Friday 26 August 2011

The Allanwater Way (Part the First)

Today I set off to do one of my regular rehab walks.

It goes from Kinbuck, following the Allan Water to Dunblane, and the Darn Walk to Bridge of Allan.  Then along the Allan to it's junction with the Forth, and hence to Stirling. About 10 miles, mainly downhill - that's what rivers do.
If you fancy doing this, then I suggest you park in Stirling and get the wee diddy C48 bus to Kinbuck. If you live in Kinbuck, ignore that last bit.

It was an overcast and misty day when I left the house.

The Allan rises somewhere above Blackford, but the upper reaches are serpentine, partly canalised, and not nice walking.

Kinbuck was an estate and mill village. This old carding mill was the first of more than a dozen mills of various kinds on this stretch of the Allan Water

Since the mill closed, local people have to eke out a living doing casual farm work and selling Big Issue

About this point I thought I heard the sound of kegs being rolled around in the pub carpark. Then I remembered that there is no pub in Kinbuck. Then big, and I mean big, drops of rain began to fall. So that was the theme for the next few hours - thunder
A path goes down to the river bank from just before the railway bridge and continues through a flower-rich meadow to Ashfield. It was tipping down.

Ashfield is an interesting wee place. No, really.

It was built as a model village for employees of the Airfix company.(Actually, J and J Pullar, Bleachers and Dyers, of Keirfield, Bridge of Allan.) Laid out around a square, it displayed most of the good and bad features of Victorian paternalism.

The mill apparently did a nice line in striped linings for gents waistcoats. The Pullars sold up after WWII, and British Silk Dyers kept the place going as a significant local employer until the 1960s.These days, various small businesses use some of the buildings. The old mill lade has been utilised to power a small run-of-the river electricity generator

The old water tower converted to housing.

This is a Roman fort. It is. Honest. OK, I'll go up for a closer look.

There ! Told you. That mound was probably the cantinium or something. I got the sheep to pose there for some perspective - visual and historical. Just imagine the sheep wearing sandals, a little leather skirt and a helmet.
Hmmn - I seemed to have fired the imagination of the Welsh and Aberdonian readers there.

Burial site of a neolithic relative of the Loch Ness monster.

If you were driving on the A9 north of Dunblane at about 12.30, I was having a pee underneath you.

More mills

I took shelter and stock under the railway bridge at the Laigh Hills park . I was drookit. I had selected my old red Wynster rainjacket - I  just felt sort of "Scarlet" , you know, this morning. Despite recent spray re-proofing, this proved to have all the functionality of a chocolate fireguard. Good to find this out so close to home. I took off my shoes and wrung out my socks. A lot of dead skin and scar tissue had dissolved and was now lying on the path. I will have to rethink my footwear strategy.

There was no need to persevere - it was only a walk. I squelched into Dunblane and got a bus home.

(To be continued)


  1. Just what I needed to brighten up a dull day in Darlington.
    Alen McF

  2. Cheers, Alen. It's like a January day here !