Day 14 – Twin Peaks

Lauder to Longformacus, 25Km

Heavy rain overnight. I could see rain falling all around me today, wonderful dramatic clouds in the sky and rumbles of thunder, but I walked in a bubble of dryness across the featureless and windswept heathery moorland of the Lammermuir Hills. The clouds were so low I almost had to duck under them to see the way. In fact there wasn’t a way for the first half, just the lonely waymarks in the moor, beckoning me onwards.

The Cicerone guidebook warned against complacency, “In conditions of dense hill fog, high winds or continuous heavy rain with low visibility, only the experienced, navigationally competent and well equipped should set out across these moors. Winter blizzards can be abominable”. Sure enough, I was soon lost but my iPhone seemed to know the way and eventually I picked up the old track which led to the summit of Twin Law with its two huge cairns and a triangulation pillar adopted by some local walkers when the OS went digital in 1994.

I sat there eating my chicken roll and drinking a fine cup of Nescafé and tried to imagine those awful winter conditions. Next time I listen to the weather forecast in December and they say “heavy snow in the Scottish highlands and southern uplands”, I shall think of my picnic lunch on Twin Law in the Lammermuir Hills.

I started with a walk through the estate of one of the finest stately homes in Scotland. The Duke of Lauderdale won’t tolerate dogs
The Duke’s cattle lie ahead. I spy a slight gap in the middle and walk through as if I’d just inherited the place.
A welcome bridge constructed by Queen’s University Officer Training Corps in 1993. The approach was a bit awkward but the bridge was sturdy enough
I don’t normally edit my photos but I applied a touch of colour to this one
Somehow I survived the day with only a few spots of rain. That’s my dry bubble ahead
The twin cairns on Twin Law
The adopted triangulation pillar

7 comments on “Day 14 – Twin Peaks

  1. I love finding these trig points, a reminder of days with theodolite and tripod. Supposedly there should be two others located on relatively nearby hills to create the required triangle – but I am yet to find them! – David

    • I agree. I did a fair bit of surveying at College and I guess I was fortunate to dodge a career in it. I wonder if the OS is selling them like BT is selling their telephone boxes or London Transport sold their buses. A “must” for every garden

  2. Hello Tim: just catching up on your blog. Sounds like a wonderful hike off the regular beaten trails. I’m surprised you traded out your Meindl’s for Lowa boots. Anyway, I hope you avoided the blisters from walking in those wet boots. What’s with all the taxis? I thought you were a purist. I assume that goes with being way, way out in the boonies. I enjoyed the pics of the “Wroman Woad’: It brought back some good memories. However, I did notice a curve to the road, must be due to the local labour back in the day otherwise it would have been arrow straight like in France. Anyway, enjoy it, stay dry and keep blogging. I’m green with envy as I’ve had to cancel my long walk for this year. Cheers

    • Hi Paul, the taxis are just to get me to the B&B, often miles away. They return me to the trail next morning. But hey, please join me for the John O’Groats trail and Orkney. I definitely need you. There is dense vegetation to be crossed and barbed wire fences blocking the way and a dangerous cliff top walk in remote Caithness. You’ll love it. And then a neat little pilgrimage on Orkney. Think about it for, say, 10 seconds …

      • Ok Tim: I only needed 8 seconds. When and where does the John O’Groats trail start? Do I need to bring a sleeping and bivy bag? What’s the nearest airport?

  3. I reckon you must have felt like Moses walking through the Red Sea with water on either side!

  4. And I thought cairns were mostly borders.

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