Now that my Bestest Walking Buddy lives a little closer, we’ve realised we can walk a little more often together, which is a good thing.
We have put this plan into action almost immediately (koff) and yesterday I set off to meet Laura at a layby just south of Fogwatt in order to bag a trig that I’d spotted nearby in a new walking area for both of us. An adventure was afoot!!
Off we set and shortly after leaving the car we found this exceptionally friendly chap (or chapess, I didn’t actually check for a change) who whinnied at us as we passed by and I had to stop to chat and take a photograph.
It was a bit of a dull damp day, with varying levels of damp from above and below, sometimes more than either of us liked, but I’ll come back to that.
There was another purpose to this walk and after a short while, having passed the quarry, we reached a junction. I had expected a junction, but there was a slightly bigger choice than anticipated. My second purpose was put into action and I whipped my compass out and took a bearing on the path to find the one I wanted. In the end (the bearing didn’t help much…) I chose the path that went uphill into the forest as per the map, rather than along the edge of it or the one running alongside a pond with a picnic bench and a big house at the end of it. (I’m making myself practice, okay?!)
Track was a fairly typical forestry track to start with. Well made, not too horrid underfoot, a bit dark and dingy as is the average plantation, but sheltered from any wind and possibly a bit of the rain too.
Fairly trypical, at this point
We reached another junction and I automatically took the right hand fork, but it didn’t feel right and Laura correctly questioned my decision. After bit of discussion, map examination and thought, we decided to take the other track and headed uphill. Shortly after, there was another questionably junction. The reason it was questionable was because the track going in the right direction was obviously no longer in regular use, whereas the one we were on was well used and maintained. Not surprisingly, this was our preferred option, but I thought we should be taking the rather over-grown, gloomy, wet, uninviting looking one. Sadly, I was right. So we did.
Slightly less than inviting
It’ll get better, we said, hopefully. It didn’t, for quite some time…
The theme of a few of our walks of late have been trees and quite often fallen trees blocking our progress. This walk was to be no different, except we were at least able to find our way over and around these few, a vast improvement on the last lot which entailed a couple of miles detour. Ugh.
But we can’t be bothered to turn back
Eventually we dropped down to the Gedloch Burn which we had to cross, but it was only a tiny little thing. Shouldn’t be a problem. Which is why I dangled my left foot in it mid-flight. Luckily, the way the tongue is attached in the boot, there was no water ingress and my foot stayed dry. However, the track became more tricky to follow. A little bit of fumbling about and we decided on a course of action.
The remnants of the track eventually petered out, but it’s still marked on the map. It was maybe a fire break adopted as a track at some point that has since gone out of regular use, but the deer still use it and we followed their trod as closely as we could. It became more tussocky and wet underfoot and continued to rain from time to time, sometimes quite persistently, but we decided at this point we ladies were not for turning and we plunged on. Me headfirst. Ho hum.
It seemed to take forever, with regular pauses and exclamations of “Not far now, nearly there!”
We did eventually burst out of the trees and were met with an extraordinary view over open moorland to distant, misty hills, all rather lovely! This bit was easy, we just had to follow the fence line and once we spotted the vague track and broke free of the damp heathery tangle we were in, we were back to making good time. At the corner of the forestry we had a trig point to find. That took quite some ferreting around and Laura was the heroine who eventually found the Pikey Hill trig, hidden away in a dark dingy corner of the forest.
Lunch became a more insistent need, although I held out little hope of finding some shelter any time soon. At least the track was clear and easy to follow from now on. Well, for a little while anyway.
Wind farm on Cairn Uish
Around about this point, my whinging may have increased. My little leggies were a bit tired and sore and protesting quite a bit and I realised I had no paracetamol in my first aid kit. A sit down would be nice.
We plodded on.
The track I had picked out for us on Memory Map wasn’t marked on Viewranger, but after a little discussion we decided if it was on the ground, we’d take a punt.
Best punt ever!
At the end of the track there was a pond. With a picnic bench! Not only did I recognise it, we decided that we’d sit at it and have our lunch, despite being close to the car park. It was too good an opportunity to miss. (The people at the big house wouldn’t have been able to see us, and the lady with the spaniel we saw as we set off again did say hello…)I also snaffled some paracetamol from Laura, to try to ease the little leggies a little for the drive home.
A rough total of 8.47 miles and 1,026 ft total ascent and actually quite good fun!!
Thanks for the company Laura, must do it again soon. Love an adventure!