Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Outing to Traquair House and Peebles - Wednesday 16 May 2018

The first outing of 2018 takes place on Wednesday 16 May when we have a full day trip to Traquair House in Innerleithen and Peebles.  Members have today been sent details either by e-mail or by post. 

The coach will leave from Waterloo Place, Edinburgh at 10.00 am. Meet at bus stop ZE across from the Apex Hotel.

We will go directly to Traquair House where we will be split into two groups. One group will have coffee first followed by the tour, the second will have the tour first followed by coffee. We will then head to Peebles where there will be free time. High tea will be at The Green Tree Hotel in Peebles at approximately 4.30pm. 

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Summer Outings 2018 - Dates and Venues

The Committee have chosen some dates and venues for this summer's coach outings, as follows:
  • Wednesday 16th May - Traquair House and Peebles
  • Tuesday 12th June - Bannockburn (National Trust for Scotland)
  • Friday 27th July - Borders Union Show - Kelso
  • Thursday 23rd August - Carlisle Castle and Carlisle
  • Monday 24th September - Deanston Distillery and Callander
Letters and reply forms will be sent out in due course but get the dates in your diaries.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Strollers Walk No. 228 - Thursday 19th April 2018, Cramond Island - Guided Walk

It was a bit of a shock to turn up at Cramond for the April walk and find it was sunny, dry and warm, not something that could be said of the previous week. 

Forty Strollers assembled for the walk out to Cramond Island led by 3 guides from the Cramond Association. It’s always good to be with someone who knows the tides as well as giving some insight into the island and the surrounding area. 

We set out on to the causeway to walk out past the pylons, which look like a Toblerone bar,  built to during World War II though a couple have been removed to allow quick access back to  the harbour for the smaller yachts in the event of bad weather. The causeway is in actual fact built over the sewage pipe which passes under the island to exit on the other side. It now only supposed to be a back up to Seafield but there are thoughts that it does get used more than it should. 

Onto the island to hear about the history from its time as a home for fallen maidens, a farm, a place to hold a duel and settle old scores, its time as a fishing area and its history from World War II up to today where it hosts raves and is generally left in a sorry state. There was also evidence of the ice-age creating the lines on the rocks, as well as the site of the old quarry which at one time was used as a pleasure area for people staying o the island but is now filled in.   

Our own Ian S’s grandparents at one time occupied the house on the island and his mother and aunts holidayed there. It is also thought that the ‘duck’ house and the island were the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. It was soon time to head back before we became another RNLI statistic and enjoy lunch back on shore.   

Our thanks to Ian K for arranging the walk and to the Cramond Association guides.    

 Look forward to seeing you on the next walk. 

Strollers Walk No. 227 - Wednesday 21st March 2018, Musselburgh to Prestonpans

Walk No. 227:   Musselburgh to Prestonpans on the John Muir Way
Date:                Wednesday 21st March 2018
Start at:         Fisherrow Harbour
With the sky looking very grey and a westerly breeze to help push them on their way 37 Strollers met up at Musselburgh Harbour to walk the John Muir Way to Prestonpans. The Harbour was once a thriving fishing port from where the ‘fishwives’ with the baskets on their backs would then go into Edinburgh to sell the fish, and with the coming of the train all the way down to the borders to places like Galashiels.
Setting off along the trail to the mouth of the Esk and across the footbridge, down past Goosegreen where there wasn’t a goose to be seen, and on to the promenade to go past Levenhall Links and the ash Lagoons. This is where the ash from Cockenzie Power Station used to be dumped, but with its closure the lagoon area has been turned into a bird sanctuary and a boating pond. From there we followed the cycle path along to where Morrison’s Haven, or Harbour, used to exist. A lot of its trade was with the Baltic countries, which brought over rock salt, as well as trade with Portugal, France and Holland.A lot of bricks and coal was exported from the harbour. It fell into disuse in the 1920’s and was then filled in. There were mills and a fort in the area as well. On to Prestonpans to end our walk at the the totem pole and see the murals which depict the history and culture of Prestonpans. You can follow the trail of them round the town.

There is also a Prestonpans Tapestry, but it is not currently on display anywhere, as far as we know. It was last displayed in Lorient, Brittany in August 2017.
Thanks to Drew for arranging this walk. See you next month.

Other Tapestries:
The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry, which depicts scenes from Scots world-wide is currently on view in Stanley Mills, just north of Perth.
The Great Tapestry of Scotland is not on view at present but is scheduled to be displayed at New Lanark from May 2018.

Strollers Walk No. 226 - Thursday 22nd February 2018, Historic Walk - Dunfermline

Walk No. 228: Historic Walk - Dunfermline
Date :              Thursday 22nd February 2018

Dunfermline must have known the Strollers were coming as the sun came out for them to do a walk round the town centre, the Abbey and Pittencrieff Park. 46 Strollers met at the Bus Station to be led round the town by our tour guides Karen and Helen.
Starting at the High Street, taking in the grand town hall and walking along Bridge Street, with no sign of the stream underneath, to the gates of Pittencrieff Park where we heard how the original owner had diverted the main road into Dunfermline to avoid it going past his house. The estate was then bought by Andrew Carnegie who donated it to the town as a park. His wife Louise erected the splendid gates at the entrance to the park dedicated to his mother, daughter and granddaughter.
We then entered the park to hear about the many trees that were planted and the introduction of the grey squirrel there, as well as the many libraries and other foundations that Carnegie set up around the world. Going back further, the park was also the site of the original castle of Malcolm Canmore, King of Scotland, with Dunfermline as his capital. His second wife Margaret became Saint Margaret after her death. It was under her guidance that Dunfermline Abbey was started as a church and built by Benedictine Monks from England. The Palace was built by James VI for his wife Anne of Denmark and it’s where his sons were born.
It was then down to the Andrew Carnegie Museum, which our guides had arranged to be open for us, to learn more about the background and history of a man who went from being the son of a weaver to the richest man in the world. There were also connections with SL by way of a donation to the family of an SL employee killed while stopping a runaway horse in Edinburgh and also that Carnegie’s estate in Skibo had been bought from SL, presumably as trustees of the estate after the previous owner went bankrupt.
Finally back up to the Abbey to hear a ghost story, or as it turned out how someone came back to life after being buried and how she went on to live a long life and have children. The graveyard is also the resting place of William Wallace’s mother and an elder tree stands above her grave. The Abbey also had a rule for a long time that the gravestones could be no more than 12 inches high so as not to be unsightly or be in danger of falling over.
Our thanks again to our Guides Karen and Helen for making the day a very interesting one and we’ll see them again next year.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Association Annual General Meeting - Friday 9th February 2018

This year's Annual General Meeting was held on Friday 9th February 2018 at the Royal Scots Club in Abercromby Place, Edinburgh. 61 members attended and apologies were received from at least another 16. Those who attended enjoyed a pleasant social afternon, once the brief formal business had been completed. Many thanks to those who attended for giving our Committee their support. If any member wishes to see a copy of the minutes of the AGM, please drop a note to our mailbox and you will be sent a copy, thanks.

Strollers Walk No. 225 - Tuesday 23rd January 2018, Historic Walk - Learmonth Estate

Walk Number 225:  Historic Walk in and around the Learmont Estate in Edinburgh
Date:                       Tuesday 23rd January 2018

On a damp and at times breezy day 42 Strollers met at Lyndoch Place for a historic stroll round the Learmonth Estate led by our Blue Badge guides Helen and Karen. Beginning with tales of Ming the Merciless and his push to restore Lyndoch Place to its original state, repairing fencing, restoring lighting and gardens etc. – sorry, I meant Menzies Campbell. Then hearing about Kirk Brae House, the oldest part of which dates back to the 1680s, when as Baxters' House of Coll it was an inn, serving the bakers bringing flour from the Dean Mills. It was owned from 1860 by James 'Cabbie' Stewart who ran his cab-hire business from there for the next 60 years. You can still see the word Cab underneath the doorstep along with the sun-dial and bakers’ motifs on the walls.
Crossing the Dean Bridge designed by Thomas Telford and built by John Gibb of Aberdeen, it is
447 feet (136 m) long and 39 feet (12 m) broad, on four arches rising 106 feet (32 m) above the Water of Leith. It was built by John Learmonth who wanted to build houses on the other side of the Water of Leith, like the Moray Estate where he lived. The bridge was completed in 1831 but the bottom had fallen out of the housing market and the estate didn’t get built until the 1850’s.
Passing Holy Trinity Church which changed from a church to a power station and back to a church again, we crossed into Eton Place and the Learmonth Estate, wondering at how big their heating bills are given the size of the rooms. You could see the amount of restoration work being carried out by the new sandstone in the buildings and how bright the whole area must have been when first built. Stopping off at the mews behind Lennox Street to view the little lanes and entrances to the gardens at the back of the houses and gasp at how much a garage sells for in this area. Looking down into the Dean Tennis and Squash Centre which dates from 1884 and where the courts at one time were flooded and used for curling.
Back round and across to Belgrave Crescent, designed by John Chesser, who designed a lot of other housing developments around the West End to Haymarket, for John Steel a builder as well as a Lord Provost of Edinburgh. With beautiful balustrades and a lovely view over the gardens that go with houses, this was a different feel to the tenements that Steel usually built. We paused at the mews behind the Crescent to hear a short ghost story.
We finished up outside the Headquarters of the 603 Squadron on Learmonth Terrace which had originally been built in 1891 by Leith Architect James Simpson for Arthur Sanderson of VAT 69 fame. The interior was designed by W Scott Morton for Arthur Sanderson to display his extensive collection of art treasures, with each room being designed and decorated in the style appropriate to the artefacts it was to contain. In 1925, following Arthur Sanderson’s death, it was bought as the Town Headquarters for the newly formed 603 Squadron. They were the first RAF squadron to shoot down a German Plane during World War II.
Our thanks again to our Guides Karen and Helen for well researched and informative walk. We’ll see them again in February.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Pensioners Theatre Group - Shows booked for first half of 2018

Those who are on the circulation list for the Theatre Group should by now have recived an email detailing the three shows that have been booked at King's and Festival Theatres for February, March and June 2018. Postal letters have also been issued for those not on email and should arrive by the end of the year. Please note that replies and payment requires to be returned by Friday 12th January. If you are not on the Theatre Group email distribution list and would like to be added, please drop a note to sl.pensioners.association@gmail.com giving your name and post-code.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Strollers Walk No. 224 - Thursday 7th December 2017

Walk No. 224:   Strollers Christmas Lunch
Venue:              Royal Scots Club, Edinburgh

We all met up for a lovely lunch on Thursday 7th December, then were entertained by our very own Strollers Songsters. Many thanks to all involved in that and also thanks Drew for all your organisation, not just for the lunch but throughout the year. We really do appreciate your contribution to our outdoor exercise as well as our festive waistlines.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Strollers Walk No. 223 - Thursday 16th November 2017, Threipmuir, Harlaw to Juniper Green

Walk No. 223:       Threipmuir, Harlaw to Juniper Green
Date:                      Thursday 16h November 2017
Distance:                5 miles approximately
Start Time:             11:00
Start at:                  Balerno Terminus of Lothian Buses 44.
Finish at:                Juniper Green Village (on 44 bus route)
As the rain battered off the widows on the Thursday morning, we wondered if the weather forecast could be trusted - that the rest of day should be bright and sunny. For once the forecast was right and 32 Strollers met up in sunshine at the 44 bus terminus in Balerno to make their way to Juniper Green via the Threipmuir and Harlaw reservoirs.
Starting off from the terminus and going up to Threipmuir, with up being the key word, it seemed more than a puff factor 2 on the steepness rating. Obviously the coordinator had forgotten that bit of road. Dodging puddles and cars to arrive at Threipmuir reservoir with lovely clear views across the water and stroll along to Harlaw. For some reason no-one seemed keen on taking a dip for a bit of wild swimming. The reservoirs are no longer used as such but are now used for fishing and as part of the Water of Leith flood defence.
In addition Harlaw generates Hydro power. A 95kW hydro scheme takes water from the dam’s penstocks (reservoir dam outflows) returning flow to the dam discharge channel prior to it forming Bavelaw Burn. A new turbine house is located to the north east of the discharge channel at the foot of the Harlaw Reservoir dam immediately south of the disused building. The scheme will generate approximately 260,000kWh (units) of green electricity per year – enough for approximately 100 average houses – saving 129 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.
Stopping at the Ranger Station to use the facilities proved how good the Strollers are at queueing, with only 1 toilet available. From there we made our way east along the ridge past the farms of Harlaw and Wester Kinleith, admiring the views over the Forth Bridges and into Fife as well as out to the West. Passing lots of horses of all different size from small Shetland ponies to large working horses as well as varying colours of sheep. then along to Blinkbonny Village. Descending down on the Water of Leith walkway, and wondering how much sunlight will reach the houses being built on the site where all the Kinleith Mills used to stand.
Finishing up in Juniper Green still in time for people to get something to eat - which takes us on to the next “walk” which will be to the Lunch in Edinburgh and nice, dry and warm. Look forward to seeing you then.
Thanks to Drew for organising today’s walk and having trust in the weather forecast.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Strollers Walk No. 222 - Wednesday 18th October 2017, Roslin to Straiton

Walk No. 222      Roslin to Straiton
Date:                   Wednesday 18th October 2017
Distance:             5 miles approximately
Summary:           Eighteen Strollers met up in Roslin on a dreich and dull October Wednesday to walk along the old Edinburgh, Loanhead & Roslin railway line to Straiton. Given the weather we decided not to go through the woods as it would have been a bit squelchy and we didn’t want to perpetuate the myth that we only did walks with muddy paths. Setting out along Manse Road Andy regaled us with tales of Roslin from his youth, we think this was just to prove his memory was still there and that doing a ‘spin’ class hadn’t exhausted him totally.
As we strolled along, we passed the site where Dolly the sheep had been born and bred before becoming a display at the Museum of Scotland. Further on we stopped for a look at the monument to the Battle of Roslin which occurred in 1303. It's not quite clear whether this was a 'real' battle or an ambush of an English supply train. The 'romantic' view is that it was a fight over a woman,
Lady Margaret Ramsey of Dalhousie, but the numbers involved vary from about 1500 to over 30,000. If the latter, more might be known about it. We then made our way onto Bilston viaduct. Passenger services over the viaduct ended in 1933 but coal traffic to Roslin Colliery continued to pass over it until June 1969. The central span is 140 feet up from the ground below and we’re sure if it hadn’t been misty we would have had some nice views! It was renovated in 1999 as part of the opening up of the cycleway at a cost of £1.5 million. Passing through Loanhead where coal was mined from around 1685, with a paper mill, in the valley of the River North Esk to the south of the town, commencing in 1742. Unfortunately none of these industries exist anymore. Loanhead is probably most famous for being the home of Alex Young the Hearts, Everton and Scotland forward.
Continuing on we made our way to Straiton Pond which is now a Local Nature Reserve. For over a century the pond was a working clay pit, supplying local brickworks with blue clay. The reserve has changed a good deal since the last clay was extracted, and is now a pretty and peaceful spot for a picnic, stroll or bird watch, but not today.
We finished the walk at Straiton Retail Park. Thanks to Drew for arranging yet another walk for us.
Let’s hope for better weather in November.