway line to Corstorphine.

Ian, who led us on the walk, explained that the station had originally been built with a long platform as it was intended to allow for troops arriving for a proposed new barracks, which did not materialise as the barracks were built at Redford instead.
Making our way to the end of Carrick-Knowe golf club, which lost some holes due to the tram line being built and had to do a bit of remodelling, Ian explained that at one time this area was the site of Corstorphine Loch which was drained in the 17th Century with the creation of the Stank Burn to take the water away. Corstorphine was actually between the loch and Gogar Loch, which now has the Gyle playing fields and shopping centre on it.
Making our way along the path towards the old Jenners Repository, now a storage area we turned and followed the old railway line to Pinkhill Station where the old station house is now a garage repair shop. Just up from that is the site of the Melville Bridge Club after their relocation from Haymarket. Back to the old Corstorphine Station area and time to go for something warm to eat and drink.
Thanks very much to Ian for arranging the walk and timing it so we didn’t get too much rain! Hope to see you all at a walk in 2017!

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Strollers Walk No. 212 - to Our Christmas Lunch on Thursday 8th December 2016

Our annual Strollers Christmas Lunch was held on Thursday 8th December at The Royal Scots Club in Edinburgh. After being piped into the room by Alex, Drew welcomed us then 85 festive Strollers enjoyed an excellent lunch followed by musical entertainment from our own Songsters. Many thanks to everyone involved in making our Strolling year such a success and to those who helped organise the day and entertain us. Most of all, thanks to Drew. Keep up the good work.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Strollers Walk No. 210 - Wednesday 19th October 2016, Peebles, Venlaw Hill, Janets Brae

Walk No. 210:   Peebles, Venlaw Hill, Soonhope Burn, Janet's Brae
Date:                Wednesday 19th October 2016
Distamce:         6 miles approximately

Started and finished at:     Edinburgh Road Car Park, Peebles

On what was supposed to be a sunny day but was a bit overcast, fourteen strollers met up for a walk round Venlaw and either a stroll down Soonhope Burn or a longer walk through Glentress forest. Walking up Venlaw, and passing the quarry from where the stone was quarried for a lot of the houses in Peebles, there was a slight flurry of rain but luckily it wasn’t heavy enough to expand the many puddles from the previous night’s rain. The slope down to the Soonhope Burn seemed steeper than last time but at least there was now a fence to hold on to. Crossing the burn and going up the hill to the path also seemed steeper, is this a memory or an age thing, or both? A couple of strollers elected to go back down the path by the Soonhope Burn passing the holiday cottages built after the Second World War and make their way down to Peebles. The rest declined the offer of going straight up the hill from where we were into Glentress and Janet’s Brae, and instead we followed the path up the Soonhope Burn and then cut off to follow the forest road into Glentress. It seemed to keep going up for a long time. Keeping our eyes peeled for cyclists we worked our way ever upwards to the Buzzards car park and a break for lunch. We didn’t see any buzzards just lots of happy cyclists on their school holidays and the ingenuity of one being pulled up the hill by a car and a tow rope. From there we made our way down Janet’s Brae and past Peebles Hydro back into Peebles and time for a snack before going home. Looking forward to a flatter railway path walk in November!
Many thanks yet again to Drew for arranging our walks. Hope to see you all in November. 

Monday, 5 September 2016

Strollers Walk No. 209 - Monday 19th September 2016, Union Canal, Colinton, Campbell Park

Walk No. 209:   Union Canal, Colinton, Campbell Park
Date:                Monday 19th September 2016
Start Time:       11:00
Duration:          2.5 hours approximately
Distance:          6 miles approximately
Meet at:           Boroughmuir Rugby Club, Meggetland, Edinburgh
Sixteen strollers met at Meggetland for a walk out to Blinkbonny near Currie via the Union Canal, Balerno railway line, Campbell Park and back by the Water of Leith Walkway. It turned out to be another excellent dry and hot day for a stroll. Walking out along the canal and admiring a bungalow which had been renovated and extended with a hot tub, which was in use on the way back but on the wrong side of the canal for us to join in. Crossing the canal aqueduct over the Water of Leith, avoiding cyclists and trying not to look down. It’s such a long way down even with a fence between you and the drop, it’s only 75 feet in old money but it looks a long way. From there over the Lanark Road and on to the Balerno Branch railway line which ceased running in 1967 and is now part of a National Cycle Route. Following this to Colinton Village through the curved Hailes railway tunnel, which is well lit and well surfaced, we passed Spylaw Park where the house is that used to belong to James Gillespie, founder of the school that bears his name. The house is now flats. Continuing on from there past the site of the old Scotts Porridge Oats factory, then up to Campbell Park for a lunch break. The gentle peace and quiet of the afternoon was suddenly shattered by the sports pavilion alarm going off, so it was time to beat a retreat and continue on our walk before questions were asked as to why it went off. Going along Woodhall Road and passing the new and very posh looking equestrian centre and then Woodhall House - a 17th century mansion remodelled in the 19th century, which at one time used to be a Jesuit retreat but is now flats and a family home. Making our way through the trees to Blinkbonny Road and down to the Water of Leith walkway to start our journey back, watching the buzzards circling and wondering whether we would all make it safely back to the start.
Thanks yet again to drew (and Eleanor) for organising this walk. Hope to see you all on the next walk.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Outing to Loch Lomond - Monday 12th September 2016


The fifth and last outing of 2016 took place on Monday 12 September, when we had a full day trip to Loch Lomond. 59 of us met at Waterloo Place, Edinburgh at 9.30am to join our coach on a dry morning in Edinburgh but with a poor forecast for the west of Scotland. Our coffee stop was at Mackinnon Mills, Coatbridge.  We then headed to Loch Lomond, with the weather still dry, but ran into rain on the approach to Balloch. We had a two-hour cruise up the Loch to Luss and back, it stayed dry most of the time but with low cloud and mist hanging over the Loch creating rather atmospheric views of the islands. After that we rejoined the coach for the short trip to the Loch Lomond Shores Visitor and Retail Centre.  We then headed to the Winnock Hotel in Drymen for high tea before returning via Striling and the M9 to Edinburgh. Thanks to all involved in organising this enjoyable outing.