‘A’ Geoff Palmer ‘B’ Kathleen Reavley
With a forecast of heavy rain 49 members set out for the Scottish Borders, stopping for coffee at the Houghton Hall Garden Centre. It was raining as we left the garden centre and upon arrival in Newcastleton 16 members set out on the ‘A’ walk, while after lunch, 22 members went with the ‘B’ leader to walk through the streets to reach the Liddel Water which was a torrent due to the rain over the last week. We walked upstream to reach the road bridge and crossed over, then followed the road uphill to eventually pass through Whithaugh Park, an outdoor adventure centre. There were quite a number of young people playing out in the rain. We followed woodland paths and crossed through forestry commission land then climbed Priest Hill, the highest point on the walk at 205m. Close to the trig point was an information board describing an old tradition of living with someone for a year. If at the end of the year the couple didn’t want to stay together then they could just walk away as long as there were no children. We cut through some trees to an observation hide where badgers can be seen during the evenings. Normally there are good views from this point but not today. We passed the earthworks of a 2,000 year old ancient hill fort before descending an old drove road to the dragonfly ponds. Here we stopped for our fruit stop but not for long as the midges started biting. We descended back to Newcastleton on a quiet country road. Flowers: bluebell, bugle, cotton grass, crosswort, dog rose, eyebright, forget-me-not, foxglove, guelder rose, herb bennet, herb robert, ladys smock, meadow cranesbill, mountain ash blossom, oxeye daisy, pignut, ragged robin, red campion, silverweed, stitchwort, sweet cicely, tormentil, tufted vetch, water aven.