Tuesday, 7 January 2014

A sliver of daylight

A respite. Wet and windy, but only intermittently wet and not quite blow-you-over windy. Plenty of cloud but shards of brightness make for dramatic conditions.


Not wanting to drive too far but in need of a long walk, I headed for the Ochils. Ben Cleuch by the long scenic route, from Glen Devon. The first few miles follow tracks and trails through Woodland Trust property and commercial forestry to Glen Sherup and onto the ridge near Ben Shee. Yet again I saw a black grouse up here, this time flying low in an arc across the moor.

Ben Shee

North is upper Glen Devon. Wether Hill overlooks the lower reservoir. This hill is on the Tay catchment boundary.


Up to Andrew Gannell Hill and the main prow of the Ochils, the crest of the great wave of upland rising sharply from the low lands around the Forth estuary. Right on cue the wind freshens and the clouds are torn away.




Views open out to the south, fitfully and hesitantly.

Kincardine and Clackmannanshire bridges beyond Gartmorn Dam
Sunshine on Alloa...


Meanwhile on the tops, the way to Ben Cleuch is revealed.


This is the view nowadays from the summit of Ben Cleuch, looking north-east into the recesses of the range. Not so wild and empty as it once was. And it was wild, a trackless, empty expanse not unlike the Monadh Liath in character. Good country for a short backpacking trip.


I escaped from a battering wind on Ben Cleuch and hurried on to King's Seat Hill, which rises huge above Dollar.

Looking back to Ben Cleuch from King's Seat Hill
Daylight ran out as I wound down the precarious path to Castle Campbell above Dollar. The Burn of Sorrow raged with white water in the half-light in the gorge below. A further four dark miles led over the pass to Glen Devon. The blaze of light from the central belt towns behind seemed very far below and far away.

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