Hillwalkers manage to avoid the worst of Abigail

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The weather forecast was dire ahead of the Scottish Borders Hill-walking club’s Southdean walk on November 15 – heavy rain and wind, the tail end of Abigail, the storm which had originated out in the Atlantic and ravaged the west.

Despite this, 11 hardy club members met at Chesters Village. Surprisingly, the sun was shining and the sky was relatively calm, unlike some other parts of the Borders. The group set off up Chesters Brae at a brisk pace, perhaps hoping to outwalk the threatened bad weather. They did not need to worry – the temperature was 11°c – amazing for November.

They followed a hill track towards the minor road to Jedburgh and after crossing some fields, dropped down to the road and crossed over into the mature woodland of Doorpool Hill.

The path led through a beautiful stand of Scots pine and down to the A6008 road from Hawick. The clouds were building up on the southern horizon so they trekked smartly over more fields and up the track which took them to the ridge on Mackside Hill and into open country.

A good farm road led through trees to the junction with the track up from Cleuch-Head Farm. This was the beginning of Wolfelee Hill, which they climbed to the trig point on its windy summit. There were good views and wide vistas to be seen from the top, but the clouds were rolling in and they dropped steeply down to the shelter of a belt of conifers for lunch.

The fun began after lunch when the group negotiated particularly wet ground to the next hill.

Then a forestry track led to the Flush Plantation and the abandoned farmstead of Westshiels. The group walked on through Peden’s Cleuch until the forest came to an end near Dykeraw.

The final stage of the walk took them down past the remains of Dykeraw Tower, alongside the A6008 tot he finish at Chesters. Distance: 11 miles. Next walk: Ettrickbridge – O.S map 73, reference: 389243.

Please contact secretary Evelyn Horsburgh on 01750 76214 for further details.

Stephen Smith, Walk Organiser.