The Next Step

It was time to give the ankle the next challenge. Not a munro or anything mega high or mega far, but certainly time to actually climb something and – probably even more importantly – descend something. So, we chose Minch Moor. At 567m it is apparently a ‘sub 2000’ Marilyn – which doesn’t really mean anything to me but may well do to some of you.

We parked the van in Traquair and set off up the track, which was yet another section of the Southern Upland Way. Almost imediately there were views back towards Peebles.

The track we were following was at one time the main route across Southern Scotland and soon changed to a grassy lane.

A bit further on and we came upon a forestry plantation with a cabin, that for all the world looked like it had been transported from Alaska.

This was Minch Moor Bothy and merited further investigation. On approaching however, it straight away lost its appeal. Everything inside was covered in graffiti and outside there were piles of rubbish everyhwere.

Obviously one of those bothies that suffers from being both too close to civilisation and too easily reached.

Pretty soon we left the main path to start veering towards the summit.

An unexpected sight a bit higher up, was another art installation – this time actually made in the heather.

Minch Moor has also got something to do with mountain biking and the 7 Stanes. I have to confess that however many times I google the 7 Stanes, I never seem to quite understand what they are and why they should have anything to do with mountain biking – I’m probably just being a bit dense – but needless to say every now and then a bike would flash by in the distance somewhere, disappearing as fast as it had appeared. In fact at the summit of the moor there was even an information post with emergency stuff on it, especially for mountain bikers.

Never seen anything like that before…and what on earth is a Bike Tart?

Anyway, the summit was also a good spot for lunch, with clear views in all directions.

Dixie loves looking at views.

On leaving the top, we took a different route through the heather to the main track and happened upon the Cheese Well:

‘Two dressed but well weathered stones mark a small freshwater spring called the Cheese Well on the high and often desolate Minchmoor Road between Traquair and Selkirk. One stone, older than the other bears the inscription “Cheese Well”. The second stone, obviously modern, also bears the same name and is dated 1966. Two inscribed stones were placed adjacent to the well by the resident of Camp Shiel in 1965. ‘

‘It is said that if you pass the well you should leave an offering, usually cheese – hence the name, to the Fairies or “Wee Folk” who are supposed to haunt the area. This would ensure a safe and successful journey. The Cheese Well may have been a pagan shrine in the past, whose veneration has fallen to superstition. The Minchmoor road, an ancient drove road, was notorious in the past for bandits and travellers probably needed all the luck they could get!’

Not knowing about this before we set off on the walk, we unfortunately didn’t have any cheese with us to leave so had to make our way back to Traquair being extra vigilant for bandits.

And the ankle? It held up fine, but I think we wore Dixie out.

18 thoughts on “The Next Step

  1. Ah yes, the seven stains. Three of these are pretty embarrassing, apparently. A bit of good exercise for the recovering limb although the puir wee dug looks banjaxed. I love the Borders – its time I had a walk up there….


    1. Ah, makes more sense if you spell it like ‘stains’…
      Yes, poor Dixie. Sometimes these days, she really does look like a 10 and a half year old Boxer! Still won’t pace herself while she’s actually out though…


  2. Working your way to full fitness – great news. That is such a great photo of Dixie. I’be be a bike tart (I am cheap) if only you didn’t have to ride them uphill (or push them in my case)


    1. Thanks Andy. The hospital physio keeps telling me how well I’m doing although I still feel quite frustrated at times. Can still be pretty slow going down hill, even though I know most of that’s in my head rather than an actual physical limitation. (I was going down hill when I slipped and broke it.)
      Continuing the bike tart theme – we see an incredible number of them round here who seem to take their bikes out for a push and a carry rather than a ride…


  3. Nothing wrong with going slow downhill!
    Or uphill.
    Or on the flat.
    I am deeply ignorant about the Southern uplands having only ever walked there a couple of times, an omission I clearly need to put right!


    1. 🙂 Actually I’ve never been good at rushing downhill – Geoff’s always way ahead of me, but he does keep rubbing it in and telling me I’m slower than usual! (Conversely, I’m usually faster than him going up, so he’s no right to gloat really…)
      How’s your ankle doing by the way?


  4. I will cross that bothy off my places to visit, it’s a shame when the idiots hit the hills and bugger it up for everyone else. I have not yet explored the area around Peebles, looks rather nice.


  5. It is a shame isn’t it? When I did my original plan for the SUW last year, I had that bothy down as a possible overnighting spot, but I know now that I wouldn’t have used it! Of course, if all had gone to plan with the walk I’d have had my tent with me anyway, but with all the mess outside I wouldn’t have wanted to put the tent up in the vicinity either. Hope you had a good weekend 🙂


  6. Love that last photo! LOL Shame about that bothy – I was thinking it looked nice but wouldn’t want to be descended on by folks like the litter-leavers in the middle of the night! Those heather circles are weird!


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