Out by Minto

The ground was right wet and clarty this morning as I set out to climb Minto hill in Teviotdale. It’s not a big hill; the higher of its two tops reaches only 905 feet, but with little of much greater height around it, it commands great views over this part of the Borders.

From the quiet hamlet of Minto a climb to the top doesn’t take long. The walk I’d planned on doing today, though, was to take me a bit further – dropping over the back of the hill to join and follow part of the old Waverley railway line to Hassendean Station. This line was named after Sir Walter Scott’s famous Waverley Novels and ran north to south between Edinburgh and Carlisle. Unfortunately, it was to fall victim to the Beeching Cuts of the Sixties and the rails have long since been lifted.

What began looking like a nice easy five or six mile circuit turned out to be quite an adventure, what with several fields of cattle to detour, waterlogged tracks hidden under long, wet grass, nettles and wild brambles.

I have to admit, I was just a wee bit embarrassed going into Melrose for dinner on the way home with breeks that looked like I’d been a day at the tatties!


Willie Shand