In 1882-4, Frances Groome’s Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland described Carlops…
Carlops, a village in Linton parish, NW Peeblesshire, on the North Esk river, at the boundary with Edinburghshire, 14 miles SSW of Edinburgh, and 2¾ NNE of West Linton. Founded in 1784, it came to be inhabited chiefly by cotton weavers, and now is a centre of traffic for the working of coal and limestone in its neighbourhood, and has a Free church and two inns. Carlops Hill, ¾ mile W by N, rises 1490 feet above sea-level.
Nowadays, cotton weaving, coal working and limestone works are long gone. There is still a church, but just one inn, the Allan Ramsay Hotel. Mostly, Carlops is now a small attractive dormitory settlement although it also boasts a thriving village community hall which hosts film evenings and live play and theatre events, as well as a popular monthly market fair selling local goods and farm produce.
Roughly five miles from West Linton is the small hamlet of Ninemileburn. There was once a nice little pub here, the Habbies Howe, now long closed. The cottages facing the road are now private housing and where the Habbies used to be.
The pub was named after a river gorge a mile away, now within the Newhall Estate and mentioned by the writer Allan Ramsay in his work ‘The Gentle Shepherd’ first published in 1725.
If this pic had been for an advertising or tourism brochure, I would of course have firstly removed the ugly wheely bin!
Just along this small road from Ninemileburn towards Carlops, in the same direction the postal van is travelling is Patieshill, a comfortable bed and breakfast which is part of a working sheep farm. Patieshill B&B is popular with walkers and hill explorers.
Following the track in the picture below leads to a footpath through the trees that runs parallel with the main road and then to a series of steps back down onto the A702 just outside Carlops.
Passed through Carlops one day in about 1996 and saw these guys up on top of ‘The Rock’. I parked the car in the little carpark and went up aound the small path at the back and asked if they minded if I did a few pics. It turned out they were from Broomlee Camp just outside the village.
The wooden hut visible in the first picture is the old Carlops Village Hall.
Scans from 35mm colour transparencies.
Following a couple of instances in recent years of bits falling off onto vehicles, ‘The Rock’ has now been fenced off around the base beside the car park. This doesn’t affect access to the lowly top however.
Just over a mile from Carlops, Harbour Craig isn’t one of those features that when you see it for the first time hits you in the face and makes you go ‘wow’. It’s not even significant until you get closer. After vaulting the odd barbed wire fence or two and moving onwards to a small valley, seeing the outcrop for the first time if you’ve already read what happened beforehand, brings the tale together.
History relates that 17th century covenanters used this place as a retreat and meeting point where they took refuge during their struggles in opposition to the interference by the Stuart kings in the affairs of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. In terms of strategy, it’s really a no-brainer why they chose this spot. It’s nicely hidden.
There are vague weathered inscriptions and names carved on the rocks which clearly aren’t modern graffiti. Harbour Craig is an interesting place to visit but chose when you go. My outing took me through knee high mud, so possibly I didn’t follow the correct path or maybe I just went at the the wrong time of year.
Carlops is a small village three miles from West Linton in the Scottish Borders, just outside the boundary with Midlothian.
The village was founded in 1784 and developed cotton weaving, coalmining and limestone mining.
The name derives from “Witches’ Leap” (Scots: ‘Carlins Lowp’) as near the south of the village there are two exposed rock faces about 20 metres in height facing each other with a similar distance between them. Folklore maintained that witches would leap from one face to the other, over the chasm, for entertainment of an evening.
This picture was taken from near the top of Patties Hill on a bitingly cold and windy November day (sometimes I doubt my sanity) and shows Carlops with the A702 trunk road snaking up towards West Linton.