Mass jail break
Nine Carnethy members made a dramatic escape by blasting a hole in the prison wall and running away into the surrounding hills. The escapers are still at large.
That’s what the photo suggests but the real events were rather more prosaic. Nine of us set off from Innerleithen on a wet and windy morning on a journey run into the surrounding hills. A steep climb up Pirn Craig and Kirnie Law brought us onto the open hillside and into view of the Big Surprise. This was a huge concrete tank, high in the hills, which was built in the 1920s as part of the world’s first pumped storage scheme; it was used to power the mills in Walkerburn. Apparently when the mill was closed, children used to climb up the ladder, over the top of the wall and down another ladder into the tank to swim. One day the inner ladder broke and the children were trapped inside. Luckily they were rescued but the Army were called to blast a hole in the side of the tank so that “This could never happen again.”
We continued, less eventfully, over Priesthope Hill and Glede Knowe into a stiff wind and thickening mist. Luckily there was a fence line to follow to keep us on the right course. We turned southwards onto Scawd Law and Cairn Hill. At the top of the hill Alan found us a very nice sheltered spot for lunch, tucked under the trees out of the wind and rain. After lunch a very muddy path took us down a firebreak to a forest road at the bottom and we continued on good tracks downhill. Just before Walkerburn a divergence of opinion split the group into two – some opting for the wide farm track and others opting for the increasingly muddy path, the wet burn, the fierce horses and I know not what else. We regrouped on the main road, opposite the cast iron pissoir which stands at the side of the road.
After that, there was a pleasant run along the banks of the Tweed back to Innerleithen. Some of us celebrated a good day out with coffee and cakes in a local café.