This is a wee walk I love and discovered in reverse several years ago when returning from a hill walk in the area. There is space for parking on the verge next to the gate at the entrance to Gameshope. If you come along Talla its just past the farm on the right side of the road, or coming down the steep road from Meggat on the left right at the bottom of the hill. On the day we decided to go the weather was lovely, but as we drove past Meggat Reservoir the sky got darker and we could see heavy rain clouds coming in ahead! As we parked up the heavens opened and the rain was bouncing back up off the road. So much for having a picnic on our walk. We ended up having the picnic in the car as there was no sign of the rain easing. Luckily by the time we had eaten the skies cleared and we set off up the valley.
|Looking up towards Gameshope|
|Uh oh, not looking good for walking!|
|Talla in the rain|
From the gate the track follows the Games Hope Burn up into the valley, climbing upwards round rocky outcrops, past waterfalls and with steep sided hills on either side. This area is now managed by The Borders Forest Trust following a successful fundraising campaign in 2013. The trust took ownership of 4,527 acres (1,832ha) at Talla & Gameshope to restore a large area of hills and upland valleys to their natural state providing habitats extensive enough to be more sustainable, in contrast to isolated areas of conservation found elsewhere. The trust are undertaking replanting of native woodlands to restore this former sheep farmland to it's natural state.
|The water of the Games Hope Burn tumble through many waterfalls and pools on the way down to Talla Resevoir|
|Striding out in the warm afternoon|
|Climbing up and looking back towards Talla|
Parts of the hillsides are now planted up with native tree saplings, the start of the re-planting of the woodland that would once have covered the valley floor. It will be interesting to see how they do over the years and what the valley will look like in many years to come.
|The valley is full of wild flowers and plants|
|Cryptogramma crispa, the parsley fern|
|Bracken taking in all he surveys, which is not a lot at his height!|
Following the track for 20 minutes or so, enjoying the steep sided hills, making this feel like a hidden gem, eventually the valley opens up to reveal a tin shed and a bothy. The bothy is run by the Mountain Bothies Assossiation and sits on the other side of the river from the track. It's a very picturesque spot. This is where I walked down from my previous hill walk, following the burn from further up in the hills over rough ground. I was never so glad to see the track, after Bracken had pulled me through a very clarty bog!
You can read about that walk here Great weather for the Gameshope Donalds
|The bothy and tin shed come into view|
|The Bothy at Gameshope|
|Keep walking and eventually you will reach The Gray Mares Tail|
|I love the worn colours of this shed|
Having had a wander around and enjoyed the sight of so many buttercups we set off back down the track towards the car. The weather stayed dry thankfully as we returned the way we walked up. There were great examples of lichens on the rocks and plenty butterwort in the wet crevises at the base of the rock faces.
|Some people just won't have their photo taken!|
|orchids in the grass|
|Enjoying the view|
You can't go wrong with this wee walk, it's straight up the track and back again. It is out of the way but the drive from either direction is very scenic and worth the trip for the drive and walk. Refreshments and other amenities can be found soth in Moffat or north west in Broughton and Biggar or east to Innerleitherm, Peebles or Selkirk.
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