Yes, once again it’s the feast of St. Jeremy, patron saint of twats.
The young men of the land, circulate the streets of the villages in Nissan Micras with defective silencers, while the maidens (and I use the term loosely) compare tattoos and drink vodka until they fall down. Meanwhile the village elders don pink tu-tus, put flowers in their hair and set off in procession to “inspect the paths”. This an ancient ritual aimed at appeasing the goddess A’ Xsoffisah before the end of the month.
Having done all my in-by paths last week, I have been waiting for an opportune moment to pop up Menstrie Glen. The path to be inspected is only about 3 miles, but requires a walk in/out making the total nearer 10. And that is about a day’s endeavour for me these days. And an official grading of “two bananas”.
I wont bore you with the initial details – this is the third time we’ve done this together this year, and the only “issue” today was this cross drain which requires a ranger to cut a nick in the down side retainer to let the water away.
What I will bore you with, however,is today's walk-out variation, which was a new one.Normally I carry on past Lossburn reservoir, round the back of Dumyat to Sheriffnuir Road and home by Cocksburn reservoir.Today's plan was to go round the head of the glen and then come back down the West side to Menstrie.
I must say that I have never had any hassle from heilan’ kye, even when they have calves at foot, but they do like to stand in the middle of the path and stare you out right to the last minute.
The dam at Lossburn reservoir. Now, Scotland’s water supply is currently on a grid system, fed by a few massive reservoirs, and all over the country are hundreds of former burgh waterworks which Scottish Water is legally bound to maintain. And what does millions of gallons of water held back against gravity represent, children? That's right , Energy. Hundreds of mini hydro schemes just crying out for a subsidy.
The ruins of the old farm of Jerah. Looks ancient, but I believe people were living and working here into the 1950’s.
Now from here on, things got a bit hairy for an hour or so. I refer you to the relevant chapters in my book “Hillwalkers Hairy Bits”.
These being “Is it a path or a sheep trod ?” “The narrowing gorge” “Hanging onto tree roots over a 50ft drop” “The 100 ft climb out up ridiculously steep wet grass and bracken” In the course of the latter I slipped and fell, and my knob made a deep bruise on my upper thigh.
The hard rubber knob you put on the end of your walking pole in transit, and take off and put in your trouser pocket when you are on soft ground.
And there’s more. i found myself in a sea, nay an ocean, of shoulder-high bracken. I watched a line of spear tips cross my path and assumed it must be a hunting party of the Weraphekawi tribe. After thrashing about for half an hour or so, I reached one of dem erotic boulders and stopped to consume banana#2 and formulate a cunning plan. This was to drop back down to the valley bottom, cross the burn, and climb up some steepish pasture land to hit the track I had come up on. Ok, that would work.However, on reaching the bank of the burn I crossed what looked suspiciously like – a path.
Deciding to give it a try for a few hundred yards, it soon morphed into a delightful thoroughfare with bridges and stuff, the sun came out and everything turned out for the best in the best of all possible worlds.
Except I was late for my tea, and Mrs.OM had a tooth abscess and was in a bad mood. O,joy.
How 48 years seem to have flown by. My, my….