Walking In Scotland - My Way!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The New 2006 Season

Hello there. This year there will be the two of us writing on this blog so that you can read about the various activities from the male and the female side of things! It's only been a year since I have been taking a serious part in walking the various hills and mountain's of Scotland, but with the both of us now training 2-3 times a week in the Gym and pushing hard to take in as many walks as possible, we intend 2006 to be the year in which we push ourselves and also others to venturing into the wilderness and having fun while keeping fit.

To finish the year off Gordon decided that we should walk up the Cobbler on Xmas morning, and we did. He decided to write about this on his personal MSN blog as he found this blog limiting to the way the pictures can be shown. If you are interested in reading about that great day, pop over to: http://spaces.msn.com/members/gogsspot/

So, the two of us will now be updating this blog, we just hope we can make it interesting enough for anyone to read and come back to visit!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Long Walk To Ben Venue Posted by Picasa

Looking across to Ben Arthur (The Cobbler) Posted by Picasa

Mid Point of Ben Venue Posted by Picasa

A view near peak of Ben Venue Posted by Picasa

Deer on the horizon? Posted by Picasa

Pointing to Ben A'an Posted by Picasa

Path To Ben Venue Posted by Picasa

Style To BenVenue Posted by Picasa

Beastie1 Posted by Picasa

David Marshall Lodge

David Marshall Lodge

Arrived at 8:20am - Left at 12:20pm

Side hill on left hand side of the road approaching the lodge car park.

On main path, walk down and then take the first turn on your left hand side.

Walk straight up the hill and you will come out at the main road.

This should be enough to get you breathing a little harder and warming things up a bit.

Cross the road and follow the winding path up the hill.

It should not take you any more than 30 minutes to get to the top of here.

By the time you reach the top, you should have the cobwebs coming from your lungs and the sweat starting to flow nicely!

From the peak, look to your right and you will see a jagged rock outline in the distance. This is where we decided to head towards.

The walk towards this outcrop is pretty featureless, and it becomes a test to keep your mind from wandering and you plod through the heather and brush. We followed a small path worn in the grass down the hill towards a fence that we had to climb over (using the provided wooden ladders). From there it was a case of following the only path through the trees.

Half way through we encountered a few Deer who decided to bolt as we wandered into a marshy section of the path. From there we turned to the right, still the only real path there until we wandered up a new path that appears to be getting built at the moment.

From there we just focussed on the ridge and plodded onwards through heather, and bog!

Arriving at the ridge we discovered a plaque that had been placed by, we think, a hill walkers/ramblers club. The sad thing was the thing had been broken, and a few bits scattered around. Now, this may have been natural, but we somehow got the feeling it was done by other walkers. If that was the case, how sad is that!!

From there we just headed downwards to wards the direction of the hills to the west and eventually came back out to the main road again, and just followed the road down until we got back to the side path, and in turn down back to the car park.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

BEN VENUE THE RETURN

If you read my last post, you will see that I failed to get anywhere close to reaching the summit of “Ben Venue” – Pronounced “Ben Ven Noo”. Don’t ask me why they name things this way, they just do!

Today was my good ladies birthday and she said that she wanted to go and do another bit of walking, and she asked me where I wanted to go. The more I thought about things, the more I was certain that I was not going to go back to that “DAM HILL” and suggested that we would go elsewhere, but I had no real idea where that would be.

So, with rucksacks fully laden correctly with water and enough food, and other essential items, we jumped into the car and set off to walk somewhere nice!

As I drove from Glasgow, I decided to head out towards Aberfoyle and see what hills we could have an easy day out with. The closer I got to Aberfoyle, the more “Ben Venue” started to eat away at me, and I started to get more agitated as I realized the dam thing had beaten me, and if there is one thing I never allow to happen, is for something to beat me, more so when the failure is down to my own ineptitude! So… the decision was made, we headed towards out own “Mount Doom”

Once again, we arrived at the car park, and ignored the obvious route before us (see previous story) and headed towards the hotel and set forth up the beaten track. We left at 11:00am on an overcast, but still very warm day, and managed to get up to the last location we left defeated in around 20 minutes!!!!

This time we followed the “Blue” markers and ignored our little route book… and plodded up through the pathway if the trees, and then over the style, and then on through the boring tract of hillside…

I have to say here right now that this walk (so far) rates as one of the most boring (scenery wise on the way up) that I have ever experienced. It took every ounce of mental energy to keep myself from just turning back, it was just so boooooring to do!

Once we reached the main summit (you will know this by the big pile of rocks – cairn) we then had a choice of going right towards “Ben Venue” or left towards another range of hills. Going left we then saw the views open up before us, and it was stunning! The photographs do not do this view any justice, you really do have to be there to understand this. Looking left, we then saw a winding path and a crowd of walkers all plodding along it as though it was a stroll through a park! At the time of writing this I don’t have a clue where they started from, but I’ll be checking that out soon.

Saying a cheery “Hello” to a German couple who just seemed to spring out of nowhere, we started towards the main peak, and this was pretty easy going with lots of nice stops to take in the scenery. Getting closer to the summit, and the main Cairn, I stopped and looked, and saw DEER on the summit! Mentioning this to my wife we both looked, and even though it was a fair distance away, you could see them standing there looking towards us!

Now, anyone who knows deer, knows that these animals just don’t stick around when us humans are around, but this one kept looking, and then, there was another beside it! Two of them! Firing off shot after shot on the digital camera, we moved closer and closer, and still they refused to run away… Then as we got even closer I stopped as one turned, and I mentioned that, at that angle they looked like Goats! We both laughed at how stupid this appeared, and continued to sneak up for a closer shot!

Getting closer to the summit, panic set in as I thought I was not going to get a shot of the deer, so I decided to run up the final part at full belt and stun them with my agility! The sound of an overweight townie blundering up a hill must have been the final straw for them, as when I leaped up onto the summit… there was nothing to be seen! Not a trace!!!

So, we set up camp for some food, photographs, and a bit of a relaxing session, and then the decent was started. My wife mentioned that maybe we should go down a different way from the way we came, and we noticed a path leading down towards the middle section we had travelled along. So, we went down, and I lost my footing a few times, twanged the tendons on my left foot quite a bit and then on my final stumble I fell and looked around and saw two “Goats” looking at me as though I was from a different planet! The Deer had in fact been two friggin Goats! I hope you enjoy their photograph as I’m sure they loved having it taken!

The journey back down was pretty uneventful other than meeting a rather nice Toad who loved me taking his photograph

Sunday, July 10, 2005

BEN VENUE - SO NEAR YET SO FAR

This is a classic tale of a walk undertaken with good intentions, but let down by two people who would have been better off staying in their bed and just avoiding the outside world altogether!

After doing Ben A'an a few days ago, we decided to try for Ben Venue, thinking that that would be these two tagged and out of the way. Today was one of those days in which the sun was out in all of it's glory, and I just knew that the heat and the sunshine would really take its toll on us, though more so me as I just seem to boil whenever I go hill walking and do it in the sunshine!

Anyway, we both arrived and parked up in the car park assigned for walkers who want to go and do the Ben Venue walk. The posts are there, pointing to the trails to follow... just a pity the trails are not complete yet, and there is nothing around to tell you that parking there is not the route up to the mountain!

We walked up the left hand path, followed it around and came back out at the car park again! We then saw another couple getting ready to do the same walk, but I was not going to ask them if we had missed the route, I thought it better to keep a straight face, walk by them and try and work out where the heck we where supposed to go! The good lady was her usual self... "Ask them!" - "NO! Lets work this out ourselves..." so we walked around a bit, admitted the book with the route in it was of no use to us, so we thought we would go back to the trail again and see if we would bump into anyone... which turned out to be the couple we had walked by!

The guy said "Are you walking to Ben Venue?" and I replied that we had tried to, but ended up walking in a circle and where completely lost! He mentioned that he CAME FROM THE AREA and even he was lost with the new trail! He thought he would try this route as he was used to using the one around the hotel area... I asked if the hotel we had tried to walk to was the right one and got told... no... its 5 minutes back in the other direction!!! At that point, another car appeared, and two guys got out and it looked like they where about to do the same walk as we had attempted!

It was tempting to let them suffer the same way we had, but we told them what had happened, so 6 people ended up walking up towards the Hotel and onwards towards Ben Venue!

At this point I would like to say that we all made it to the top of Ben Venue, but it was not to be that way as we plodded on in a shattered way, tired and not very motivated, and in turn the others plodded on ahead until we started to lose sight of them.
So, we plodded on, and on… and eventually got to a section that had three ways to go… so using my usual way of figuring out directions, we plodded onwards up a main track and then noticed that everyone appeared to have walked up the other “marked” route that we had ignored! So... we walked back down, and followed the right route, and then found they had all vanished!

So we plodded onwards up a forest path and as time wore on, we consulted the book we had with us and read about the route having great views on the way up (trees trees trees here…) and as you get higher and higher more and more sights are revealed... (we had trees trees a steady incline and nothing else).

So… the usual thing happened… we read the book more and then decided that the path we should have taken was back down the route we had just plodded up… so would we give up or go back and try to go up the right route? Normal sane people would just have gone home, but not us, we decided to walk back and then go up the right route!!!!

So we walked back to the junction and walked up a really steep path that led into felled trees and then into no path and a sheer wall of dead trees and no path. By this time we had flies buzzing around us so badly that I was reduced to waving branches above my head like a crazy man, and my good lady was being bitten left right and centre by clegs! Man she has some pretty amazing holes from them in her arms now!!!!

We struggled onwards and upwards, with out patience growing thin and our reserves running out, so we made the first good decision of the day… “Sod this and let’s get home”.

So we struggled back down, and plodded downwards towards the car park… and plodded and plodded… and err…. Plodded….. Then I mentioned that I did not remember this route and did not remember seeing all the felled trees that suddenly appeared before us! To say that a little bit of panic was starting to set in would be a lie, but we wandered back up the path we had walked down and eventually we found the side route we should have taken, and in turn we ended back up in the car park!!!

We have never been so relieved to be back to the car and getting ready to head home… even though we realized that on this venture we had just ventured out without really doing our homework, we had enjoyed the whole experience and at least could laugh about it now.

As we sat there eating the standard sandwiches and bottled water, we watched other people arriving and all heading upwards towards the new path that leads to nowhere…. Did we say anything? After the day we had???? We will leave that up to you to figure out!


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

BEN A'an

This walk is a pretty quick one, with a time of around 1.5 hours to get to the top of Ben A'an.

From the start, it's a steady, steep climb, but nothing than anyone with the most basic of fitness could not handle. Once you get to the top of the first section it's more like a nature walk than anything else.

When you walk out of the main cover of the trees, you see Ben A'an standing before you, and it has to be said, it's quite a site to see! By the time you reach this point, you have built up a good sweat, got your second wind, and managed to beat off the hoards of Midge that seen to plague the bottom half of the walk up.

Once you get to the top of Ben A'an, the views really are amazing. When we arrived, it was still rather cloudy, but very warm, but the views just made everything worthwhile.

We bumped into quite a few tourists on the way back down, and it would appear that if you want to get peace to take the views in, getting up early is the key here!

We left at 10:30am and arrived at the top around 11:40 so you can see it's not that difficult to do, we even managed to do it quicker than the expect time!

Monday, March 28, 2005

Sign Post At The Moor... Posted by Hello


The one thing about the "Mugdock Country Park" is that you do have a lot of sign posts around, so the chances of getting lost is pretty remote... unless you have no sense of direction or just walk around with your eyes closed!

On the day this was taken, the weather was typically overcast and cold (normal in Scotland) and I just found the marker to be interesting at that moment in time.

Weird Plant Shapes At The Moor... Posted by Hello


While walking across the Moor, you come across these plants in very weird formations. It's one of the nice things about the walks around here, you come across some really weird or interesting things when you least expect them! The time is coming up soon for the Frog Spawn to start filling the ponds, and this year I'll try take some shots of the thousands of mini-frogs that cover the footpaths. There are so many that you find it hard to walk on the paths down next to the pond!!

Mugdock Castle Posted by Hello

Sunday, March 13, 2005

If you look at the middle peak... yes, it's where I decided to walk to last weekend!!! The strange thign is, in all the years I have come up to Aberfoyle, I've never noticed the peak! Posted by Hello

If you look at the bottom left hand side of the photograph you will see that the 2 Deer I thought I'd captured... had other idea's!!! Posted by Hello

View of Ben Lomond from David Marshal Lodge at Aberfoyle Posted by Hello