Barclay Viewforth Church congregation on Blackford Hill

The NET Big Day Out: Option 2 Hill walk

Written by Daniel Gotts

While everyone else went to Blair Drummond to see the lions and other ferocious beasts, four of us took the less scary option and headed for the hills. The weather forecast was pretty mixed and the skies a bit grey – but we were hardy souls. After an hour or so we pulled in at the Woodland Trust car park for Glen Finglas on the north shore of Loch Venachar – a few miles west of Callander.

All kitted-out in our waterproofs, we had a quick chat to the Woodland Staff rangers in the visitor centre about the various options available and the best route to take for a four-hour walk. We chose a route round the lower slopes of Lendrick Hill which would bring us out in Glen Finglas. Now, this is a different Lendrick Hill to the Lendrick Hill which is near Lendrick Muir, well-known to many in Barclay Viewforth. That Lendrick Hill is near Yetts o’Muckhart – this Lendrick Hill is near Brig o’Turk. I trust that has clarified things.

We set off across a footbridge and took the orange route up the hill. The path was a bit steep at first, but that meant we were treated to some great views back across Loch Venechar and west to Loch Achray – views which only got better as the sun found its way through the clouds. The wet weather earlier on meant that any waterfalls we came across were that bit more of a spectacle.

After about an hour – I could have been more accurate with the timings, but I forgot to switch my tracking app on – we reached the edge of Glen Finglas Reservoir and the main road up the glen. Although the land round about is mainly owned by the Woodland Trust, the reservoir is looked after by Scottish Water – it is one of the main sources of water for Glasgow. However, in centuries past long before the dam was built Glen Finglas was one of the most popular of the royal hunting forests.

We carried on up the road beside the reservoir until we found a reasonably sheltered spot for lunch, the wind being a bit stronger once we were out of the trees. We took the chance to reflect that walking in wet and windy conditions when you are well wrapped up against the elements is quite refreshing. You have to put a positive spin on these things sometimes.

Lunch eaten, we walked on up the track for a bit until we reached a fork in the road where we decided to turn for home – and into the wind. More positive spin ensued. We headed all the way down to Brig o’Turk – passing another hardy soul cycling up one of the very steepest bits of the road. On the outskirts of the village we took the path option through the fields and back to the visitor centre car park – and a welcome hot drink before setting-off again in the car.

In Stirling, we met up with the Safari Parkers at the Birds and Bees Restaurant. After a short time of children’s activities led ably by Andrew P in somewhat unfamiliar surroundings – what did our fellow diners make of it…? – we all sat down to a meal and a chance to catch-up on happenings over the previous few hours, months and – in some cases – years. Thanks very much to all those who organised things both on the day and beforehand.

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