HAINING Loch on the edge of Selkirk is a great place for a short walk in winter.
Even on cold, damp days you can get a feeling of escape walking through well-established woodland containing some impressive trees planted by previous owners of the estate.
The estate itself dates back to the 12th century, but the Palladian mansion house overlooking the loch was built in the 18th century. It was bequeathed to the nation in 2009 by its then owner Andrew Nimmo-Smith and is now in the care of a charitable trust.
The house and estate were once owned by the Pringle family who, in the 1820s, kept a collection of wild animals. Nowadays wildfowl provide the loudest noise as you make your way around the water’s edge.
DISTANCE 1 1/2 miles.
HEIGHT CLIMBED 150ft.
TIME 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
MAP OS Landranger 73.
PARK There is car park in the centre of Selkirk, off the Market Place and next to Halliwell’s House Museum (currently closed for the winter).
IN SUMMARY Go through a gap in a wall at the bottom of the car park and follow a path with an information board about the Haining Estate at the start of it. After only about 40 yards, go left at a junction of paths. At the next junction go left again to join a track, but after only another ten yards go right, up steps, to join a path through established woodland.
The fairly muddy path crosses a couple of tracks before dropping down to a t-junction just before Haining Loch. Go left here and begin the walk, through trees, around the stretch of water.
After a little over 100 yards take a detour to the right, down to a wooden platform jutting on to the loch, for a view across the water to the mansion house. Then, rejoin the main path and continue around the loch. At the far end follow a yellow arrow on a marker post to the right to begin the return.
After crossing some duckboards, you pass some impressive old trees, including a large horse chestnut, and another viewing platform at the edge of the loch. Once past a derelict boat house, you emerge in front of a stone stable block next to the main house. Veer left here, away from the buildings and past a giant sequoia. At the top of a bank go right and then almost immediately turn left up steps.
A path follows the edge of a field with an old dovecot in it to reach a junction, where you should go right, following a sign for the Borders Abbeys Way. The path drops to the right and joins a track which leads you in front of the stable block. Once past the entrance to the main house, the track veers left, and just before some brick gate posts you should go right, up a slightly narrower track. After about 50 yards, take a path on the left, followed earlier, to retrace your steps to a junction, where you go right to return to the car park.
REFRESH There is a wide choice in Selkirk.
WHILE YOU ARE IN THE AREA Many of the attractions are closed for winter, but Melrose Abbey, in the centre of the town, is open. Here the heart of Robert the Bruce is thought to be buried (www.historic-scotland.gov.uk).