Date                         11.04.07

Distance                   4.4 MILES

Weather                    BRIGHT AND SUNNY

Start / finish              FORESTRY CAR PARK AT HARBOTTLE WOODS


Today I would be heading off to see the fairies or should I say heading off to the fairy glen at Harbottle woods, I had been there a few times before so it wasn’t a new area for me as such, but with the weather forecast for strong winds later on today I really needed to find some place that would offer some shelter, plus if the truth is known I like it up here, the forestry people had made a car park and even thrown in a few picnic tables , which make a nice place to simply sit and put your boots on and drink the all-important pre walk cup of coffee . And if all goes well a good place to sit down and sort your gear out after the walk.

Naturally I discussed the walk with my better half, who wouldn’t be joining me as she was at work ………….secretly I think she was pleased to miss out this walk because the last time we was up this way we found huge amounts of the forestry trails where very wet and muddy and if my memory serves me she slipped and got soaked (I didn’t laugh …honestly) so today I expected them to be even worse and from what I can remember there one one section where the mud just went  over the top of our boots and that was with the famous “bog jumping” …you know hopping / jumping from what looked like one “dry bit” to another and we couldn’t go round it because the trees had been planted that close it was impossible to go through them , but strange as it seemed I looked forward to this bit .

Gear was sorted and off I went, I noticed that the weather forecast seemed to be wrong ….but this time in my favour as the sky brightened up and by the time I pulled into the car park at Harbottle I was greeted to a blue sky and bright sun. yes the weather gods must love me, gear was sorted, boots on coffee drunk (making the most of the picnic tables) and off I went, I would be following a well-marked trail, I had planned to make a small detour and visit the ladies well, but at the entrance to the field there was loads of cattle with some very small youngsters right by the stile , as a rule I’m not bothered by cattle , but with the youngsters about and the fact that they had all crammed themselves around the stile I decided to give it a miss , after all I do try to avoid them whenever possible and I can always call in another time .

My route took me into an older section of woodland (forget the correct name for this type of woodland) but it made for a nice pleasant change from the boring man made fire trees where you can’t  see anything and its completely dead on the ground . Any way my route (see map) took me over some very wet and boggy sections where I was required to bog trot across various bits and I’m pleased to say that I didn’t get too wet. After a while I came to the entrance of the fairy Glenn or Dove crag as it’s known on the maps and after a bit of a struggle I managed to make my way to where the small waterfall is, I think waterfall is a bit of an overstatement as it’s more of a trickle and today there was hardly water falling , but surrounded by the tall sandstone walls it make a nice place to stop and have lunch , over the years I have been here I have seen where people have left small but strange objects like hand carved seats , funny looking wooden mushrooms , love hearts symbols made out of small stones and laid out for all to see , yes it could be the fairies but they don’t exist do they .........


After lunch it was time to set off again, I didn’t really have a set route but somehow followed the same path that I always did (I suppose this is what happens when you walk in woodland with limited paths) and before I knew it I was down by the Holystone burn and walking along an old forestry track I had the chance to follow the burn all the way back to the car , but it was a boggy mess so basically I wimped out and cut back using the forestry track , I saw a couple of red squirrels but they buggered off before I could get a photo of them , but it’s always nice to see these little creatures , I was hoping that I might get to see a few deer today but was sadly disappointed , but then I do make such a racket when I’m walking along with my hiking poles so it’s not really surprising . I stopped by a field of sheep with some new born lambs which was another sign of spring and finished off the last of the coffee then walked back to the car, for some reason I can’t put my finger on I really was in a good mood, don’t get me wrong I always enjoy getting out but today I just seemed happier maybe it’s because the sun was out and spring is really bursting out or was it because the Fairies sprinkled some happy dust on me who knows.

A few photos from today:-

Taken from the car park looking towards the starting point


The view looking across to ………..I haven’t got a clue


Spring time flower .again I haven’t got a clue what it is called (I bet you are thinking what a thicko I am)


Still heading up towards the old trees .blue sky what more could I ask for?


Entering the old woodland, these tress have loads of character (if that makes sense)


More old trees


About to enter the new fir trees …Yuk!


Tadpoles swimming around in the drainage ditch


Cutting into the forest (still lots of light getting in at the moment so it’s not dead on the ground)


A bit of the wet path way it looks ok but as soon as you tread on it you sink straight away


The entrance to the Fairy Glen (Dove crags)


Looking at some of the huge sandstone rocks


Getting closer


Following the secret fairy path


Getting close to the entrance

Huge boulders or rock face all around


And we are here


Not much water coming down today


The bed is almost dry


Looking up to where the water normally trickles down


A few phots showing the sandstone walls


Lunch eaten it’s time to get going again


Another very wet section that is very soft and before you know it you’re up to your knees in water and mud


Coming out of the tress and the views open up a bit


The path heading down towards the burn


Old tree


Now down by the burn a few photos


Back on the forestry track heading back


I did cut down here but it’s just too boggy so I wimped out and returned to the track


Looking across to the other side of the valley


One of the locals with a young one




Day after thoughts

No problems today apart from wet boots , not a great deal of distance but sometimes that really doesn’t matter ,  a lovely walk in mixed woodland on a lovely day what more could I want ( a big no huge lotto win would be nice)