360 degree panoply from Crumpton top
Last updated at 09:23, Thursday, 18 August 2011
A lot of Langholm has changed in the last few years; a grand new road to the south, a new road onto Meikleholm Hill. The toon hall has had its faced lifted.
The amorphous “they” tried to close the Hope Hospital, “they” did not succeed, but “they” will try again no doubt. However, most of the signs that I look for are still the same.
So I decided to attempt to walk over Crumpton Hill to see whether there was any difference from close at hand. I took the car up the Eskdalemuir road to the Burnfoot turn-off where the signpost indicates Hawick.
I parked near John and Ann Murray’s bungalow at Douglen Brae and my toils and tribulations began.
The first 200 metres were glaurie but at the drystane dike we left the mud behind as we went uphill into the heather and bracken.
I had been told this had been the site of an ancient clachan or settlement but all I could find was a clump of nettles which was a sign of one-time human occupation.
I noticed traces of lazy-beds where shepherds had planted potatoes by simply turning over the soil directly onto the spuds. Not a practice I can recommend unless you are partial to masses of slugs in your potatoes.
I was astonished by the number of unusual trees in this small area. It was odd to find such trees as American oak as well as sessile and common oaks.
There was also a variety of cedar and large larch growing among the ubiquitous spruces.
Just above the trees we entered a couple of cleuchs and the ground became much steeper. But we had reached the march fence where we entered the hill proper.
It was less than a mile to the top of Crumpton and we were greeted by a 360 degree panoply of hill, including Ettrick Pen and the Moffat Hills, Maiden Pap, the Lakeland Hills, Queensberry and the Galloway Hills as well as Timpen and Whita.
I use the plural ‘we’ as my friend Bill had joined me. We returned to the Douglen plantation where we crossed the fence onto Burnfoot ground.
We walked along Bridonswells Hill until we followed the trod to lower Fingland which, according to my limited understanding of Gaelic, means Fair Glen which gets a lot of sunshine just as Douglen is rather a dark glen on the other side of the hill. As a point of interest a similar word is that popular name, Fiona, which means “the fair one”.
Fingland is an overgrown gully leading to a much larger valley. But from there we went through the steel gate and followed the burn past the quarry and down to the farm yard surrounded by its numerous cottages. This seems to be a very busy farm but only a semblance of its former glory.
There is the most unusual carving emblazed on the door lintel of the old cart house from the days when the larger farms had numerous Clydesdales and carts and houses for them all.
The family in those days were of a religious bent, hence the reason for the Biblical quotation “He causes grass to grow for the cattle and herbs for the service of man”.
First published at 21:39, Wednesday, 17 August 2011
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