Edinburgh

Follies Programme

2022 Programme

Thursday 19th May Wellington Monument and The Baron’s Folly

We have planned this one for a couple of years but Covid got in the way. This year, we will be able to get a key and go up the monument for what must be one of the best views you’ll get of the Borders.

The Wellington Monument was built between 1817 and 1824 to commemorate the Battle of Waterloo. Intriguingly, it gives its position as a latitude (52o 32’ 5.6’’) and as a longitude in degrees west of Greenwich (2o 32’ 45.6’’) or in time 10mins 11.1 seconds. Either way, it stands on top of Peniel Heugh near Ancrum. The plan is to ascend 150 ft. of spiral stair to the wooden platform at the top for some spectacular views. On the way back to the cars, we’ll go past the Baron’s Folly, a much smaller construction, and then via Deere St, the old Roman Road (Not that you’d recognise it as a road anymore).
Walk about 5 miles 150m ascent with another 50m for the tower.

Meet at 10:30 at Woodside Garden Centre (Good coffee shop too). Drive down the A68 then just past Ancrum; take the 1st left onto the B6400 to Nisbet. The Woodside Garden Centre is ½ mile on the left.

Thursday 16th June The Dunmore Pineapple and Dumore Park House

In the 1700s, the pineapple was a rare delicacy in Europe and was associated with wealth and status. If you could serve a pineapple to your guests, you had indeed “arrived”. This was so much so, that you’ll see pineapples all over Edinburgh, cast onto the top of railings outside New Town houses. The Pineapple at Dunmore began as a one storey pavilion built by Lord Dunmore for his wife’s birthday in 1761. It grew its defining folly after 1777, when he returned from serving as Governor of Virginia. Over there, sailors would put a pineapple on the gatepost to announce their return home. Lord Dunmore announced his return to Scotland rather more prominently.

We’ll visit The Pineapple, although now it’s a holiday home so we only get a look from the outside. We’ll also walk round to Dunmore Park House, now a ruin but still spectacular in its own way. As an aside, when we went to recce this trip, there was a photographer and a couple of heavily up models using it as a backdrop for a video game promo shoot. Think Miss Piggy dressed as a Goth and you have it; the ruin of the house was perfect for that.

Walk about 2 miles all quite flat but can be muddy.

Met at 10:30 at the Pineapple. To get there, drive out of Edinburgh on the M9, take the motorway towards the Kincardine Bridge (M876) and after 1 mile leave the motorway going left onto the A905 through Airth. Soon after, at the tourist brown sign to The Pineapple, go left and 200 yds later at the gatehouse go right on a track to the carpark ( ¼ mile).
There are no facilities anywhere nearby so bring a packed lunch and we’ll sit on the green in the very pleasant little village of Dunmore by the side of the Forth.

Thursday 21st July The Temple of the Muses, Wallace and the Monteath Mausoleum

We visited these two back in 2021 and Maggie McGillivray wrote about it in The Clarion. It was such a great trip, we’ll come back for 2022.

This is not the Wallace monument you are thinking of; this, the first of the monuments to Wallace, is smaller, stands near Newton St Boswells, and until recently was hidden in the trees until some forestry work made him a lot more visible. Down by the river Tweed is the Temple of the Muses, a small classical round temple overlooked by Wallace, and with a certain degree of irony, the temple is dedicated to James Thomson, the writer of the lyrics of Rule Britannia.

The Monteath Mausoleum is a spectacular building, 3 miles south of Newton St Boswells, off the A68. Guarded by two lions on the outside and two angels inside, it was constructed for the rather vainglorious General Sir Thomas Monteath Douglas (1788 - 1868) and features a star studded roof. It was recently renovated and is spectacular inside. We will have a guide for this folly (she was superb in 2021, so knowledgeable and enthusiastic) and expect to spend 1 -2 hours there. Donations to the friends of the mausoleum are welcome on the day.

Meet at 10:30. Parking for Wallace and the Temple in a layby at the end of the road to “Tweed Horizons Business Park to cross the footbridge over the Tweed (1st left after Newton St Boswells on the A68). 1 mile and about 50m ascent for Wallace, Getting to the Monteath Mausoleum is more complex, I’ll email their instructions to drivers before the visit. We’ll stop for lunch at the nearby garden centre

Thursday 18th August Hopetoun Monument and N Berwick Law

The Hopetoun monument stands on Byres Hill and is clearly visible from the A1 as you go past Haddington. The marble plaque on column reads "This monument was erected to the memory of the great and good John, Fourth Earl of Hopetoun, by the affectionate and grateful tenantry in East Lothian MDCCCXXIV". Sir John Moore was a Lieutenant-General in the Army, gaining some fame at the Battle of Corunna evacuating the British Army from the Peninsular war in Spain in 1809. This monolith dominates the East Lothian skyline and, from the top, we should be able to see most of East Lothian and the Firth of Forth.

As we are out in that part of the world, we’ll have a side trip up N Berwick Law. I’m not sure the whalebone arch fits the normal perception of a good old fashioned stone built solid Folly, but its something placed on the top of a hill for no better reason than “why not” so it comes within my definition of a Folly. Ice cream at Luca’s van by the harbour afterwards and that van has been there so long (its a converted 1960s Mini) that it too should qualify as an ancient monument.

Meet 10:30 at the carpark by the Hopetoun Monument. Go out on the A1 and turn onto the A199 as you get to Haddington (this is the old A1 passing N of Haddington) After 1 mile go left at the roundabout onto the A6137 to Aberlady and after 1 mile turn right. The carpark is soon after that on the right.
This walk is short, but quite steep in places and then we have 132 steps inside the tower. Bring a torch.

Thursday 15th September Kinnoull Tower Perth

Kinnoull Tower was built as a folly in the eighteenth century, by Thomas Hay, 9th Earl of Kinnoull. It was designed to resemble castles along the Rhine he had admired in Germany during his Grand Tour of Europe so when Kinnoull saw a similarity between the mountainous landscape along the Rhine and the rocky outcrops on his estate near Perth, he built a modest castle on the highest point of Kinnoull Hill, with its tower overlooking the River Tay. It’s probably best to do a bit of expectation management here … the Rhine Castles are bigger, a lot bigger.

We have a choice here and can work out which route to take depending on what we prefer to do. Option1 starts in Perth – we can even get there by bus if we want – crosses the river and goes up Kinnoull hill. The path is quite steep in places and a bit of an effort with a 200m climb in about 2km. Option 2 is to park near the top of the hill for a shorter walk and a side trip to the hill fort.