Thursday, 22 January 2015

A Bit Of All White.

Monday & Tuesday were braw cold fresh days with no wind & hard frosts, so with a new year comes a full compliment of work holidays & the decision was made to put a days holiday in for the Wednesday & enjoy a day out on the bike as the weather was to be much the same.

There was a fine dusting of snow higher up on the foothills of the Lammermuirs so my intention was for a wee ride up the hills to the Whiteadder reservoir then from there up to the lofty vantage point of Spartleton Hill to soak up the views of snow covered hills of the Lammermuirs then back home.


Up early & eager to get going a big bowl of porridge for breakfast & I was soon on my way for a long haul uphill to start the days adventure.

Reaching the farm of Elmscleugh a couple of mile from Innerwick & the farms ducks were enjoying a morning paddle & chickens were sunning themselves in the sun, not that it was giving of much heat !





And strangely at the foot of the steep hill out of Elmscleugh & that's where the snow covered road started & continued all the way over to the larger & little busier 'B' road to the border town of Duns.



With the roads covered in snow it was a nice cycle & good to know that I had the place to myself & no cars would be bombing around the corners.



Entering into the Monynut forest it was like a scene from Christmas cards with the snow covered pine trees.

A choice of roads.
 Opting for the left hand fork I took the Harehead road as I'd not been that way for a wee while.



Emerging out from the Monynut forest & finally a stretch of level road to cruise along after the arduous climb up here where I was greeted with these WOW views ! 
There was absolutely no noise, everything was so calm & peaceful under the blanket of snow.
Odd as it may seem, but I do love the smell of fresh dung, a true smell of the country side !




Far in the distance Crystal Rig wind farm & the muscular figure of a bull standing guard in his field.
I was amazed at how much snow there was up here, down on the coast we haven't had much at all up to now.

Crystal Rig wind farm.


More bulls & I was glad I didn't have to cycle through their field.



Down in the valley below there was a lingering mist hanging low & Harehead farm which has superb views.
Now onto the Duns road & almost instantly I could feel the effect of that mist as it was absolutely freezing cold & I could feel it's icy chill with every breath.
Now this isn't something you see everyday !
While I was looking over the bridge I spotted these pheasant feet which had been thrown over the bridge into the water, a strange thing to see :-/

Where the smaller Bothwell burn merges into the Whiteadder river looking very picturesque indeed & the cattle aware of my presence unaware the farmer is behind them with their breakfast.




Only one car passed me as I cycled alongside the beautiful Whiteadder river which is very unusual for this road it's normally quite busy. I stopped for a wee while just to enjoy my surroundings & watch a dipper feeding along the river.

The Whiteadder reservoir dam from either side & a surprise to me was that the reservoir was frozen all over other than a few pockets where wading birds were keeping the water from freezing up.






Wintry views across the reservoir with the majestic Priestlaw hill rising from the far shore.
Along here the peace was well & truly shattered with the honking of what must of been hundreds of geese pecking through the snow covered grass. 

Back onto the rough off road field tracks again and the final wee stretch along beside the reservoir.




With the deep snow covering the Land Rover tyre tracks it was impossible to cycle over, so it was time to get the bike over the shoulders & put the feet to work, but I was not alone along here as I followed 3 sets of boot prints heading towards the ruins of Gamelshiel castle a 14th century tower house, but on my arrival there was no sign of the boot print owners, from here it was a climb up to the summit of Spartleton Hill & again I followed the boot prints... Are they up the top looking down watching me ?



Making it to the top of Spartleton Hill summit & the views were outstanding, the snow covered hills all around it looked a lot different to when I wild camped here back in June last year.
And of coarse the real purpose for being here was to bag the trig point.
Looking around I spy the boot print owners sitting having a bite to eat & drink.



Standing on top of the trig are views looking North, South, East & West.
Looking South the cloud was quite thick & quickly heading my way & up here on the summit it was freezing cold with a fierce icy breeze.
Looking down over the frozen Whiteadder reservoir.
After a wee blether the three ramblers set off in the opposite direction from the way I was heading. 



After filling my belly I went over the edge down the fast & steep hard packed road to merge in with the wind turbine  / pylon road & by now the southerly cloud was over me & a brought a real wind chill with it.





With more familiar views at Weatherly farm the thick cold cloud started breaking up so the sunshine could smile for me for the last wee bit of my journey home :-)

Thanks for reading,
Lessons to be learnt from this ride...
...I need to invest in a small flask for coffee for days like this !