Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Hightown Hill,Bishop Forest Hill and the Ukranian Chapel.

A report from a few months ago in early June.I`ll leave it here for a few days and then file it in it`s proper place.As Bob is somewhat incapacitated right now I`m going to try and get rid of the ever increasing backlog of walks


I like doing all sorts of things in addition to hills.Quite a few Marilyns are nice easy wee hills and it`s always interesting to have a root around the area for additional interest.These two hills were a case in point.I can`t remember where Bob was on this particular day.Todays hills were Hightown Hill and Bishop Forest Hill.

A lovely sunny day was in prospect so I decided to go down to bag a few Dumfriesshire hills for a change.I`ve never yet managed to visit the Italian Chapel on Orkney but today I was to discover it`s equal at the other end of Scotland . I turned off the M74 at Lockerbie and was aiming for Hightown Hill when I noticed a small homemade sign at the side of the road. "Ukranian POW Chapel" it said.Followed the sign down a few minor roads and eventually came to what looked like a heavy goods vehicle yard.The sign to the Chapel indicated I should go in here so that`s what I did.It didn`t look too promising I can tell you..! There was a small car park and a workshop with a few lorries outside.A couple of men chatting away gave a nod in my direction.Another small sign at the edge of the car park said "Chapel this way".Around the corner the chapel came into view....


Not very promising looking , is it ?

Here`s what greets you when you open the door....


It`s a riot of colour....


This is a hidden gem of a place
They Ukranian prisoners of war obviously had no access to money for materials as it`s entirely made out of random pieces of timber,plywood, plasterboard,carpets and Christmas decorations.What a job they done though.! It`s still in use to this day by the Ukranian community in Scotland.A caravan next door is left open and has a small display of newspaper cuttings etc.A nice touch is the kettle,tea/coffee/milk and biscuits left there for visitors.More info and pics here....

Ukranian chapel at Lockerbie

I found this video on Youtube which goes into more detail and is worth watching if you are interested...



Back on the road again,through Lochmaben, and I parked opposite Hightown farm at the start of the marked path.It didn`t take long to get to the trig point at the summit.As an isolated hill the views were expansive but too distant for a camera to capture with any interest.Queensberry was prominent to the north and the Lake District was just visible through the haze to the south.

The summit of Hightown Hill...



Onwards to the next hill of the day,Bishop Forest Hill,via a quick snack at a roadside coffee bar outside Dumfries.I knew there was a sculpture park of sorts up Glenkiln but was surprised by the lack of signs in this regard.A small discreet one past Shawhead was the only indication that there was something up there.I pulled in to the small car park at the head of Glenkiln Reservoir and parked below this.

John the Baptist by Jacob Epstein...


Further along the road.Henry Moore....The King and Queen.


For a detailed description of the various sculptures  and some excellent pics visit this site....

Glenkiln sculptures 

A couple of greylag geese were posing by the banks of the reservoir on the walk back to the car...


I didn`t time myself as it was a nice sunny day and I was in no rush but I`d guess it probably takes around an hour to vist them all.Picked up the car and drove up the glen a bit to Marglolly Bridge where there is room for a car to squeeze in at the entrance to Slongaber farm.


From there an unmarked track goes all the way up to around 1,100 feet or so leaving a battle with the tussocks for the remaining kilometre over to the trig point and the huge cairn at the summit of Bishop Forest Hill.


I came home via Moniaive which was added to my list of places to retire to as it seems to have more than it`s fair share of old hippies
To give the day a more modern bent sculpture wise I paid another visit to the Andy Goldsworthy one further up the road outside Penpont.




All that was left was a pleasant evenings drive over the Dalveen Pass and back up the motorway.A day with a difference and unusual in that the hills were the lesser of the days pleasures.

2 comments:

writesofway.com said...

A splendid cultural day out, Alex. Myself and the lovely Fiona have been meaning to visit the Ukrainian Chapel for a while, so we'll make a point of it now. Thanks.

The Italian Chapel in the Orkneys is definitely worth a visit too - adds a bit of variety to all that Viking and Neolithic stuff going on up there. Timing a visit to watch the Ba'in Kirkwall is a must. Nowhere else in the world can you watch 100 loonies fight to the death over a small cork ball then jump into the harbour. In January.

Alex said...

I`ve always missed out on Orkney and Shetland because I was fixated by mountains Peter but Shetland in particular is on the agenda.

If going to the Ukranian Chapel you could double it up with the Samye Ling Buddhist centre near Eskdalemuir.Some of the gold leaf work in there has to be seen to be believed.Nice scones there though a distinct lack of rolls and sausage for some reason...