We have had a busy and productive year, devoting some 3,700 hours of volunteer time to the Pentlands, and are looking forward to enjoying and enhancing our environment during the coming year.
Our last walk of 2008 was a five mile circuit from Carlops which took in Spittal Farm and the North Esk Reservoir. It was a cold but beautifully clear day. We marveled at the scenery and learnt about Alan Ramsay and his pastoral drama The Gentle Shepherd published in 1725. We also discovered that an exhibition devoted to paintings of local shepherdess, the late Jenny Armstrong, is being held in London in early 2009. There is more to our hills than sheep and bracken!
In November, in conjunction with Edinburgh Southern Orienteering Cub, and with the support of the Regional Park and the Ministry of Defence, we helped established a new permanent orienteering course at Castlelaw. The Orienteers drew up the plans and obtained the necessary permissions while we dug the holes and placed the marker posts.
We most certainly have not been put off by the winter weather and our team of workers has been responsible for the erection of several stiles, a sleeper bridge and improved waymaking at various sites off the A70. Many of our work days were very cold but the combination of bright sun and snow and frost gave urgency to our exertions.
We have a programme of walks and talks for 2009 and a long list of possible projects. In addition to helping the Rangers with routine maintenance tasks our aspirations for next year include providing wheelchair friendly access from Flotterstone to The Howe; installing a nest box with camera at Flotterstone and a weather station at Harlaw.
If anyone has photographs of deep snow at Harlaw, or elsewhere in the Pentlands, we would be most grateful if you would share them with us. (They will be copied and returned promptly to their owners.) We are trying to build a picture of climate change and some evidence of extreme conditions from the past would be a great help.
We look forward to working with others during 2009 to enhance our environment and to promote its appeal to a wide public. It’s good for hills to have friends.
To discover more please contact Bob Paterson on 01383 417771 or at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: www.pentlandfriends.plus.com