Last of the summer walks

Yesterday marked the end of this summer’s adventures, as autumn begins on Tuesday*. And I am pleased to say that the sun decided to come out for my last hoorah of Summer 2020. (Hooray!!)

The day’s adventure was relatively easy, if you can call summiting a peak in The Pentlands as part of a 5.30-mile walk “easy”. But when I think about some of my other summer walks (or indeed, some of my longer winter Pentland treks) this does fall into the easier end of the spectrum.

I was joined by a friend for the day’s adventure, which we started from the Castlelaw Farm. From there, we walked up past the Castlelaw Suteraine, bypassing the path to the summit at Castlelaw Hill on the way to the Allermuir Hill summit. From there, we dropped down towards Caerketton Hill, heading down through Windy Door Nick towards Boghall Farm.

Once at Boghall, we crossed the burn and started to climb back up the hill a bit before heading south again towards Castlelaw by way of the Tytler Memorial near the site of the now-demolished Woodhouselee estate house. Whilst we had clocked 4.5 miles by that time, I could see my cottage less than a mile away as the bird flies. (I always look for my cottage when I’m up in the hills.)

The walk back to Castlelaw Farm was a gentle and nearly flat walk along the edge of a field – a well-earned end after starting off with the climb to Allermuir. But as this was my last summer walk, and it wasn’t even 2pm, there was time for another quick adventure.

And so, it was off to the Old Pentland Cemetery for a little look around. Like the rest of the day’s adventures, it was a repeat visit for me. But it was my friend’s first visit and as it tied in with an earlier summer’s walk to Rullion Green, it seemed a fitting end to the season. And I do enjoy disused cemeteries, so there’s that!

One of the things I really enjoyed about the day’s adventure was that, despite being “old” adventures that I’ve enjoyed in the past, I was constantly entertained by “new” experiences. That’s what happens when you take different routes, explore during different seasons, and enjoy different company.

For example, the last time I went to the Tytler Memorial was with my housemate in December 2018. For the last half-mile to the cross we took a more challenging route though the flora and fauna which meant we missed out on an old folly from the former Woodhouselea estate. Not to mention seeing things from a different angle or different direction, which is how I spotted the old concrete something-or-others below the WWII communication masts near Boghall Farm. I am, as always, so geekily excited about these artefacts that I find nestled in the hills and coastlines around Scotland!

Mostly though, it was just nice to enjoy another walk in the Pentlands. The hills are only a half-mile from my cottage (separated only by a field and a road) so it’s a bit crazy that I don’t spend more time in them. But, thanks to COVID19 and my decision to remain relatively isolated at my rural cottage, I have gotten to enjoy the beauty on my doorstep a little more this year than most. And as I will be isolating at home for the next few months (at least!) I imagine I will get to explore them even more.

I suppose that it’s time to think about autumnal adventures now. Maybe a nice woodland walk where I can enjoy the changing colours of the trees. Or maybe I can head up into the hills again in to visit the memorial site of a WWII plane crash on Hare Hill. Of course, there’s also the site of the old Woodhouselea Castle to explore (few ruins remain hidden in the trees). It was the predecessor to the Woodhouselea mansion. Yes, summer might be (nearly) over, but that doesn’t mean that the adventures will end!

* I am a firm adherent to astronomical, not meteorological, seasons. I make no apologies for this.

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