Sunday, October 25, 2009

Falkland Estate: Maspie Den and Pillars of Hercules

Now well into autumn (in fact the clocks went back an hour last night) we were chancing it going a country walk if we wanted to keep our feet dry. As always though, the weather was kind to us and although it was smirring rain to begin with, we did not surrender.
We welcomed new walkers today: Ashley, Kirsty, Blair and Bernadette.
We were wading through beautifully coloured leaves as we entered Maspie Den and Janice remarked that they reminded her of her mother's carpet. Mary showed us stones in a dry stane dyke which had Scots words engraved on them: Bletherin, Danderin, Stravaigin and the like. They were very interesting and I wonder how we could find out who put them there and why. We passed 'Tom's place' where Tom had been making wooden garden furniture which was displayed for sale. So caught up were we, blethering as we strode out, that the walk leader took an unintentional detour and missed out a great chunk of the planned walk. It was not until we happened upon the Pillars of Hercules well ahead of schedule that this error was discovered.
The walk leader has now been replaced.
We had smashing cups of coffee and scrumptious organic cakes at the wee cafe there and then got on the move once more before we became lazy. We retraced our steps back to Tom's place and picked up the proper route again. Unfortunately, as we had to reverse the walk, we had a very steep climb, so one or two auld folk were peching like auld horses by the time we reached the top. The views were great from that spot but we didn't linger as the light was already fading. At last we saw the Yad waterfall which we were able to walk behind to the delight of the children. From there it was all downhill; a beautiful walk back down through the Maspie Den from a different angle. It was a bit slippy and muddy underfoot though, so we did have to take care. Plenty more beauty spots, waterfalls, burns and lovely wee bridges before we exited Falkland Estate. The village itself of course is charming and we enjoyed looking at it's quaint old houses and nice wee coffee shops. Back at the car park before we left for home we said a Gaelic Blessing together, the last line of which goes, 'May God hold you in the palm of his hand until we meet again.' Top that, as they say.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Mystery History Walk

The secret is out! Nineteen of us travelled by minibus & car to St Andrews for one of Bob’s guided walks. Beautiful sunshine was accompanied by (severe) gale-force winds ---- but that didn’t hold us back!

After a snack lunch at the University’s Gateway cafĂ© we headed off on our three & a half mile walk and our route took us along a path created by Dr Beeching
(i.e. the site of the old railway station and a bit of the St Andrews to Crail railway line!) before heading up the Canongate and down through the sheltered Lade Braes to the centre of the old town. We had short stops (while the tour-guide blethered to us!) at Parliament Hall, St Mary’s College, the Cathedral, the Castle, St Salvator’s College & Chapel and, of course, the Old Course --- where the Dunhill Links Championship had been cancelled for the day because of the very strong winds!

Weatherbeaten, but happy, we returned to our vehicles for the journey back to civilisation! This was the biggest number on our walks so far – long may it continue to grow & prosper.