Tuesday 26 July 2011

Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.

Still there ? As promised, here we go on the second part of yesterday's walk.In which we leave the parish of Lecropt and besport ourselves mainly in the adjoining area of Row. That's pronounced Roo as in

And coincidentally they seem to have employed some fencers from Oz !

What's this ? A hill ?

Climbed off the carse now. I'm guessing, but this could be another section of raised beach..

Gargunnock and Fintry hills

Looking west to where the carse becomes the moss - Flanders Moss.

Up on the ridge now, and the David Stirling Memorial. That's the ....

Stirling, of course, founded the SAS, whose never to be forgotten motto is "Who Dares, Wins, Rodney"
He was a scion of the Stirlings of Keir family, and his nephew Archie likes to be known as the Laird, although Keir House and policies have been sold to Mahdi al-Tajir. Archie formed his own political party, as he rightly felt that none of the existing parties adequately represented hereditary landowners with a penchant for young actresses. It was hugely successful and won a large number of seats in the Scottish Parliament.
No. Wait. I've just checked again. It flopped miserably. There is a god.

Nice gall

And so to Doune. Originally famous for making pistols.

The Mercat Cross where markets were held and executions carried out. Not recently of course. I think the last one was 1968 or something - when they first put in the double yellow lines.

Global corporate HQ of Harveys Maps. Famous, to me anyway, for their excellent panoramas.

And finally -- Doune Castle. You remember Doune Castle don't you ? Course you do. Histeric Scotland have tarted it up a bit since the early '70s, but it's still recognisable, surely. The first castle in the clip.

Monday 25 July 2011

Hay, hay, my, my...........

Typically, the first decent weather since November finds your correspondent somewhat hors de wotsit. Today, however, despite indifferent status reports from the feet department, I just had to get out of the house. (god, these sheriff's officers are persistent !)

My chosen route was a circuit of the Carse of Lecropt. That's

for those of you who can't read.

For latitudinally challenged readers, a carse is a flat river valley which has relatively recently been covered by the sea. The Carse of Lecropt is separated by a link of the Forth from the much bigger Carse of Stirling.

This is a local walk ( for local people) so it was out the back door and over the White Bridge, star of many a previous post.

The major local employer makes bottle tops. Now called, as a result of various corporate restructurings, UCP, it will always be known locally by the strangely 50'ish title of the Kork 'n Seal.

Down on the carse and looking back at Bridge of Allan. The tree line in the middle of the picture is roughly where the beach used to be.

Crossing the M9. The "crag and tail" in the centre is Craigforth, and hidden in the trees is the Scottish HQ of "The Pru".

The familiar Southern Highlands panorama. Bens Lomond, Venue, Aan, Ledi and Stuc a Chroin.

A field of Phacaelia. I know it has several agricultural uses such as green manure and game cover, but I can't quite work out what its doing here. Perhaps being grown for seed ?

The heavy clay soils of the carse are ideal for hay and oats. The area is famous for the quality of it's hay, and Timothy seed crops used to be very profitable. As a youth, I remember lugging hay seed in 1 1/2 cwt sacks.
Men were men in those days, and women were glad of it. Nowadays they probably pack it in 500gm cuben fibre bags.

A couple of big fields of oats. Fewer horses these days, but more muesli eaters.

Estate cottages.

Lecropt Kirk. The original 1400s version was too close to Keir House, so the landowner knocked it down and moved the church and the congregation outside the estate walls. None of the gravestones are later than the 1820s. Real charmers the Stirlings.

An unusual gravestone ! And not just for the pigeon ! The crumbling stone is encased in a cast frame.

A bad case of Oak Powdery Mildew

Had intended to continue to Doune, but discretion, what? Perhaps I'll finish tomorrow. Don't go away, now.

Wednesday 20 July 2011

Thursday 14 July 2011

Menteith Hills - Aberfoyle to Callander

A section of the Rob Roy Way.

Aberfoyle used to be a slate quarrying town

As I went up past the Dounans Outdoor Centre, I saw a bloke cutting grass with what I first thought was an old MF 135, but, as he got closer, realised was an International Harvester. When I went to take this picture there was a message on the screen that images were being saved to internal memory. A quick check revealed that I had left the SD card in the card reader at home..Not clever, but I never claimed to be perfect - draw a line - move on etc. It's the modern way.
Now I had no idea of the implications of this arrangement ( would I need an endoscope to view the pictures?), but I was pretty sure that I would have to ration the photo-opportunities. Good news, eh?

Waymarking was discreet. One of two markers seen over the whole section, but the way was obvious.

Ben Lomond. My first Munro over 50 years ago.

The Highland Boundary Fault.( But I'm not here to apportion blame)

Erratics? Stone Circle ? or what ?

The highlight of the walk - this hidden lochan right up at the highest point.
 I had lunch here. There was just enough breeze to keep away the flies and butterflies which can be so annoying as they  perch all over you in a pathetic attempt to get their photographs on the internet!

A good walk on a pleasant day. Perhaps a tad too much hard surface walking, and where it was soft, there were bits where it was really soft. Not too many long views, either, until near the end.
!0 miles and 1300 ft in 5 hours. A bit more respectable


Tuesday 12 July 2011

Campsie Glen II - This time it's personal.

Avid readers ( and News International journalists) will be aware that last autumn I set out on a little venture in the hitherto unvisited Campsies. This ended badly when I took what is known in medical jargon as "a wee turn".and had to abort the mission.
Yesterday it was time to return to the scene of the crime and attempt to make amends.
The bus goes right into Clachan Of Campsie, and there is a pleasant walk up the wooded glen to emerge at the Crow Road carpark.

The Crow Road is a steepish pass through the Campsies, popular with bikers and boy racers. Some of you may be familiar with the eponymous novel by Iain Banks. In the vernacular, to be "away the crow road" is to be dead - quite a graphic image if you have read "The Twa Corbies"
This carpark is a favourite spot for members of the Glasgow underworld for secret meetings and deals. There was a double murder here a few years ago.

Clachan of Campsie

The way up

The very stone where I succumbed last time

Glasgow !

I may have been lucky so far, but this was the wettest, squelchiest walk I have done this year. I kept hearing the phrase "What is it that's not exactly water, and ain't exactly earth ?". I have considered putting that clip up several times, but have been deterred by the possibility of causing offence to the politically correct readership of this blog.

A glimpse of Stronend

Top of Cort-Ma-Law with Meikle Bin in the background.

I had left myself three options for the completion of this walk, and, in the end, opted for Plan D, the steepish descent straight down the scarp. There was a roughish metalled track ( you know the kind - like walking on scree) for most of the way down.

Wildflower Central today, with the grasses particularly impressive. loads of butterflies, mainly Scotch Argus with some small yellow jobs which could have been Clouded Yellows. The little buggers would not sit still and spread out their wings like they do for Mark and Danny's pics - I will carry a taser next time.

And so onward to a finish in mute inglorious Milton of Campsie.
Success ? Well obviously, and I shouldn't be greedy, but I am still very slow.About 6 miles and 600 feet of up and it took me just under 5 hours. Naismith, he say 2hr 45min. However, if I can get the camping thing organised, I can do the longer day walks over two days, as I did last weekend in the Lowthers (so graphically described in the excellent "Golfing in Brobdingnag" post which most of you were too busy washing your hair to read)


Feck it

Here it is

Wednesday 6 July 2011

Birding help required

Sorry about the pic quality. This one has got me a bit confused. The neck ring and pale underside suggest Ringed Plover, but the bill seems too long.