"Mills & Mines, Towers & Trees" Canonbie / Hollows Area
Thirty of us set off westwards through Canonbie village to take the minor road north to the Hollows and the Gilnockie Tower. After a bit of Reiver history, the party followed the River Esk down stream past the mill dam, sluice and subterranean mill lade to Hollows Mill, where miller Craig Nicolson and his father Jim very kindly gave us a short tour of this working water mill.
Crossing Gilnockie Bridge, the walkers then travelled north along the east bank of the Esk and by a woodland path up hill to walk the track of the former Langholm Branch railway to Gilnockie Station. We then made our way down into the steep sided Byreburn, where the mining history of the valley was discussed, with Jim Hawkings describing the operation of a "bell mine".
Moving up stream we passed the site of the former 100 foot high Byreburn Viaduct, demolished in the 1980's, and passing Byreburnside Farm crossed the rail track once again to follow the edge of the Byreburn Wood. Passing through an area of current timber operations, where the our path had been cleared of brash, into an area known as Hollowell Bogs, to walk among 100 year old and 150 foot tall fir trees, stopping to admire what is, allegedly, the largest Sitka Spruce tree in Dumfriesshire and then returning to our starting point down the former A7 road.