I had been waiting for a spell of bright sunny weather for this little jaunt, but it had seemed as if Godot was more likely to turn up first.
However, I got a text from Estragon last night saying Godot had tweeted that he had been delayed again, and that I should just go ahead and they would catch me up.
As it happened, it was a not unpleasant morning as a pair of Mr. First's finest charabancs conveyed me to Thornhill. The Stirlingshire one, that is.
What can I say about Thornhill to make it seem interesting for you ?. Apart from the wifeswapping and devil worship, obviously.
Well, Thornhill started as a "planned village" in the late 17th century. It would appear that the "planning" consisted of drawing two intersecting lines and writing "Her be the roads. Build ye hooses along them. And send the feu duties to The Laird, c/o The Boozy Harlot Inn, Pall Mall, London"
They have Wigwams. Hmmm ! Would you give your holiday money to people who can't tell a tent from a shed ?
And there is a camp site , although no doubt you could get B&B in the village for the cost of a single tent pitch.
Come to think of it you could probably get B&B and a boozy harlot in the village for the cost of a pitch.
If what we are going to see is "before" this is after - flat drained productive farmland.
Here's our destination.
Flanders Moss is a raised bog, raised above the surrounding land by successive growths of sphagnum and it's decomposition to peat.At one point after the sea retreated, all the flat land of the carse was an impenetrable boggy barrier to North-South travel apart from the Long Causeway (Causewayhead) leading to Stirling Bridge. To get at the fertile alluvial land underneath the peat, the landowners offered rent-free plots to displaced highlanders. All they had to do was strip the peat by hand and then drain and cultivate the land.
The locals laughingly referred to these poor sods (!) as "moss lairds"
The post shows the levels of the peat at various times in the past.
As I was taking this photograph, a couple walked over from the car park. Now, I don't like to stereotype people, but....shaven head, tattoos, calf length shorts , white trainers and Engerland top !!
And the bloke was a bit rough as well. I said good morning, as you do, and from two feet away they studiously ignored me.
Cards on the table. This is not a fun day out for the kids.\it's worth seeing, but you would need to be seriously into natural history/ecology to spend much more than an hour there, although I am sure it is worth visiting at different time of the year.
I'm unsure about the conservation/management of living ecosystems like this. But I don't really know enough about it to express an opinion. (Whadya mean "It's never stopped you before"?)
As I was approaching the footbridge exit, I saw a prone figure in the recovery position witat rucksack, poles and jacket strewn around him. At last - a chance to use all these years of first aid training! DR ABC was running through my head as I approached, but it was a young fellow with a fancy camera taking a close up photo of some resting lepidoptera. An interesting chat went some way to restoring my faith in the human spirit
All around the air was blue as farmers struggled to make hay in extremely unfavourable conditions.
This had me puzzled for a minute. It's a crop of Salix (willow) presumably for coppicing for biofuel.
And so back to Thornhill, where the populace remained determinedly engaged in their nefarious pursuits behind firmly closed doors
I had thought, perhaps, something romantic for tonights musical divertissement.
Maybe The Dropkick Murphys' Kiss me - I'm shitfaced"
But instead I settled for an old favourite of mine.