Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Back soon...gone for breakfast

The main thing about getting out more is that if you want to do it then need to actually get off your arse and go out. So when I had the itch to get out and play yesterday morning after work (night shift you see) I got in the door, grabbed my pack, dressed up in my haglofs outfit and went straight back out. I'm so organised and serious about this that the rucksack was sitting already pre-packed and ready for action!...actually that's a load of bollocks really. The truth is I actually went out on Monday morning with the same plan and only got as far as Strathaven before turning the Landy round again. It was alternating between thick rain and heavy fog and I thought to myself...

"This is silly. I'm driving through pissing rain to stomp off up a wet hill and put my stove on in the pissing rain whilst I admire the view of the pissing rain before returning all wet from the pissing rain to the Landy for a damp drive back home through the pissing rain."

So, I climbed into bed and went out for breakfast after work on Tuesday instead.

Photobucket

The sky had a lovely dark blue cloudy hue to it and was getting brighter as I set off up the track (same one as here) and quickly gained some height in amongst the trees. There had been a small orange band low in the clouds over to my left earlier but pointing the camera with one hand whilst I pilot 3.5tons of lumbering old Landy at speed along a winding back road doesn't seem like a good idea to me. Put it this way, Daphne's steering and handling isn't exactly Formula 1 sharp!

I was soon quite deep in the woods and enjoying the peace, solitude and birdsong as I sauntered along the trail. The trees, moss and undergrowth were all looking very lush and I was surprised to find patches of snow and ice still lingering here. I was keeping my eyes open for a clearing on my right that should let me up on to Dungavel Hill itself when I spotted a glint of light reflecting in something shiny in the banks beneath the trees alongside me. Intrigued, I had a wee shufty and found a strange thing indeed.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

It was a jar of the sort you might find in a matching set for storing coffee, sugar or pasta in your cupboard. Inside this one however were all manner of shiny stones, glass beads and a soggy damp note that was so sodden I could barely touch it without it breaking up. The jar was filled to the neck with water but I suspect it was simply the neck seal leaking. My first thought was that I'd stumbled across a not very well hidden Geocache or one that had been muggled. I drained it and had a poke about through the stuff to see if I could see any identifiers so I could email the cache owner to perform some maintenance on it but it seemed unconnected with the global game. The only information I could glean was the statement on the soggy note that I had found a gratuity and might be blessed or something... I marked its position on the GPS, returned it and decided to have search on the Internet later for nearby caches.

Continuing on down the trail I was beginning to wonder if I had missed the clearing, or if I was meant to go up one of the fire breaks instead, when I came to a small gap in the trees just large enough for the 4x4 that left the tracks as it squeezed through. I set off up it and, after around 200 metres or so, quickly came to a dead end marked with a tiny cairn in a very small clearing. There was only just room enough to turn a single vehicle there and nothing else there??

 Photobucket

Very strange I thought. What does the cairn mark and why would you bother to clear the trees to make so short a track that goes nowhere? I consulted the map and realised, as I had suspected, that I had overshot my intended clearing. The small track I was on was marked but I was beginning to wish I had the greater detail found on the 25K sheet. I pulled out the GPS again and plugged in some coords lifted from the map to where the clearing should be and back tracked. Arriving at the coords I still couldn't see any clearing?? I double checked my position again was and stood there scratching my head when I spotted the stones that didn't belong, lying in the stream/ditch next to the trail. I used them to hop over and immediately spotted signs of a faint trail in the undergrowth heading towards the trees that now looked a little bit thinner here and there. Pushing my way through easily, the gradient got suddenly very steep and then all of a sudden I popped out from the pines and found myself on open hillside. Fantastic, a secret entrance!

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

I quickly took off up the hillside with a carpet of springy heather and moss underfoot. It was a relief to have the views open up so quickly after being hemmed in by the trees for so long and there was still some slight remains of colour in amongst the pastel shaded clouds. It was just a short but steep pull up on to the summit where the rather impressive prehistoric cairn and the weathered trig pillar come in to view.

Photobucket

Photobucket

I gadded about the top pointing the camera at stuff and generally enjoying the views and the fresh air until I realised I was getting cold and hungry. I had just come straight out after working all night and realised I hadn't eaten really since the wee small hours much earlier. Breakfast time then! Belly grumbling and fingers starting to stiffen up in the cold I layered up and got the stove on. I tell you a pasta mugshot never tasted so good!

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Mindful of the time I didn't linger long after I had eaten as I still had to get back home and have a sleep before returning to the grindstone work. The wind was picking up and the some of the lower clouds were heading towards me anyway. I reluctantly packed up and strode off down the hillside to the secret entrance again and then jogged back along the trail to the Landy and then bed...oh and guess what? I reckon that's the best sleep after a nightshift I've ever had. I'll definitely be having more early morning jaunts like this.

PS
I've had a bit of a Google this morning and can't find anything listed anywhere for the "Cache" I stumbled across which is a bit of a shame really. I did however, come across this very interesting blog post by Dr Mark Jardine. It seems I'm not the first to "hide" in that cairn...though I suspect breakfast was the last thing on James Renwick's mind at the time! This stuff is great. Everytime I go walking around this area and poke about I find out more and more interesting local history.

Breakfast, a view, a decent walk, some fresh air and an educational experience. You can't beat it.

4 comments:

  1. I feel as if I've just been on the walk with you Sandy. Cheers
    Anita xx

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Anita. I enjoyed the breath of fresh air after being cooped up inside a fluorescent lit factory all night.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good on you Sandy. My excuses for not getting out seem to be getting more and more regular these days. I mean, for instance, the weather forecast for tomorrow is just rubbish...

    ;0)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Aye, tomorrow's weather will be "interesting". I'm going along to PTC's thing to play with shiny test kit. 80mph gusts I heard rumour of...

    ...still, its not so bad if it's a "test" tent that gets ruined...er, I mean tested to destruction ;o)

    ReplyDelete

Blog Archive

Followers