Saturday, 6 December 2014

'Lammer Law' the 'K2' of the Lammermuir Hills.

Working shifts gives me plenty of mid week rest days to enjoy when everyone else is working making often busy places quiet places, so I planned to head for somewhere in the Lammermuir Hills which are normally quiet anyway.
 I love the Lammermuirs there's so many places to go & lots of yester year history, but my new found Trig Point bagging made me think of Lammer Law which I visited at the start of the year.
Lammer Law is the second highest of the Lammermuir Hills reaching a height of 528m (1,732 ft) but it is probably the most impressive as the gradient is steeper giving you the feeling that you are on the top of a high hill, not only that but it has superb 360 degree views.
The highest of the Lammermuir Hills is called Meikle Says Law at a height of 535m (1,755 ft) but although slightly higher it does not appear so as it is on a fairly flat plain...

 ...So with fresh legs it was off I went straight into battle with a big long hill to climb.

 A transition in terrain as the tar-mac stops & the off road begins.

The route to Lammer Law is pretty straight forward, just follow the Land Rover track.

 It's a long haul to the top but nothing too taxing, although in a wind I think it could be a real struggle especially the further you climb as the gradient gets steeper & the track becomes rougher due to the rain water gouging out the looser stones creating ruts

Stopping for my first breather it's nice to look back to see how high Iv'e climbed & to take in the views.

 At this point the track gets steeper, but worth all the effort.

 After a few attempts to take a picture of the dozens & dozens of red grouse leaping up in front of me, I finally managed to get a snap & a picture of their droppings that were everywhere. All around they were making their distinctive burbling calls as they jump up out of nowhere only a matter of feet away then glide over the heather covered moors to a safer place. This one is a male as the males have the prominent red crest above their eyes. They have a very basic diet of shoots & flowers of heather, berries & sometimes insects.

Climbing forever higher it was starting to get really cold as there was a biting cold breeze near the summit & from here looking between the rolling hills I caught my first glimpse of the Hopes reservoir.

And lots of ice filled puddles go to show how much colder it was up here.
 As I neared the top I thought that I was starting to hear voices in my head !! So I was very glad when I saw these walkers appear over the horizon, they were a very happy bunch of walkers too with big beaming smiles, happy pleasantries & they all seemed very happy to see someone else up here.
Looking down over the lowlands there was a strange sight to behold as everywhere was under a dull blanket of cloud there was this one huge fissure of sunlight  breaking through lighting up the lowlands below. Hard to see by this picture but it really did look extremely odd.

 North Berwick Law, the Bass Rock & Traprain Law far in the distance looking very prehistoric & menacing within the flatness of their surroundings.

And finally the hard work pushing the pedals uphill has paid off, the summit cairn of Lammer Law & the second highest hill of the Lammermuir Hills. It was absolutely freezing up here the wind chill must of been a few degrees minus, but with stunning 360 degree views it was well worth it, & another Trig Point bagged too.

 Views of the Lammermuirs, the Lothian lowlands & the Pentland hills in Edinburgh. 
Notice the light fissure & the sun rays streaking through.

 The Eildon hills & Lothian lowlands.

Heather burning in the far of distance.
Someone has made little stone nests within Lammer Law cairn six in total, maybe just to get a break from the wind :-/

 And the ever present wind turbines that have now become part of our landscape !

So a few more photos, a quick snack & another few photos then off I go for some rapid fire down hills.

I heard then spotted a pair of ravens but by the time I got my camera out & attempted to zoom in they had gone too far to get a photo but as luck would have it one of them veered off in a loop so passed me again, I was well pleased as these corvids are quite rare for these parts & are easily identified as they are huge compared to the common crow & have a different call.

At the top with some great pictures of the hills surrounding me & as quick as that I'm at the bottom wishing the hill was a bit longer.

 Iced frosted fungi.

 Splashing through the Hopes burn & onward to the Hopes reservoir.
Can you spot anything on the far off hill facing you ?...
...zooming in & there are the happy hill walkers I saw up on Lammer Law.

 The Hopes reservoir looked beautifully stunning today, the colours were so rich & earthy which really stood out.

 Looking over to the dam end of the reservoir.

 Bracket fungus looking like pancakes growing out of the birch tree.

I climbed down the bank to the boat shed for a look around & from here the water looked really clear  & going from a slight gentle ripple to pure flat & calm.

 Following the gravel road around the reservoir then over the stile down to the dam.
 Grouse shooting butts traversing up the hillside.

The reservoir draw off tower, funky fungi & a newly erected sign highlighting the dangers of reservoirs.

A new edition since my last visit here, the bridge over to the draw off tower now has a gate with a spiky fence around it which made me think that someone had broken into the draw off tower ?

I love the design & engineering that go into reservoirs & how well they can blend in to the surroundings keeping the area as natural as possible, unlike those awful & horrific wind turbines.

 The inscription on the overflow bridge reads,
 'The arch of this bridge & the walls of this waterworks which it spans were brought from the Calton jail Edinburgh upon it's demolition 1930-31'
Recycling 1930's style.
Searched, found & signed a geocache named 'Gin & Tonic' which was located here under the juniper bush in above picture, so a trig point & a geocache bagged today. 

 From the geocache stash site it was along a single track passing by some curious fungi, then down the hill to the bottom of the dam. 

 I would like to know what the pinky/ white/ red berries are as I've no idea what they are even after searching on-line, but they look as if they would be more suited to a Japanese garden ? Someone maybe thought the same & ripped out their car seat to sit under the tree & wait for one of the berries to fall on their head & have a eureka Isaac Newton moment :-/

 Passing by the old run down wooden building & coming across the waterworks gate which has been lifted out to allow heavy plant through & the gate was well & truly concreted into position !
 Leaving the Hopes behind & onwards I go.

 An old ex-army Bedford truck used to transport the big paying grouse shooters up the hills to the shooting butts & I spotted this steep road climbing up the hillside which I researched on the map when I got home & it turns out that with a little detour from this track at the top I can then visit the highest of the Lammermuir Hills called 'Meikle Says Law' so that's one to put on the to-do list for another day.
An old ash tree that refuses to die.

I love these old finger posts & how they are worded.
 Nice to see my nemesis protected from the elements in the barn, so safe routes for me without running the gauntlet ! 

 After passing Longyester farm, up the road back to the Blinkbonny woods car park as the sun slowly dips behind Lammer Law rounding off a great day.
 Products made from Blinkbonny wood.

And back to the start, time to get the bike onto the car rack get changed out of the muddy clothes & head for home happy with a big hill walkers smile on my face :-)

Hope you enjoyed the ride around the hill, until the next time cheers for now.