Monday 29 October 2012

Top Gear

Attentive followers of this blog will have noticed that it tends to display a less than reverential approach to gear in general and gear reviews in particular.
They will be surprised, therefore, to hear that I am frequently (  ok, four times and counting)  offered items to test and review on the blog. No shit !
My response (to date) has been along the lines of "Have you actually read the blog ? If so get back to me and we can talk turkey"  None of the "Internet Marketing Consultants" has taken the matter any further.
Which is a pity. I wouldn't be averse to trying out a £400 jacket or a titanium whistle, as long as my artistic integrity wasn't compromised.

But then, as our first guest said in the intro to the wistful "Screw you, we're from Texas" previously on this blog..
"The trouble with irony is - not everyone gets it".  Amen.

Saturday 20 October 2012

Where did everybody go ?

Yesterday was a little walkfrom one of the council's excellent Community Paths leaflets. Dunblane to Kilbryde and back.

It was raining for most of the way, so not many piccies. (Altogether now.....)

Initially I had to travel from The Spa Town to The Cathedral City, as the local paper would put it. This unfortunately involved travelling by Stagecoach, and so, indirectly funding evil christian bigot Brian Souter's impending purchase of a peerage. but needs must, eh.

The walk initially follows the Old Doune Road, starting at the historically significant Tesco site.

At the top of the hill the path crosses a footbridge over the A9 dual carriageway. Yo will have travelled this way if you have driven from Glasgow or Edinburgh to Perth /Dundee/Inverness.

Murdoch's Ford. Once upon a time, as Simon Schama would say, the Scottish king was captured and held to ransom by the perfidious English. Murdoch, Duke of Albany was appointed Regent and began to enjoy all the privileges and appurtenances ( especially the appurtenances !) of the sovereign. The king would send messengers to ask when the ransom would be paid and Regent Murdoch would reply that he was waiting for a cheque to clear etc. This went on for 12 years, and when James was eventually released, he came hunting for Murdoch. Legend has it that he was arrested at this very spot, taken to Stirling and beheaded on the  Heading Stone on the Gowan Hill. His son was also executed despite his protestations that he had known nothing about it, and had never seen any e-mails relating to the governance of the realm.

Kilbryde Chapel. All that remains of a village and community of 700 people in the 19th century

So, where did they all go ?

Well some of them went here, obviously. But the rest .....

Did I mention that it had been a bit wet around here ?

A bit of nostalgia on the return route. This is the track bed of the old Dunblane to Crianlarich railway. For me, and many others this was the way into the Southern Highlands. Callander, Strathyre, Balquhidder Station ( sodding miles from Balquhidder village and the youth hostel !) and Lochearnhead. The line up Glenogle washed out in the '60s and was never reinstated although it now operates as a cycle track and is part of the Rob Roy Way

All good stuff

Friday 19 October 2012

Broadcast media edition

Some good advice from Kilgore's young brother.


BBC accused of shortism

Monday 15 October 2012

A week is a long time... wet socks, as someone once said. And who am I to disagree ?

As someone once sang.

Monday started not too badly.It's always a bit  soggy going round Cocksburn, but nothing outrageous. The trade route up Dumyat is mainly nice and dry apart from two soft bits. Wide diversions from the path and careful placement avoided the shoes topping over.

The way down to Menstrie was not boggy but slippy in places.

Wednesday was Pendreich Moor. Now I always knew that this was going to be wet, but the few dry sunny days had convinced me that it was unlikely to get any drier before June.I was looking for a wee piece of local history that I had deduced was up there.

It's a tricky little area to navigate with an awkward combination of bogs, fences, thick clumps of gorse and steep slippy gullies.

I squelched around, at times knee deep, for a couple of hours. Didn't find what I was looking for, but worked out a route for further investigation.

Friday. To Tullibody by bus. As I walked along Park Drive (?) I remembered that probably the last time I had been in this particular 1km square had been about 50 years previously when I had attended a four police car party. Sic transit...

My route lay along the top of the golf course with some unusual (for me) views of the Ochils and the Forth

The Red Well. I'm sure it has fantastic story to tell, but you'll have to Google it as I can't be arsed You can't expect me to do everything for you, You'll need to stand on your own feet someday..

And here too, there was mud.

A kissing-gate with a bit of wrought iron embelishment.Probably Victorian, so no tongues, then.

A "bracing" walk along the "sea wall" with views of the Forth and The Ochils. Again.

The cauld on the Devon at Cambus just before it flows into the Forth.

Iron Bridge . No longer in use and recently restored.

And today, Monday. A lovely day with a typically crap forecast for the rest of the week. I fancied a change of mud, so across the valley to Gargunnock.

Up the glen, through the quarry and up onto the escarpment.

The Carse and the start of the Highlands

And again it was really muddy, over the shoe stuff in many places.
Tarmac only for me until June, I think

Saturday 13 October 2012

Peasants dance in the streets of Tullibody

The rice harvest has been saved  - the rains have come.
Assuming that I was some kind of Rain God, people reached out to touch the hem of my garment as I strode through their quaint little village on my way to walk the Cambus circuit,
By the time I got on to the river side flood defence wall the sun had come out and a stiff "onshore" breeze was blowing. But both the Forth and the Devon were very much in "big water" mode.
Fine walk - about 5 miles- not much uphill- about two hours - kinda par for me at the moment,

PS. I am planning an omnibus post with pics and more detail about recent walks when I get , how you say, online, again.

PPS. The most worrying thing for me about the Lance Armstrong thing is that it might encourage some young drug users to think cycling is cool.

Thursday 11 October 2012

Elvis impersonators upset

.by rumours of a hosepipe ban as the horrific drought that has crippled Central Scotland entered it's fourth day.
Yer man here took the chance to squelch about on the moor above Pendreich looking for the final piece of a jigsaw. This is a knee deep bog, and I had hoped that it might be slightly drier than usual.
Weeeell - up to a point, Lord Copper. That point being the top of the calf.
Interesting (but stoopid!)

Tuesday 9 October 2012

Taking advantage..

..of the freak weather conditions (it hadn't rained for nearly 48 hours !) I walked from Bridge of Allan to Menstrie over Dumyat.
No pics or detail as I am not on my own computer. Just putting this on record for my own future reference.

Fine walk up through the Coppermine Woods onto Sheriffmuir and over the top. Great views, delicious burning in the big muscles at the front of the thighs, two excellent bananas. Another of thae small steps.

Friday 5 October 2012

I don't like it. It's all going too well

For today's venture I was looking for something to get me on to a hill, something to work on the "up" muscles, something I had done before ( to measure how I'm doing), and something that would be  less than calf deep  in mud. As you can imagine, I was not spoilt for choice.

The eventual winner was The Nebit, a cutesy little hill above Alva.

You start off up Alva Glen where the waterfall was every bit as spectacular as yon Viagra Falls in Canada

Then traverse across to Silver Glen and up the windfarm haul road.
Complete with cross drains !

At the sheep pens, I did consider going East up Ben Ever, but decide to stick to the original plan. Next time !

Call that a summit cairn ? These Tory cuts are really starting to bite.

Now the last time I was up here it was very windy and it was the day that I finally decide that the two walking poles configuration was not for me - they kept getting blown between my ankles.What? Well if you find that amusing that's your problem.

The Hills 0' Fife. must get over there sometime

On the way down I was trying to remember when I was last on top of a hill. The blog archive revealed that it was Myreton Hill in January. And before that, I think, Louise Wood Hill in July 2011. FFS. A missing year right enough.

Tuesday 2 October 2012

Peuth Inspector Clouseau Closes the Case

We at the Surete (Access Division) never give up until the last kilometre of peuth has been walked and the last stile shaken. Like a poodle with a bin, we are !

So as yesterday promised to be what passes for a reasonable day, I set off to complete the inspection I had started on Saturday. Now this little mini-network involves a bit of doubling back and overlapping, but still could easily be completed by a fit and active person in one session. But then, a fit and active person wouldn't be writing this blog. You can't have it both ways

The weather was that familiar struggle between the Sun King and The Rain God - hazy sun trying to burst through the cloud and halfhearted spitting of rain

On Saturday I had louped this stile and headed off down the glen for the bus home. Today it was onward and upward.

The first of the 478 frustrating false summits (I've counted them !) if you choose to ascend Dumyat from this side.

Interesting question - when does a cross-drain become a ford ?

This little spot just seemed to have "Reserved for OM's Arse" written on it. "Table for one,sir? certainly. Are you having the set menu? Can I recommend the banana with hardly any black bits, followed by the cheap Tesco coffee from the flask ?  Enjoy" The Rain God was beginning to prevail, so I didn't tarry, and moved on , leaving a generous tip (Don't eat yellow snow)

Those of you who are reading this without moving your lips might be thinking "That's not a path - that's a track" Correct. However it is part of the Core Path Network As the Bee Gees said "It's only words"

We're at over 1000 ft here, and it's raining fairly steadily

Here's an "issue". If that lett was just lowered a bit the puddle would drain away.

This junction marks the end of my jurisdiction. I had planned on retracing my steps, however there was a longer option to carry on up Glen Loss to the Sheriffmuir Road and home that way. It had stopped raining, I felt surprisingly fit, and, with the weight of  official responsibility lifted from my shoulders (must get some of that titanium responsibility) I carried on up the glen.

I don't know who is responsible for this path, but judging by the straightness, it's probably Via Inspector Morse.

Colsnaur. It holds the snow early and late.

When I was up her last year they were in the middle of harvesting this little bit of woodland. Now it's just a corpse of clear- fell with only the buzzard poles remaining.

And so back home by way of the reservoir. No sign of the swans. Does anyone know what has happened to Danny who used to blog about cups and rings and a whole lot of other interesting stuff ?

About 7 miles and 1100 ft. Perhaps, just perhaps, we might be starting to get somewhere again