Saturday, 11 October 2014

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

Date:            Tuesday 21st October 2014
Start Time:   11:00
Distance:     A circular walk of 3.5 miles, approximately
Duration:      2 hours, approximately
Start at:        Braid Hills Hotel, 134 Braid Road, Edinburgh, EH10 6JD
Note: pre-walk refreshments are available at the Braid HillsHotel. A private room has been arranged for us and cost would be £2.95 per person for tea/coffe, with biscuits and shortbread.
Post-walk, you could have a picnic lunch outside the Hermitage of Braid near the end of the walk, or continue back to the Braid Hills Hotel, the Buckstone Pub & kitchen or elsewhere for an indoor lunch.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

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

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

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

Friday, 15 August 2014

Theatre Group - Christmas Pantomime 2014

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

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Outing on Monday 8th September 2014 to Perth Racecourse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Outing on Wednesday 6th August 2014 to Pitlochry Festival Theatre

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

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


Thursday, 3 July 2014

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Outing on 17th July 2014 to Chillingham Castle


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

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

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

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

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

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


Thursday, 5 June 2014

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


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


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

Thanks to Alasdair and Jill for arranging this walk.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

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


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

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

Saturday, 3 May 2014

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

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

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

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

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




Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Outing on Friday 9th May 2014 to New Lanark

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

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

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

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

Many thanks to Ronnie for arranging this outing.

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

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

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

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
Chairman

Strollers Walks - Dates for 2014

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

 
Date
Day
21 January
Tuesday
20 February
Thursday
19 March
Wednesday
24 April
Thursday
19 May
Monday
25 June
Wednesday
22 July
Tuesday
21 August
Thursday
22 September
Monday
21October
Tuesday
19 November
Wednesday
4 December
Thursday

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.