I did this walk so you don’t have to
May 25, 2015, 10:06 am
Filed under: running

It seems to be three years since I last posted. Oops.

A couple of years ago, while still very much broken, I endeavoured to get out walking most weekends, albeit painfully. On one trip I intended to head for Leithead Farm but went horribly astray and ended up  heading in entirely the wrong direction across boggy and tussocky moorland to a little house I could see in the distance. The house turned out to be a water house above the Dean Burn and I followed the burn up  and over Mid Hill back to Listonshiels. It was a dismal, claggy day with cloud down at ground level and I did think a few times that it was stupid to be there when walking was stiff and slow, no-one knew where I was and I was unlikely to meet anyone (and without a map). But I survived.

So I’m not sure why I thought I should have a second shot at the route, but I thought that it would be possible to continue up the Dean Burn, through Thrashiedean and up onto East Cairn Hill from the gentler slopes on the North-East. Fortunately Bill came with me this time, though I’m pretty sure he regretted it quickly because it was an afternoon bedevilled by obstacles.

Obstacle #1 – fire breathing bullocks


As soon as we went through the gate at the derelict steadings, about a dozen frisky-looking stirks got up and started moving towards us. I decided I wasn’t going to walk through them so we backtracked. The only way round them was to cross a barbed wire fence into the woodland,  and then another on the other side of the woods, negotiating hawthorn on the way.

Obstacles #2 to 13 – pointy, jaggy things


To get past the bullocks, we had to get through a thicket of waist-high gorse and the moorland is now criss-crossed by miles of fence, each one topped with barbed wire. I wished I didn’t have cropped tights on. We discovered the fencing was to protect new forestry planting, but we had to cross that too. It was scored by deep drainage ditches, two of them bridged with dodgy-looking pallets, but mostly we either had to jump them or drop into the ditch and climb out. After 5 fences, 7 ditches, 20 yards of gorse and scary cows, we finally got to the water house, taking twice as long as it took when my legs would barely flex.

Obstacle #14 Thrashiedean and lots of heather

The next bit was actually quite pleasant, walking above the burn along sheep trods, with a ruined cottage nestling in the trees.


But then we found ourselves at the head of the burn with a very rickety bridge above it and still about an hour of heather climbing up to East Cairn Hill. Looking back I could see the quad bike tracks I had followed last time, so we headed back down and followed them until they petered out. It was still quite slow going through thick heather but eventually we made it down to the path to Listonshiels and took the gamekeepers’ track back to Bavelaw.

Despite it being a buggeration of a walk, we both stayed good-humoured (mostly), but I won’t be attempting it again. I have no idea at all how I managed it when I was broken, though I think the heather was lower and there were definitely no fences to cross.

I only took one photo but WordPress tells me that blogs are better when illustrated, so I’ve added some very poor drawings to compensate 🙂  And the last of them is this impression of my legs, that look more like they’ve been attacked by tiger cubs than out for a walk.



2 Comments so far
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I’m so glad this form of insanity does NOT run in the family #masochism101

Comment by Nikki Pitt

Great story, and I love the drawings!

Comment by lynneggleton

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