Friday, 13 April 2012

Almost Caught Short on the Ochils

Its long past time to update my blog. Im still alive and well .. Im just trying to find time to do everything that I want to do with my new found freedom of early retirement..its great :-D

I have also been doing a few walks as the dog wont let me sit in pooch painting every day or she threatens to trash the house because of her boredom. She can't amuse herself as easily as I can.

I have been fighting with myself lately on whether to purchase a small pocket camera that I could take on daily dog walks. Trying to justify the expense, when I already own a full blown DSLR kit, was difficult but I was often wishing I had my camera on the shorter walks,but didn't want to lug around the heavy gear.

Yesterday I saw a little Samsung reduced to half price and that was not much more than the cost of a couple of gallons of petrol.. so bought it. I couldn't wait to try it out so headed straight to Menstrie park. It was a lovely afternoon. The tulips and other flowers had just been planted and looked very colourful.

My plan was to climb up Dumyat again, and it looked very inviting in the sun. Green grass and trees are coming to life after the browns of winter.

Then I changed my mind as I have been scrambling all over Dumyat recently so decided to head the other way. I wasn't caring where I was going as long as I could take a few photos so started up a path that winds its way round the front of Myreton Hill.

The path soon peter'd out on the steep slopes above Myretoun Farm but the afternoon was that nice that I wondered if I could get across to Balquharn Glen from where I was. It was warm in the sun as there was no wind. I didn't bring a jacket with me as I had not planned for an expedition onto the hills

Holly got very excited while crossing this grassy slope. Next moment I saw why. I fox leaped out the gorse not far from us and bolted uphill. Holly wanted to follow but I keep her on the leash at all times as there are a few sheep around.

Then I got very excited when I discovered what I think is the entrance to an old mine shaft. The Ochils are full of them as there was a lot of Copper and Silver mines in the area at one time. This entrance had been filled in but the scree slope leading away from it was the spoil from the mine and I could see vertical "drill holes" in the rock where the miners had drilled to break it up. You can see drill marks on the rock on the left of this photo.

I have spent the last few weeks scrambling around Dumyat looking at the remains of mines and adits (mine shafts) ..but more of that in a later post.

I had no problem getting round the front of Myreton Hill. The camera seemed to be taking photos OK and it was still a lovely afternoon. I looked across Balquharn Glen at Craig Leith and The Torry and thought it would be a lovely day to climb them.

But first I would have to cross the reservoir in the glen.

It was like a heat trap beside the loch. Not a breath of wind and the sun beating on my back..I was sweating a little with the effort of walking and so was Holly.

I started the steep plod up the side of the Torry. The distant sight and sound of the waterfall reminded me that I had nothing to drink or eat on this walk.

By the time I got to the top of The Torry.. I was very hot and dying for a drink.. but there was nothing I could do but plod on. The views over to Dumyat and Stirling helped distract me a little .. until I thought of the supermarkets in Stirling and tins of Coke or bottles of Juice on their shelves.

I think Holly was starving too because when I stopped to take this photo of the ridge leading to Bengengie Hill, I caught her chewing on a dried Sheep's poop.

It was also quite exposed on the ridge and as I only had my sweater on ..I started to feel the cold. When the sun disappeared..both Holly and myself started running towards Bengengie to keep warm

We sheltered for a few moments on Bengengie summit. Holly was lucky. I always carry a few doggie treats in my pocket so she got some food. I wondered about eating one or two myself as I was now starving too ..but decided against it.

Looking back down Alva Glen I realised we had come a long way for a short stroll to try out my new camera. We were both dying of thirst..cold ..hungry .. and now it threatened to rain on our parade.

Thats when I said.. Holly..lets go home .. I have had enough of this. We ran all the way to the top of Colsnaur where I stopped to try out the camera one last time. Then we ran down the hillside to Menstrie and the car and got there just before the rain started :-D

Im happy to say..the camera works fine and the photos turned out as above. ..but I hope you lot appreciate what we went through to get them for the blog :-D

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