Saturday, 30 April 2016

Operation Trig Point - Dunter Law

The plan for this blue sky day was to head for the hills to bag a trig point that has been on my radar for some time, so packing my back pack with the essential bike spares & some food for the journey I set off on my way to 
'Dunter Law'

Riding along the country back roads it was nice to finally have a nice decent sunny day, every time I seem to be free from work it's either heavy rain or blowing a hoolie !

Up & up the relentless hill at Elmscleugh I love this hill it's a real leg pumping climb rewarded with great views once at the top & a complete change in scenery leaving the farmed fields & the coast behind & entering into the moorlands & pine forests of the Lammermuir Hills.

One of around a half dozen brown hares I came across throughout the day. I used to love eating hare, it's been a long time since I've had any.
Nature can be cruel, as I was huffing & puffing my way up the hill lying on the middle of road was the remains of a young lambs foreleg, poor wee thing had been stripped bare by the corvids & raptors.

Making my way along the single track road away from the coastal breeze & I think for the first time this year I could feel the heat from the sun.

Can you spot the roe deer in the clearing up on the hill ?...

The warm sun was making the trees emit a nice strong pine smell & you could hear a pin drop it was so still & quiet other than the birds chirping & the howl of my tyres on the road.
An old sheepfold once used by shepherds to check their stock, this one all but disappears during the summer months when the bracken is in full growth.

First decision to make of the journey not a hard one, do I stay on the road or take a detour off road through the trees of the Monynut forest on a fire road ?
Silly question the fire road it is !

Again it was so peaceful riding through the thick pine forest the crunching of the tyres on the fire road & the tweeting birds all that could be heard.

Coming to a clearing of deforestation & it was good to see the next generation of young pine saplings starting to protrude above the long dead grass, the last time I was up here they were just mere twigs that could hardly be seen.

It was a nice jaunt through the trees & looking through a gap across the valley I was thinking how good it would be to get the chainsaw out & hire a mini digger to build a freeride track from top to bottom with big proper jumps & berms etc & no bears to worry about up here.

Coming to another clearing a new wind turbine road caught my eye, it will be great once all the turbines are up & the construction side of things is finished as these turbine roads are like the equivalent of worm holes in space transporting you to great distances in a fraction of the time. 
But on the other hand look how much damage has been caused building that road, there must be hundreds if not thousands of tons of aggregate just to build it up that high which will be there for ever more now.

Through the last wee thicket of trees & back onto the tarmac once more for a short distance.

Warm & sunny as it was there was an atmospheric haze all around & the rasping chatter of the skylarks soaring above was pleasing to the ear along with the sheep & lambs bleating all around me, spring time is finally here !
From the roadside far in the distance I could see a group of people in a deforested area, zooming in with the camera it turned out to be a group of tree sapling planters replanting the next generation of pines in the felled woodland area.
Nice weather for it you can see how warm it was with the heat haze reflecting up off the ground.

Back off road now & on with today's mission to get to Dunter Law trig point, I head for the far distant pine trees where a thin strip of trees hook out from the main forest in the top centre of the picture.

Not a nice sight to see on the path I was heading on, this recently deceased ewe dead in a muddy puddle, god knows why it died but as it's the lambing season there's a good chance it was a pregnancy complication as she looked healthy enough otherwise. It'takes the crows no time at all to peck out the eyeballs, I once say a crow pecking at a new born lambs eyes which was horrible to see as it was still alive at the time.

It's always nice to travel new routes seeing views from a different angle. Arriving at the afore mentioned trees I needed to keep to the right of them & it was easier to jump over the fence & ride along the field rather than traipsing through the long reedy grass.

Following a faint track in the grass & after a few hundred yards I arrived at a field gate with a fire road behind it, knowing that I needed to turn left here I continued up along the fire road nearing my goal.

Taking another left turn & up the hill after a short climb there it was Dunter Law trig point.

Another one bagged & ticked off the list :-)
I love doing things like this i.e. trig pointing, geocaching & bikeable munro bagging as it opens up whole new horizons & adventures which take you off the beaten track.

While I was at the trig point I noticed just behind the trig point in the tree's there was a tarpaulin stretched between the tree's making a barrier, my nose getting the better of me I went around for a look only to find a hunters lair with lots of hunting & stalking equipment stored in & around an old trailer.
It was a nice place to spend a half hour sitting having a drink & something to eat & while I was sitting I watched a couple of fighter planes having a dog fight chasing one another about at high altitude, you can just make out the vapour trail in the sky.

Fed, watered, entertained & trig point bagged I set off on my way again.

Back along the fire road heading home on a different route.

Onto a farm track it was a good high speed blast downhill for a while.

Arriving at Ellemford bridge a beautiful 19th century bridge spanning the Whiteadder river & I was back onto the road once again...
...Observe the pictures...
...the cows see me coming & gather in a show of force, I then roar at them & they take off like a frightened rabbit one-nil to me I was very pleased with myself  & felt like a lion roaring at buffalo :-) but if I was in their field with them I would of been a different story the buffalo would be chasing a chicken on a bike !

Always loved that derelict house by the river, it has so much potential but I wonder if the reason it's been empty & never restored is down to the area flooding ?

The Whiteadder river is a popular river for fly fishing by permit, I noticed a sign on a fence asking anglers not to enter the river if their equipment has been used abroad in the last seven days, the reason for this is that nets, waders & other fishing tackle if used in foreign waters which could have disease & or parasites which could jeopordise our wild native species of fish & aquatic life. A lot of the trout stillwater fisheries that I fish have facilities to dip your net & waders sterilising them.

A potential new route to research.

Stopping for a wee look around Cranshaws church here in Cranshaws I was sure that one of my Grandads brothers was buried here but I couldn't find a grave with his name on it.
The church first mentioned in 1275, possibly dedicated to St. Ninian, the 1739 church was rebuilt in 1899 by architect George Fortune in Romanesque Revival style. Contains royal coat-of -arms of 1471-1500, installed opposite the pulpit by James VI (1566-1625) who once attended and the minister omitted prayers to the monarch.

As you can see there are a couple of graves from people within the farming community around these parts & it looks like one family in particular have had a pretty tragic time of it over the last few years.

Back on the saddle & back into climbing hills once more opening up some superb panoramic views in the early afternoon sun.

Passing through the Monynut forest again but this time I took to the wind turbine road into the Aikengall wind farm.

As I rode along I heard some clattering & banging coming from one of the turbines which was not operating then I spotted a couple of workmen on the top of the turbine imagine the view those guys must have from up there !

After the last climb of the day I stopped to admire the view down below before a high speed blast down the track to Aikengall.

Once reaching Aikengall it was a short ride all downhill back home to Innerwick where I was looking forward to a nice mug of coffee, can't get enough coffee !
Thanks for visiting my page I hope you enjoyed the ride.

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