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 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.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Strollers Walk No. 221 - Tuesday 12th September 2017, Burntisland to Kilkcaldy

Walk No. 221     Burntisland to Kirkcaldy on the Fife Coastal Path
Distance:            5 miles (if using buses) or up to 6.8 miles (if only using train)

Eighteen Strollers met up at Burntisland Links to walk the Fife Coastal Path to Kirkcaldy. Some came by car and some by train, though a couple of those on the train were too busy talking and ignored the announcement for Burntisland. They had to get off at Kinghorn and come back again. Luckily one of them had bought a ticket to Kinghorn anyway, though it was supposed to be to Kirkcaldy to allow for the journey home!
Having timed the walk to allow for the tide being out, we set off underneath the railway and on to the beach at the end of the esplanade to walk along the rather rocky section at the end of Burntisland. Wellington boots would have been an idea as us tail enders could have gone out a little further and just walked over the sand, even though there were still some pockets of water in dips. Passing the large Pettycur Caravan site where many people from Edinburgh used to holiday, we made our way along the beach to Pettycur Harbour, which at one time was a ferry link to Leith and Newhaven before a deeper harbour was built at Burntisland. Working our way up the hill from the harbour and on to Kinghorn, where we stopped at some picnic tables for a bite of lunch. Wilson however went the whole hog and decided on the healthy walker’s option of chips and beans followed by a scone at a local cafe! We passed the lifeboat station, where SL’s Mr Tulloch followed a long tradition of his sailing family by starting off manning the lifeboat to becoming Chairman and getting an MBE for his services.
Leaving Kinghorn we worked our way along the path towards Kirkcaldy seeing butterflies and gold Finches, then managing to see about 20 seals sunning themselves on the rocks below, as well as a few herons and cormorants in addition to the seagulls. Heading on past the ruins of Seafield Tower, built in the 16th century and believed to have been 5 stories high, we made our way along to Seafield. Passing the remains of the World War 2 sea wall where Mr Sharp used to spend time in his youth we finished our walk and headed for trains or buses.
Thanks to Alistair for ensuring the tide was out, the weather was good and for arranging a lovely walk. Can we be that lucky next time in October?

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Outing to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum - Thursday 21st September 2017

On Thursday 21st September, we had a very successful final outing for 2017, when 58 pensioners departed from a wet Edinburgh on the Big bus. We had a leisurely coffee stop at the Mackinnon Mills near Coatbridge, where we all had time for some retail therapy. We then travelled on to Glasgow to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, arriving in time for the half hour Organ recital at 1pm. The Organist played a variety of music including songs from the musicals.
Although we ended up with a lovely sunny day in Glasgow the wind was quite cold and with so much to see at Kelvingrove we did not venture elsewhere. The bus driver was lucky as he was able to park at Kelvingrove for the whole time we were there, so it was an easy departure to Grangemouth for High Tea. This was at the Leapark Hotel and most said they thought it was one of the best yet. Thanks to everyone involved in organising our summer coach outings this year

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Strollers Walk No. 220 - Thursday 17th August 2017, Earlston Circular Walk

Walk No. 220:    Earlston Circular
Date:                 Thursday 17th August 2017
Started at:         The War Memorial, Earlston
Summary:         On a warm and sunny day where the temperatures soared to 21 degrees nineteen Strollers met up for this walk. Leaving Earlston and going up a hill which gave views back over the village and to the Black Hill, Ruberslaw and the Eildons. Following the path down into Carolside Woods where Moira lived up to her reputation and people were heard calling her name, Muddy Moira, at least I think that’s what they were saying. The previous day’s heavy rain had made some bits of the path slightly damp to say the least.
At one point we had a nice view of the Park Bridge where we were to stop for a break. Then it was time to head down and cross the A68 into the trees on the other side, down to the Leader Water and over the first suspension bridge which everyone took great joy in bouncing their way across. As usual having got down it was time to go back up. I don’t remember Moira mentioning all these steps in the description. Then down to Park Bridge for a view of Carolside House, which
is a late-18th-century category B listed building and is set in a former deer park. The grounds have a Historical Collection of ancient roses including a National Collection of pre-1900 Gallica roses and are open to the public in July each year. While at the bridge kingfishers were spotted as well as fish jumping in the water. Back on the trail passing Clackmae farm with its herd of Holstein cows, to the next suspension bridge where we failed to spot the sign that said 4 people at a time! Possibly a little more bouncy than it should have been.
Our thanks to Moira for arranging the walk and the glorious weather.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Email addresses are being returned "Undelivered"

If you previously had an email address from Orange, Wanadoo, Freeserve, FSNet, etc., you will hopefully be aware that EE have shut down all these email systems as of 31st May 2017. You will have been forced to register with an alternative email provider and create a new email address. You will need to advise the Association of your new email address in order to continue to receive our emails. 
Unfortunately we are now getting a significant number of emails being returned as "Undelivered", because we have not been advised of your new email address.
 If you are affected, please get in touch with us at and let us know your new email address, thanks.

Outing to Inchcolm Abbey on the Maid of the Forth - Wednesday 23rd August 2017

The fourth of our Summer Outings was held on Wednesday 23rd August, when 32 members made the trip on the Maid of the Forth from South Queensferry to Inchcolm island.  After braving the parking area that was Waterloo Place, thanks to diversions for traffic at Easter Road/Abbeyhill starting earlier than was stated and problems with traffic lights, the coach travelled from Edinburgh stopping for coffee at Dobbie's near Livingston. This included a tour round the roundabout as Robbie the driver got confused by his sat-nav. It was then on to South Queensferry and boarding  the ‘Maid of the Forth’ for our trip out to Inchcolm Island. Time for seal spotting on the way, with plenty time on the island to admire the Abbey and explore the old fortifications from the two World Wars. Returning back on the boat under all three bridges with opportunities to take photos of seals on marker buoys as well as getting some great views of the bridges from different angles.
Some people stayed on in South Queensferry for tea but the rest returned to Edinburgh and the on-going congestion.
Thanks to those who organised the outing and made it an enjoyable day as well as arranging a lovely day and calm water.

Please note: Many emails to members are now being returned "Undelivered", due to the closure by EE of several email systems. Please contact our mailbox at if you have changed your email address.