6/08/16 Westruther Circular (near Duns) ‘A’ Peter Gilliland ‘B’ Kathleen Gilliland
It was dry and warm as 54 set out today for the Scottish Borders. We stopped for coffee at the Jedburgh Woollen Mills then continued on the A68 to Lauder where the road was closed due to an accident but fortunately for us the side road was where we needed to turn off anyway. The ‘A’ party, 21 in number, were dropped off just past Westruther then the coach travelled to Duns where it parked in the primary school car park for the afternoon. After lunch 29 members set out on the ‘B’ walk along the road into Duns market square spotting a hedgehog in the roadside. We cut through side streets to reach the North Lodge Archway to the Duns Castle estate. We could
see the activities of the Duns Show across the fields. We followed the estate road to a cairn erected to John Duns Scotus who was one of the most influential theologians and philosophers of the middle ages. The word ‘dunce’ comes from his name. We followed a track to Hen Poo Loch where the ducks thought they were going to be fed and congregated at the waters’ edge. We passed through woodland to reach the mill dam then followed some clarty paths before meandering through the mixed woodland of Castle Wood. The welcome shade kept the temperature down on this warm sunny day. Further estate tracks were followed between open
fields where we had clear views of Duns Castle which was erected in the 14th century by King Robert the Bruce’s nephew, the Earl of Moray and has been the seat of the Hay family since 1696. Each generation of the family has enlarged and embellished the original tower transforming it into the castle we see today. We returned to the coach and then had a wander into town where a few visited the Jim Clark museum. The coach returned to Westruther to pick up the ‘A’ party from the Old Thistle pub where arrangements had been made to have it opened early (4pm instead of the usual 6pm). The ‘A’ walk had followed farm tracks to reach the Southern Upland Way and walked to Twin Law where 2 enormous stone cairns dominate the moorland. They then scrambled through a mature evergreen forest to pick up a track leading back to Westruther. Flowers: cotton grass, eyebright, green alkanet, harebell, honeysuckle, meadowsweet, milkwort, nettle leaved bellflower, red campion, rosebay willowherb, self heal, tormentil and woundwort. Other: bilberries, buzzard, Canada geese, hedgehog, raspberries and tiny frogs.