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Spartleton Edge to the Herring Road

Spartleton Edge to the Herring Road


Postby Driftwood » Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:09 pm

Route description: Gamelshiel Castle and Spartleton Hill, Whiteadder Reservoir

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Spartleton

Date walked: 27/08/2017

Time taken: 2.75 hours

Distance: 6.9 km

Ascent: 255m

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A stretch of the legs and acclimatisation to hill walking at the start of a week in August/September.

Staying in East Lothian, we wanted to get some fresh air, views and a scenic ruin or two seemed tempting also. I drove via Gifford and used a small carpark beside an arm of the Whiteadder reservoir.

Passed through a gate, along a track for several minutes beside some forestry. Then several minutes more before turning right and gently uphill.

DSCF9864.jpg
Track up towards Gamelshiel


The grassy hill track seemed not to get much traffic (apart, perhaps, from walkers) but brought us up to the ruins of the castle (a small tower house, by the looks of it, with just two opposite corners and some of their walls surviving). A lot of the stone had probably been reused, including for a circular sheepfank nearby.

DSCF9867.jpg
Sheepfank and Castle ... spot the difference!


Then we continued with the track - rather than following the route suggestions to head north and uphill through heather. Though, after the track petered out, we still needed to walk through some flowering heather to join a vehicle track up the back of the hill.

DSCF9884.jpg
Up through the heather


The summit area features a good-sized cairn and a trig point in good repair. There's also a grouse butt (probably the reason for the track) and views to an enormous windfarm covering Dunbar Common eastwards. I forget how many turbines I counted, but there were something like 140 in view from just that spot, quite probably more.

DSCF9886.jpg
Spartleton Edge cairn


We turned left (northwest) to make more of a circuit and follow the track down. This also offered a gentler descent; my brother had fairly early decided, or been told by his legs, that hills were too much trouble.

We passed more grouse-butts, peat turves (probably related to grouse-management) and a fence/gate. Then underneath a row of electricity pylons - large, but dwarfed by the turbines beyond. This brought us to a junction of several tracks, then a Herring Road, part of a network of old tracks that led between fishing ports on the coast and borders towns or villages inland.

DSCF9893.jpg
Herring Road signpost


This track led us southwest downhill, to the foot of a sheltered little glen. We could see a minor road on the opposite side of the glen, but preferred to walk in the greener surroundings, pausing partway to take some lunch.

DSCF9899.jpg
Grassy track back down the glen


Then some more gentle strolling brought us past the mouth of Gamelshiel Cleugh to rejoin the track from the carpark. We visited Yester Castle (the Goblin Ha') on the way back, so got to see a second, much more dramatic set of ruins to round off the day.

DSCF9902.jpg
View up towards Gamelshiel



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Driftwood
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Re: Spartleton Edge to the Herring Road

Postby PeteR » Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:46 pm

This looks like a nice little wander. Had the riute downloaded for weeks, but still not made it yet. I'm taking your report as a sign that I should get it sorted :thumbup:
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Re: Spartleton Edge to the Herring Road

Postby Driftwood » Fri Jan 19, 2018 7:21 pm

PeteR wrote:This looks like a nice little wander. Had the riute downloaded for weeks, but still not made it yet. I'm taking your report as a sign that I should get it sorted :thumbup:


It is a pleasant stroll. Spartleton is quite exposed to the weather (helping to explain the nearby forest of wind turbines), but that makes for long views in most directions. Good luck with the weather when you do get around to it!
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Driftwood
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Re: Spartleton Edge to the Herring Road

Postby inca » Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:43 pm

Hi Driftwood,

Good report. Interesting for me for a couple of reasons.

1. Just finished reading Alistair Moffat's recent book "The Hidden Roads'. If you're not already aware, there's a chapter in there on the Herring Roads. Whiteadder area makes up a fair bit of it. Hadn't read any of Moffat's work before and I rattled through this in 2 days. Thoroughly enjoyed it if you're looking for a book recommendation.

2. That's the first mention of the Goblin Ha' I've seen on the site. Agree with you - fantastic place and well worth a visit.
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inca
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Re: Spartleton Edge to the Herring Road

Postby Driftwood » Fri Feb 02, 2018 12:32 am

inca wrote:Hi Driftwood,

Good report. Interesting for me for a couple of reasons.

1. Just finished reading Alistair Moffat's recent book "The Hidden Roads'. If you're not already aware, there's a chapter in there on the Herring Roads. Whiteadder area makes up a fair bit of it. Hadn't read any of Moffat's work before and I rattled through this in 2 days. Thoroughly enjoyed it if you're looking for a book recommendation.

2. That's the first mention of the Goblin Ha' I've seen on the site. Agree with you - fantastic place and well worth a visit.



Cheers for that.

I'd noticed some other Herring Roads half a dozen years or so ago, further south and west towards Lauder. Though, from memory, that was on a map (and following a more modern track on the ground), rather than signposted as here. I've an interest in old routes, so that sounds a promising read, thanks.

The Goblin Ha seems quite a popular walk from Gifford (especially judging by the trampling in one muddy section approaching it!) and well worth a nose around, so I should probably post a WR, brief as it'd be, to get it further onto the WH radar.
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