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No 79 - Three Routes from the
Langholm Walking Festival 6 to 8 June 2003
Langholm, Dumfries & Galloway

| Friday | Saturday | Sunday |

Langholm looking towards Warb LawEach month I go walking with a small group of friends. This month we decided to have a whole weekend walking at the Langholm walking festival organised by the Langholm Walks Group. It's a part of the country I had never been to before so I was looking foreword to some completely new countryside. The headquarters for the festival was in the Masonic Hall next to the River Esk in the town centre. There was a good buffet lunch before the official opening of the festival by Peter Vaughan ("Groutie" from the TV series Porridge) who lives in Langholm. (The walks are numbered 1 to 10 on the festival web site)

Friday 6 June 2003
Warb Law & Hallcrofts (walk no. 1)

Looking over Langholm from the top of Warb LawAfter lunch there was a choice of three guided walks. We chose a circular route of 8km up a hill called Warb Law on the map (Warbla to the locals) to a view point at 275m. The scenery is wonderful with range after range of grassy hills stretching into the distance. The law governing public access to the hills is much more liberal in Scotland than in England and you are free to roam the hills provided you apply a bit of common sense and do no damage. In the evening there was an interesting slide show (in the Masonic Hall with a bar) by the local camera club.


Saturday 7 June 2003
Old Irvine, Glencorf, Becks (walk no.7)

Looking towards Langholm from Old IrvineToday we met at the Masonic Hall at 10.00am to walk a circuit of Warb Law hill. We followed the river Esk downstream for about 1.5km to Skipper's Bridge. There we cut up through the woods onto a track running round the southeastern slopes of Warb Law hill passing Old Irvine and on to a straight grassy track along the line of a military road from the 1700's. Here we encountered a herd of very frisky black cattle (with calves) but sheer weight of numbers faced them down - there were about 25 of us. We turned right onto the road and followed the road for about 3km to the start of Glengorf . We followed this small valley up to a track running round the hillside back to Becks (a farmstead). From there we followed the road towards Langholm and cut down through the woods to come out into the town near the Masonic Hall.

In the evening there was a barbecue at the Masonic Hall but only the bravest of the locals dared to stay outside in the face of a coordinated assault from the hoards of biting midges swarming up from the riverside vegetation. The entertainment included local folksingers and the whole Langholm pipe band to give us a flavour of the Scottish culture. Sadly the midges began to accumulmate inside too so whimpish people from south of the border, such as ourselves, had to beat a retreat and head for the safety of our accommodation.

Herd of cattle guarding the old military road

Woodland track to Skipper's Bridge

Wild geraniums

The old military road

Red Campion

Above: Lunch break
Left: Sheep gathered in for worming.


Sunday 8 June 2003
Bentpath, Potholm, Langholm (walk no.9B)

River Esk at BentpathThis morning we met at the Masonic Hall again to get on a coach to take us to the village of Bentpath on the River Esk about 10km upstream from Langholm. There were about 30 walkers and we set off along the road in front of the village church at about 10.00am to follow the river back into Langholm.The first part of the route to Burnfoot were more like an ornamental park than open country with rhododendron of all colours in full bloom and masses of wild flowers in the trackside verges - campion, cow parsley, water aven, buttercups, stitchwort, bluebells (almost finished), wild garlic, speedwells etc etc. At Burnfoot we joined a road which we followed for about 3km before turning south on to a grassy track above the river that took us back into Langholm. As we reached the edge of the town we crossed the river on the Jubilee bridge (opened in 2002 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Queen's accession to the throne.) There was soup and cheese scones in the Masonic Hall when we got back and then the drive home after a most enjoyable introduction to the hills around Langholm.

Estate road from Bentpath towards Burnfoot
Estate road from Bentpath towards Burnfoot

Esk valley below Burnfoot
Looking down the Esk valley towards Langholm

Grassy track above Potholm
Grassy track above Potholm

approaching Langholm through the woods
Approaching Langholm through the woods

Estate road from Bentpath towards Burnfoot
Estate road from Bentpath towards Burnfoot

River Esk at Burnfoot
River Esk at Burnfoot

Looking down the Esk over Potholm
Looking down the Esk over Potholm

Jubillee Bridge at Langholm
The Jubilee Bridge at Langholm