On a clear day, 18 walkers set off from Kingsmeadows car park in Peebles. Taking the footbridge over the Tweed, members made their way via The Gytes to the side of Peebles Hydro and Soonhope.
They followed the track past the chalets and were much taken by the designs and construction ingenuity of these buildings. Set up after World War Two, it was good to see these holiday retreats still thriving some 60 years on.
The track wound its way gradually to Glentress Forest and ignoring the steep option to Dunslair Heights, they continued through the forest toward Tower Rig. Here, the group paused to allow some energetic mountain bikers to ascend the shared path before they descended by the same path to the sparse remains of Shieldgreen Tower. Superb views were on offer and after a few photos were taken they continued their descent to the Shieldgreen Centre where lunch was enjoyed. The building was previously used by Crookston Castle School as an outdoor centre but now appears to have been mothballed.
After lunch, they took the path towards Mallingsland Hill before skirting Venlaw Hill and dropping down to the Castle Venlaw Hotel. The hotel was formerly a 17th-century baronial hall and it still retains many of its original features. Then it was through the grounds and across the Edinburgh Road to meet the Cuddy Burn which took them through old Peebles and back to their starting point.
Refreshments were provided thereafter by the walk leaders for the day, and even a Christmas carol or two was sung!
The next walk on December 7 is around Roxburgh village.