Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Dates of Summer Outings 2014

The committee are in the final stages of planning the coach outings for this summer. If you want to get dates into your diaries, here is a summary of what we are planning.
  • Friday 9th May - New Lanark
  • Tuesday 17th June - Callendar House and The Falkirk Wheel
  • Thursday 17th July - Chillingham Castle and Gardens, near Wooler, Northumberland
  • Wednesday 6th August - "Whisky Kisses" (Musical) at Pitlochry Festival Theatre
  • Monday 8th September - Scottish Food and Drink Race Day, Perth Racecourse
More details will be available in due course.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Strollers Walk No. 179, Wednesday 19th March 2014, Silverknowes, Cramond and Barnton

Date:             Wednesday 19th March 2014
Start Time:    11:15
Distance:       3.5 miles
Duration;        2 hours
Start at:         Lauriston Farm Toby Carvery Car Park 
Finish at:       Same as above (circular walk)

On a bright sunny morning, if a tad breezy, twenty-seven strollers met at the Lauriston Farm restaurant for a circular stroll round Silverknowes, Cramond and Barnton. We started off through Silverknowes, which was one of the areas considered for Edinburgh airport in the 1930’s but instead it was sold for housing. Some of the land was also used for Silverknowes Golf Course which whilst started in the 1930’s was not completed until the 1950’s as an 18 hole course, with Broomfield House initially used as the clubhouse. We made our way down to Silverknowes Promenade which was built in the 1940’s and has great views out to Cramond Island. The island can be reached by the causeway which was built as part of the Second World War II defences. Just watch the tide times if going out to visit. At the end of the promenade we came to Cramond Village at the mouth of the River Almond which dates back to Roman times although ruins have also been found of earlier occupation. The most famous find is the Cramond Lioness found in 1997 and is now on show in the Museum of Scotland and is thought to be from the tomb of a Roman Commander.

As we continued our way up the Almond and out of the wind, we passed the site of cuttings into the far bank which were moorings for boats collecting stone from the Craigiemill Quarry. There were also mills and a dam here and the weir where our walk leader used to play as a child. Not sure if that ties in with the Roman History or later. We continued our walk up the river and up and over the flight of steps, glad they were short, continuing on to beneath the old Crammond Bridge across the Almond.

Walking up from there to Barnton we passed the impressive West Gates of Barnton House. These date from 1810 and were just one of the entrances to Barnton House. Strolling on through between the golf courses of Royal Burgess and Bruntsfield, both courses with a history which goes back almost 250 years although they have only been here since the 1890’s. A chance to admire the large houses and plan for that little bijou residence.

We returned to the Lauriston Farm restaurant where quite a few stayed for lunch.
Our thanks to Ronnie for arranging the walk and the car parking.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Strollers Walk No. 177(178?) - Thursday 20 February 2014 - The Lower Road of Old Edinburgh

Date:           Thursday 20th February 2014
Start Time:  10:45  (please note earlier start)
Duration:     Approximately 2.5 hours
Meet at:      Chambers Street Museum, Ground Floor (by the cafe)

This was a guided walk (by Blue-Badge Guides) through parts of Old Edinburgh. We started the walk in the ‘Old Quad’ at the University Of Edinburgh, next to the Museum. The Quad was the site of Kirk O’ Fields, where plotters tried to blow up Lord Darnley (husband of Mary Queen of Scots). We moved on to the site of the Argyle Brewery tucked in behind the buildings in Chambers Street, opposite the Museum. It seems to be theme on these walks to find old breweries.
On down Guthrie Street, named after Dr Thomas Guthrie Minister and Moderator of the Church of Scotland as well as founder of ‘Ragged Schools’ for poor children. It was in this area that Sir Walter Scott lived as a child. From there we continued down to the Cowgate, aptly named as the way into town for the cattle on market days. At one point this was where the rich people of Edinburgh lived, it then became the home to migrating Irish during the potato famine and the local church, St Patrick’ s, was where Hibernian FC was started. Irish freedom fighter James Connelly was born in the Cowgate in 1868.
We then went into Magdalene Chapel, started in 1541, with the only remaining pre-Reformation stained glass windows left in Scotland, home to the Hammerman Crafts. Well worth a visit to find out about its history and its links with Covenanters as well as the Brods on the walls.
On to the Grassmarket to hear more about the Covenanters and Rabbie Burns, to see the insignia for Glasgow on one of the walls to show where the coach left from to go to Glasgow. Down Kings Stables Road oddly enough site of where the Royal Stables were and also the jousting grounds for the army.
We paused on our way into the Princess Street Gardens at the statue of ‘Bum’, a three legged dog and San Diego’s version of Greyfriars Bobby, and finished at St Cuthbert's Church. It was here that Agatha Christie was married in secret. It also contains a plaque to John Napier founder of the University and logarithm expert. The church also has a magnificent marble and alabaster Pulpit with beautiful painted ceiling as well as a Tiffany stained glass window. There is also a marble lined Memorial Chapel to those who fell in the wars.
Many thanks to Drew and to our two guides on this interesting walk. Here’s to the walk in March, round Silverknowes and Cramond.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Strollers Walk No. 177, Tuesday 21st January 2014, Historic Walk - Edinburgh's Southern Frontier

Forty six strollers met at the museum in Chambers Street on a fine, almost balmy day (for January), ready for a Historic Stroll round the Meadows area of Edinburgh. Forty five then set out, as the organiser was too busy counting money and then couldn't find the group as they had gone into hiding behind hotels and Greyfriars. Proof that a mobile phone does come in handy!

Up through Quartermile, discovering why it’s called that (because it is that long), about heads on pikes and about the ghostly headless lady, our blue badge guides took us on a meandering stroll providing lots of tit-bits of information along the way. Explaining that the Meadows was once a loch, the Borough Loch, that originally provided drinking water for Edinburgh, was used for washing clothes in and provided water to the breweries that used to circle it. Not sure of the quality of the water with all that going on. We visited the site where one of the breweries used to stand, followed by Archers Hall and onwards to the 'Dick Vet' at Summerhall.
Then it was on past Sciennes House to the Jewish cemetery, which came as a surprise even to people who stayed in that area. We continued through Sciennes, a corruption of Sienna, after the convent that used to be there and took time to look at the “holiday hut” or Sylvan house tucked in behind the terraces. It was back on to the Meadows to hear about the exhibitions that were held there and the differing plans that had all been rejected, long before the creation of the Meadows as a Millennium Park, Which protects it from any future schemes to build on it.
We finished at Bruntsfield Links, formerly the Borough Muir, after what was a slightly longer walk than normal as our guides got carried away. It was now time for a late lunch.

Many thanks to organiser Drew and guides Karen and Helen for an interesting walk.
Details of the next Historic Walk, to the Grassmarket, will be sent out at the start of February.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Pensioners' Association - Annual General Meeting - Wednesday 15th January 2014

The Annual General Meeting of the Pensioners' Association took place on the evening of Wednesday 15th January 2014 at the Heriot's Rugby Club, Goldenacre, Edinburgh.

The chairman presented a summary of his Annual Report, which had previously been circulated to all members. He also summarised he key points from the Treasurer's report on the Accounts, which were available for inspection that evening. The existing committee were all re-elected unopposed.

The evening was then a social gathering, with an excellent supper of haggis neeps and tatties. 

Many thanks to all who attended the meeting. Alistair Buchanan

Strollers Walks - Dates for 2014

Here is a list of the intended dates for Strollers Walks in 2014

21 January
20 February
19 March
24 April
19 May
25 June
22 July
21 August
22 September
19 November
4 December

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Theatre Group - Programme for 2014 and Booking Arrangements

The Theatre Group sub-committee have arranged a programme of matinee shows for 2014 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 Wednesday 11th December 2013.

The shows are:
Singin' In The Rain, Festival Theatre, Thursday 27th February 2014 at 2:30pm
Robin Cousins ICE, Festival Theatre, Thursday 27th March 2014 at 2:30pm
Brassed Off, King's Theatre, Wednesday 30th April 2014 at 2:30pm
Regeneration, King's Theatre, Wednesday 1st October 2014 at 2:30pm.

Please note, I made an error in the first page of the details sent by email or post: the correct price for the show "Regeneration"  is £16.50 (as shown in the actual booking form page) and not £23.50. Apologies for my editing mistake.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Strollers Walk No. 175, Wednesday 20 November 2013, Musselburgh Circular Walk

Date:            Wednesday 20th November 2013
Distance:     5 miles approx.
Twenty six Strollers braved the wintry weather for the walk at Musselburgh. Conditions were slightly breezy but not too bad and we avoided the rain.

We set off from Musselburgh’s Fisherrow Harbour, after some had stocked up with bacon rolls and cups of coffee to fortify them selves for the walk. We made our way along the Promenade and crossed the River Esk to join the John Muir Way. Strangely there wasn't much bird life to be seen, apart from the ever present sea-gulls and a few oyster-catchers, but not much else. We must have frightened them away, or was it the weather.

We made our way along the foreshore to Levenhall then turned inland and doubled back to the bird hides to look for birds on the ash-ponds. They had all gone as well, only some oyster-catchers again! Luckily we saw some swans on the bigger pond after leaving the bird hides. Moving on, we joined the Musselburgh racetrack, where some Strollers got confused and went off the rails in the other direction. The rest of us continued along past the racetrack and golf course, passing the 'old' golf clubhouse and the grand-stands for the race track.

Making our way back to the River Esk, we passed the many buildings of Lorretto School, where we parted ways with some more Strollers, as the lure of the High Street shops and cafes was too strong for them. While crossing back over the river we managed to find a lot of Canadian and Greyback Geese, so the walk had been worth it after all. Passing more Lorretto School buildings (how much of Musselburgh do they own?), we made our way back to Fisherrow Harbour and into a breeze which had now turned into a gale. It was time for more coffee and rolls.

The first walk of 2014 will be on Tuesday 21st January, but looking forward to seeing some of you before then at the lunch in December.

Note: the Strollers Group takes no responsibility for any loss or injury incurred during their activities. All walkers are responsible for their own safety and are required to take all reasonable steps to ensure their own and fellow walkers' safety whilst on the walk.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Strollers Walk No. 174, Tuesday 22 October 2013, Roseburn to Leith

There were thirty three Strollers on this walk led by Ian K… along the former track of the Caledonian Railway Branch Line from Roseburn to Leith. It turned out to be a slightly damp day, however as the path was tarmac with only a few puddles to navigate, only people with leaky shoes found it a problem. 

The route was interesting and as we strolled along people tried to work out where we were, thanks to the different perspective this route gave on well known places.
·         Crossing over the Water of Leith to look down on the other walkway which would almost lead to the same destination
·         Skirting the Craigleith shopping centre, originally a quarry
·         On to Crew Toll passing what everyone knew as Ferranti and then the Parsons Peebles site which is now flats
·         Discovering the Spartans football ground, Morrisons Supermarket and Ferryfield Care Home
·         Past Granton Road, Trinity school and crossing the other paths which lead to Granton Harbour, Newhaven or back up to Powderhall and Scotland Street.

At least it wasn't easy to lose anyone on this path and Ian stopped now and again to let people know where we were, divulge the odd interesting fact and tell us where you could go for a bus if you wanted to cut the walk short. It was nice to walk all the way to Ocean Terminal for a view of the Britannia and some lunch. 

Our thanks to Ian for leading us on this walk, even in the rain. 

Details of the November walk will be sent out at the start of the month.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Strollers Walk No. 173, Monday 23 September 2013, Peebles to Innerleithen

A jaunt to Peebles for a stroll along the 'old' railway line to Innerleithen.
Twenty Strollers started off on this walk but we picked up a straggler on the way and finished up with twenty one, enjoying a nice warm day. We made our way from the Peebles car park along the Tweed to Janet’s Brae, where we joined the 'old' railway line. As we strolled along the path we passed the site of a Roman Camp at Esheils and then the ruins of Horsburgh Castle. There was a rapid ducking of heads as we passed Cardrona Golf Course when a shout of 'fore' was followed closely by a ball landing beside us on th path.

Then it was time for lunch at Cardrona, where ”china service” was enjoyed by some at the café on the old station platform. After than, we continued on to Innerleithen via Cardrona Village and across the new footbridge over the Tweed at the end of the golf course. We had time to admire the river views and then the ponies before heading for Caldwell's ice cream parlour in Innerleithen at the end of our walk. Finally it was time to catch the bus back to Peebles or on to Edinburgh.

Thanks once again to Drew and Eleanor for leading us on this walk.
The next walk (on 22nd October) is from Roseburn to Leith. Hope to see you then.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Theatre Group - Christmas Pantomime at Kings Theatre

As you are probably aware, we have formed our own Theatre Group with its own committee to take over the organisation of any theatre trips, including the annual visit to the Christmas Pantomime.
This year’s pantomime is Peter Pan at the Kings Theatre, Edinburgh.

We have made a provisional booking for the Matinee Performance at 2.00pm on Tuesday 10 December 2013.
The tickets will cost £16 each. (Note: Wheelchair & Escort spaces are £13 each).

Details of how to book for this have been circulated by email or post (as appropriate) to those who expressed an interest in the Theatre Group earlier this year. Please note that booking forms and cheques should be returned to Moira XXXXXXX to arrive no later than 23 September 2013.

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.
The tickets you order will be posted out to you later, in October.

If you are interested in coming to the panto, but have not "joined" the Theatre Group earlier this year, please drop me a note at and I'll check that you can be added to my distribution list and send you out the full details.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Outing on Thursday 12th September 2013 to Badenoch & Strathspey Steam Railway

The fifth and final outing of 2013 took place on Thursday 12th September, when we had a full day trip to the Badenoch & Strathspey Steam Railway in Aviemore. A full coach of 55 enjoyed a good day out. Coffee stop was at the House of Bruar before we headed to Aviemore to join the steam train for the journey to Broomhill via Boat of Garten and back. Most of us enjoyed some tea / coffee and shortbread served at our seats on the train.

The happy smiling faces that left the train at Aviemore to rejoin the coach told the whole story of the success of this trip. We then enjoyed a good meal at the Westlands
Hotel in Pitlochry before our return journey to Edinburgh. Many thanks to all involved in organising a great day out.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Strollers Walk No. 172, Thursday 22 August 2103, Hardens Hill to Duns via Duns Castle

Date:             Thursday 22 August 2013
Start Time:    11:00 a.m.
Distance:       3.5 miles approx.
Duration:       2 hours approx.
Meet at:        The Market Square, Duns, Berwickshire
Please also note that this is not a circular walk.

It was like a re-make of the 'Dirty Dozen' with twelve intrepid Strollers escaping the gloom and murk of the Lothians to make their way to sunny Duns in Berwickshire. Well, almost sunny, but certainly brighter and warmer than Edinburgh. They met up at the Market Square in Duns, to fortify themselves with bacon rolls or cakes depending on preference. Then it was off by car to Hardens Hill, an odd way to start a walk, but it saved walking up the hill past the Golf Course to the start of the walk. Thanks to our chauffeurs who, like the Grand Old Duke of York, went up the Hill and down again, and then up again, and back down again.

The walk started with a short incline to where we could admire the views and see where Robert Burns once sat. The rest of the walk was downhill all the way. With a good track to walk on and with only the bees and birds for company, it didn't seem long till we reached the bottom and worked our way past 'Hen Poo' lake and the road to Duns Castle. It was then back down to Duns and the obligatory search for a hostelry for lunch.

Our thanks to Moira for arranging the walk but it’s strange how she could still find us muddy bits to go through on a tarmacadam’d road.

Hope to see more Strollers turning out for the next walk, which should be to the Peebles / Innerleithen area and is provisionally scheduled for 23rd September.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Outing on Monday 19th August to Paxton House

71 people attended the outing to Paxton House on 19th August.  They enjoyed lovely big scones with their morning tea/coffe at the Carfrae Mill Hotel en route to Berwick.  Paxton house was very good - we had two guides and the group was split over four tour times: 12.45, 1 pm then 2.15 & 2.30. The weather was good and we did have some sun.  High tea at Kelso was good too and left enough time for some people to manage to do a little bit of shopping in the town.

Remember: Postal information is only mailed to those members who specifically requested details by returning the little form at the end of the notification of the Ayr outing back in April. If you did not do this and do not have an email address, please get in touch with any of our committee and ask them to send me an email at with your name and postal code, thanks.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Strollers Walk No. 171, Wednesday 24th July, Falkland

Outing Number 171:     Falkland - Pillars of Hercules
Date:                           Wednesday 24th July 2013

Distance:                     5 miles circular walk (well, more of a long rectangle actually)
Duration:                      3 hours approx.

Meet at:                       Pillars of Hercules Cafe (on A912 past Falkland, going north-west)
Twenty strollers came along to Falkland to take up the challenge of Hercules and move the Pillars. Given the weather the night before - thunder, lightning and heavy rain - and then passing the motorway signs on Wednesday morning warning of more heavy rain, it was a big surprise to get hot sunny weather for the whole walk.
Setting out from the Pillars of Hercules café along the very straight road and cycle path to Strathmiglo, we met with a horse and carriage out practising for an event. The things you see on a Strollers walk. All too soon it was time to stop for lunch; was Rory really setting that fast a pace or was Moira just so happy she was skipping along the road. Alistair took up residence in the willow hut to denote his position in the group while the rest of us sat round a picnic table or on the ground.
After lunch it was time to climb the hill up to the higher forest trail and work back towards the cafe, with time to stop on the crags and admire the views, without going too close to the edge for those that suffer from vertigo. Meeting up with a serious walking group with full backpacks, tents water panniers and big kettles made our small backpacks and empty lunch boxes seem rather inadequate. All too soon, but bang on the predicted time, we were back at the cafe with time for a cake or more before heading for home.
Many thanks to Drew and Eleanor for getting us out into unfamiliar countryside for this interesting walk. Here’s hoping the weather stays like this for the remaining walks.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Outing on Friday 26th July to the Border Union Show in Kelso

Over 60 members enjoyed a glorious sunny day at the Borders Union Annual Show in Springwood Park, Kelso on Friday 26th July. Highlights included horse show-jumping, sheep shearing, agricultural equipment, craft and food halls. Sophie, Countess of Wessex, apparently was there that day too, in her role as Patron of the Show, but I don't think any of us actually managed to spot her, although some noticed the additional security at one point.

Hight tea at the Kingsknowe Hotel in Galashiels was enjoyed by all and our two coach drivers dropped off many happy pensioners on the routes back into Edinburgh.

Thanks to all for their roles in organising this good day out.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Strollers Walk No. 170, Tuesday 25th June 2013

Outing No. 170:       Flotterstone to Loganlea (Pentland Hill Regional Park)
Date:                      Tuesday 25th June 2013
Start time:               11.00
Distance                  6.5 miles (or 8 miles if extended from Loganlea to The Howe)
Duration:                 4 hours
Start at:                  The Flotterstone Inn
Finish at:                 Flotterstone Visitor Centre

On what turned out to be very pleasant day for a walk, twenty one Strollers met at Flotterstone to walk to Loganlea Reservoir. Some felt the need to load up on carbohydrates before starting out and partook of coffee and scones in the Flotterstone Inn.
Meeting in the car park it was then the turn of the midgies to have a feast. Setting off at brisk pace to escape them we made our way up the path and then followed the road past Glencorse reservoir. Between the reservoirs we had to navigate past the herd of cows that had come out of their field to have a look at us as we passed by.
At 'The Howe' some stopped for lunch, while others walked on a little further to look at the waterfall and some decided a sit down lunch back at the Flotterstone Inn seemed a more comfortable attraction. Time to return with some taking a slight detour on the way back climbing a short distance up Castlelaw Hill to get a view down the Reservoir and walk back skirting the edge of the firing range.
Our thanks to Alasdair and Jill Niven for arranging the walk, scones and a nice day.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Outing on Wednesday 19th June to Trossachs and Loch Katrine

The second outing of 2013 took place on Wednesday 19th June, when more than 70 of us enjoyed  a full day trip to the Trossachs and a sail on Loch Katrine on the Sir Walter Scott. The weather for the trip was very good, making the visibility of the hills and loch superb. We just caught our 1pm boat trip at the last minute, after a delay on the shores of Loch Venachar while too many coaches squeezed past each other on too narrow a road. Great credit is due to our two coach drivers for getting us past unscathed. After the cruise we had some time ashore at Loch Katrine, before moving to Callander in time to visit the shops. Then high tea at the Dreadnought Hotel was enjoyed by all before the coaches returned to Edinburgh.

Many thanks to Carole and the others who were involved in organising this enjoyable day out.

Strollers Walk No. 169, Monday 20th May 2013

Walk No. 169 :     Almondell and Lin's Mill Loop
Date:                   Monday 20th may 2013
Distance:            4.75 miles approx.
Start Time:          11:00 am
Duration:             2.5 hours
Twent-six strollers ventured out to Almondell Country Park on what turned out to be a hot and sultry day. Gipsy Rose Lee would have been proud of the striptease acts as we went round the park.

After leaving the south car park we stopped off at the visitor centre for a comfort break and to view the Kirkhill Astronomical Pillar which shows observations made by Lord Cardross in the 18th century. A fortuitous stop, as the guide at the shop came out to advise us that the footbridge over the River Almond was being worked on, so we had to retrace our steps almost to the car park and take a different route to join our intended path.

Working our way along the path, over stiles, down steps, up steps we made our way to Lins Mill Aqueduct which is part of the Union canal, to stop for some lunch. We were delighted to be joined by three canal barges of the Seagull Trust, one of which was crewed by former work colleagues Dave Hoskins and Maureen Purdie. Some of us used this to advantage and rather than go down the steps and back up the other side of the canal we hopped on the barge and off the other side.

Continuing our loop back round via the Drumshoreland Moss where William Wallace is reputed to have hunted, we made our way back to the visitor centre where a great trade was done in ice-cream and ice-lollies!  A first for this year.
Gail's Coffee Shop in nearby Veitch's Garden Centre also did a reasonable trade for tea and scones before the walk and some more refreshments afterwards.

Thanks to John Sharp for leading the walk and arranging a lovely day for it

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Outing on Tuesday 7th May 2013 to David Livingstone Centre

46 happy pensioners enjoyed a glorious day out on Tuesday 7th May. The venues had to be hastily arranged after the original planned outing to Ayr Racecourse was cancelled when the scheduled race meeting was a abandoned.  Instead we had an interesting visit to the David Livingstone Centre in Blantyre, then a visit to the Whitelee Windfarm Visitor Centre on Eaglesham moor before having High Tea at the Fenwick Hotel near Kilmarnock. The weather sunny and hot (for a change) with very little wind, but the turbines at Whitelee were still turning.

Next outing is on Wednesday 19th June to The Trossachs and Loch Katrine, with a sail on the Sir Walter Scott. Details will be sent out soon. Let's hope for great weather then too.