Saturday, 2 May 2015

The Daddy Of The Lammy's "Meikle Says Law"

This was a cycle that I rode last Tuesday but with one thing & another this is my first chance to publish the day trip :-/

I like cycling to elevated locations for the birds eye views they offer & I love the rolling Lammermuir hills that are on my doorstep so my plan of attack was to put the bike in the van & head off to conquer "Meikle Says Law" which is the highest of the Lammermuir's at 1,775 ft - (535 m). The hill is nothing really to look at as the surrounding hills aren't that much lower to be honest & Meikle Says Law is kind of flat at the summit, but it still offers superb 360 views.

Parking up by the Whiteadder reservoir I set off & it was all up hill from here, the weather was not promising for the early afternoon with heavy rain showers so I made a fairly early start to try dodging the wet stuff.

A bit of road cycling to start with along the quiet hill roads & the air was cool & fresh making for a pleasant start to the day.

As I was pedalling up the hill all of a sudden a slight wind picked up & an earthy smell was in the air, I looked up into the sky ahead & a big dirty grey cloud was coming my way, within a couple of minutes the heavens opened with a heavy hail shower & before I knew it, it was battering down onto me, so I took refuge under some beech trees until it passed much to the amusement of a passing car who peeped the horn & with a big smile gave me the thumbs up, I had to laugh myself it's the sort of thing I do :-)
About ten or fifteen minutes later the hail shower passed & I was on my way again.
Looking down to the lowlands & beyond over the Firth of Forth I could see snow on the highest of the Ochil hills.

At the top of the hill I stopped for a wee breather then turned left onto the Longformacus road.

And that's where my destination is Meikle Says Law & as I explained you can see that it is quite flat.
Looking to my left Sparleton Hill the prominent hill in the distance.

The locals need coats like that for the winter up here.

Finally off road & into mountain bike country.

Passing by Faseny Cottage & over the burn to start the steeper climb up to the summit. 

Shooting buts for the grouse shoots. Each numbered & prior to the shoot a lottery takes place to allocate big paying guns with their allocated grouse but.
As you can see they are well dug in & camouflaged so that the beaters can drive the grouse towards the guns. The buts are in a row & about 30 yards apart, if you look at the bottom picture you can just make out another two, one on the horizon just to the right & another just slightly to the right.

The road up to here changed from a hard packed service road & merged with a rougher boggy gamekeeper track, it was here that I realised I should of taken another road, I thought that I would just stick with the track I was on & I could find my way over to Meikle Says Law from the top...Big mistake !
Further up hill & more grouse buts, these being the more traditional type built with stone & a grouse sitting on top of one.

Again the weather closed in but this time there was nowhere to hide, starting off as hail stones which lasted a good quarter hour giving me an ice cream headache when it was bouncing into my head, it soon turned to snow, again for about fifteen minutes. I had to stop for a bit with my back to it, squatting down low as a freezing cold strong wind was hitting me face on, it was unbelievable how quickly the temperature plummeted & I had a passing thought that how easy it is to get into trouble high in the exposed hills even though I had a base layer top, fleece, wind & waterproof jacket on.

Again in forward motion when the hail/snow shower passed & thinking that the hill I was climbing would come to a summit it didn't & I ended up at Fallago Rig wind farm & also came across signs for the Herring Road which I had no idea of where it started from as it isn't the same route as the Dunbar to Lauder route but I reckon eventually does link up onto the Lauder route probably at Dye Cottage as I could see the twin law cairns far in the distance.

At the wind farm I knew I was way off coarse & needed to head northwards I was heading west, there was no tracks for me to follow so it was time to get the bike over the shoulders & clamber through the heather like a true Scotsman.

Traipsing through the heather with my bike over my shoulders acting like a sail I spotted 3 mountain hares still in their white winter coats, they all took off in different directions when they saw me & it was hard to get zoomed in quick enough to get good photos of them.

Walking through this terrain is a hard slog, the heather is very springy so each step is exaggerated to lift your foot up & over it & through the fire breaks (burnt heather to kill off the hard wood to encourage fresh young shoots for the grouse to feed) there is no heather to suck up water so the sphagnum moss is ultra spongy absorbing all the water it can so with every step my boots were sinking ankle deep in the moss.

I was glad to see the trig on the summit of Meikle Says Law the highest point of the Lammermuir hills & knowing that it was downhill from there pretty much all the way back to my van. Normally I like to have a food stop & spend a bit of time looking ut to the surroundings, identifying areas from these lofty heights & taking lots of pictures, but the wind had a real bite & was quite strong so I just fired off a quick few photo's & head back.

Views looking north, south, east & west, right lets get off this hill...

...this time on the right track !

 And what a huge difference it was coming this way, hardly no wind & not cold, it was great fun bombing down the track.
 The Lammermuir's are one of my favourite places I love solitude & the baron exposed landscape almost apocalyptic & better still no people to annoy me. 

More patches of burnt heather, from the roadside the hills look like a patchwork quilt.

Quite a few ford crossings over the Faseny burn.

Passing back past Faseny Cottage & back over the Lonformacus road I took a track down towards Mayshiel.

Now there's a lottery winning home !
 Mayshiel hunting lodge, I was told by someone that the owner has something to do with Hewlett Packard, how much truth is in it I don't know but most of the grouse land is owned by the owners.
Priestlaw hill & a very interesting road cutting through it, worth a visit to ride back down it sometime soon :-)

Back to my van parked at the Whiteadder reservoir & the usual grin from ear to ear after a good day out.
 The weather forecast was wrong for the day as the rain that should of came in the afternoon never appeared but instead came in the morning albeit hail & snow up here on the higher ground !

Anyway I hope you enjoyed the wintry ride in spring, just a wee reminder that the winter weather is still not releasing it's grip.

Cheers the now & thanks for reading.