Monday, 30 November 2015

'Nine Stone' Circle & Rangely Kip

It's been a wee while since I've been out & about on the bike, rubbish weather, the wrong shift when the weather is nice the usual unfortunate luck, but finally the weather on my day off played ball for me just for once so I made haste my escape to the hills which were calling me.
I have most of the geocaches & trig points local to me but there was one of each within a fairly close proximity to each other that were on my radar, so I made this my mission of the day to grab a geocache & a trig point

So leaving the house it was an uphill struggle with the wind in my face climbing up through Woodhall farm then passed my old house at Weatherly farm & beyond, uphill to the plateau of Crystal Rig wind farm, it was a beautiful sunny but cool day.

A close call as I rode uphill out of Woodhall, little did I know but the cows were just above me but today they were happy to just stare at me.
Something unusual caught my eye, some of the clouds had an iridescent rainbow within them, strange to see & I'm sure there will be some sort of name for it but it looked pretty amazing.

Fond memories as I cycled up towards my old house at Weatherly, a journey I took many times in all sorts of weathers, we used to get snowed in often one time for eight days solid & after 15 years since we lived up here it still feels like home & is often a topic of conversation within my clan.

When I arrived at Weatherly the current tennant was outside in the yard so I stopped for a blether & we exchanged stories of living life at Weatherly & I asked her if all the cattle had been moved onto the  landlords lowland farm for the winter which she replied 'yes' :-) so now I knew I could have a trouble free climb up the pylon road to the wind farm & all through winter too without attracting any bovine attention !
It's an unrelenting climb up to the top but well worth it for the views, looking over to Boonslie ruin I could see cows which belonged to the adjoining farm, fortunately today I was not heading in that direction.

Passing by the old ruined shepherds cottage on the slopes of Bransly Hill I had a passing thought if the people who once lived there were to come back & see all these wind turbines & pylons what would they think :-/ 
It just seems to be a never ending project up here building & maintaining the wind turbines & the amount of litter by the roadside from the workers just throwing it out their van windows is quite unbelievable ! Empty cans of juice, old newspapers, sweet wrappers & crisp packets etc etc.

Following the pylon road through the wind farm & then leaving the farm but still continuing along the pylon road as I battled against the head on wind which up here was a wee bit gusty at times but none the less enjoyable.

Whiteadder reservoir in the distance with Priestlaw Hill behind it, another of my planned trips which I intend to do at some point, no trig point at the top but there is a small cairn at the summit though.

After a short cycle along a road I took a left turn up a track then onto a boggy gamekeepers track then I soon arrived at the 'Nine Stone' stone circle.
The Nine Stone stone circle is a compact circle, most of the stones have fallen but even when they were upright the circle was not large. One of the stones has a square shape cut into it. There is a tradition that treasure is concealed in the centre of the Nine Stones & the ground has been much disturbed by people digging for it in the past.
Aerial archaeological evidence shows that a row of Bronze Age homes once ran south down the flank of the hill towards Nine Stones & that there were once other circles nearby (a little further west you can find one of these still in place - the "Crow Stones" - but if the heather is in full growth this circle can be concealed.)
It seems likely that the circles, including Nine Stones were associated with the settlement & served some communal purpose. Small circles of 9 (sometimes 12) stones like these are common features of the period in Britain. Some theories suggest that the mixture of sizes of stone is important - a larger stone is sometimes found orientated north in the circle. Some theories associate sexual symbolism with the mixture of larger & smaller stones. 

The reason for the visit here was to collect the geocache hidden beneath the stone with the square cut gouged out of it, at first I thought it was obvious where it was hidden behind the two propped up stones but I was more than surprised to find a fenn trap behind them, so I'm glad I looked behind them before I put my hand in ! Thinking that the geocache had been compromised by the gamekeeper I had a look around the other side of the stone to find the geocache safely hidden underneath the stone concealed by some long grass.So signing the log book I replaced it back where I found it ready for the next geocacher to find.

Happy with my find of both the geocache & the Nine Stone circle I set off for my next goal, the trig point of Rangely Kip.
There are lots of grouse shooting butts up here & all over the Lammermuir Hills with all the heather it is the perfect habitat for grouse & you can see how well the shooting butts are hidden & blend into the surrounding countryside.

The mid afternoon sun was starting to cast long shadows & the temperature was dropping rapidly.

Back onto the single track public road I cycled along for a few hundred yards to the entrance of Johnscleugh hill farm. Looking how to get to Rangely Kip the night before on maps I could not see a clear cut way to reach the summit where the trig point is, so I thought if I get to Johnscleugh farm entrance & head straight up to the summit...

...this was not the best decision that I've made ! Apart from the fact that I kept startling grouse which would let you almost stand on top of them before flying up into the air, it was a real toil bog trotting through the heather & the sodden waterlogged ground uphill for probably half to three quarters of a mile, but no-one ever said hard work was easy & eventually the trig on the top came into sight. 

Relieved & glad to be up here at the top of Rangely Kip trig point.

A few feet from the trig point is also an old border marker stone with a benchmark arrow inscribed into it.

I found this a bit concerning two hares & a grouse all freshly killed, one of the hares cleanly skinned around the midriff the other un-touched & the grouse was plucked from head to breast with the head removed & the crop cut open with freshly eaten heather inside, but there was no evidence of any of them being eaten ???

The views from the trig point were really good far better than I'd expected, views of Lammer Law, Traprain Law, North Berwick Law, the Bass Rock, Spartleton Hill there are too many landmarks to mention the list goes on & on !

Contented with my day so far & mission accomplished, a geocache & a trig point I set off for home. Taking a different route back following a sheep trail I came across a fox snare & another horrible fenn trap, so being the wildlife lover & tree hugger that I am I set off the fenn trap with a stick & pulled the fox snare tight :-) These barbaric devices were about 20-30 yards from the trig point, dead hare's & dead grouse & I now think that they were placed there purposely by the game keeper to attract Mr. Fox to his doom since they looked so un-natural the way they were killed & placed.

I wish I went this way up to the trig point I did consider it while looking at the map the previous night, however I came back this way which was a good ride down back to the road.
Strange happenings going on up here I reckon aliens have been experimenting on the sheep :-/ !!

The forever lowering afternoon sun was highlighting the earthy coloured surroundings making it look very picturesque.

Passing by Friardykes ruin I was getting close to a downhill all the way wind behind me journey back home by now the sun had been swallowed up by low cloud & the wind was bringing a proper chill with it. 

A 15-20 minute climb to get up here to the top of the hill, all gone in a few seconds bombing back downhill to Weatherly...great fun.

The clouds to the west were broken unlike the clouds behind me where I'd come from & the colours on the above pictures really don't do the warm autumnal colours justice.
A most enjoyable day so it was & you know you've had a good day out on the bike when you come home dirty.

Well hope it was enjoyed by you as much as I enjoyed riding it, thanks for taking the time to read & cheers for now.