Distance: 18 miles (Tot: 597.75)
Weather: Sunshine except for one fluffy little cloud which covered the sun for about 30 seconds
Number of tadpoles seen: 2 puddles full (incredibly, the first we've seen; we didn't see any frogspawn this year)
What a pretty walk it is out of Dollar and over to Glen Dover! A perfect stream, complete with tumbles, falls and rifts (I'll overlook the intrusion of the man-made walkways that give access to otherwise inaccessible bits) leads up to a castle, from where fantastic views can seen back the way we came yesterday. Through a bit of forestry we got shelter from the brisk NE wind, but also lost the warmth of the sun. Once out the other side we were warm again and we felt an 'oooh' coming on. Sure enough as we popped through the pass, the view down to Glenquey Reservoir below was indeed oooh-worthy.
A perfect pitch was found on the way down, but Mick protested that we couldn't stop for the day after just 3.5 miles, and I suppose he had a good point.
The other side of Glendevon another climb gave equal rewards, and many an exclamation was made about the prettiness of it all. I'm sure that the perfect blue skies helped. Again, more good pitches were spotted on the way down to Auchterarder, but working on the principle of 'better to walk further today and shorter tomorrow*' we continued down through Auchterarder and out the other side.
Then came the bit of the walk that, when I looked at it on the map last night, I had no idea why I thought we could walk that way. I had plotted us following a disused railway line, but past experience has shown that the presence of such a line marked on the map doesn't mean that it's walkable. I've been saying for years now that I really ought to make notes when I'm planning routes as to what research I did, and whether it's a bit on the dodgy side. Later it came back to me that I had studied aerial maps before I had concluded that the route looked doable.
Of course, aerial maps are only so much good. They didn't show the fallen trees, right across the old track bed, within yards of joining the route, but we managed to get around those with some clambering, and the next mile was reasonably uneventful. Then we found the way barred by a big bank, and having clambered up that found that the old track the other side had been commandeered as a garden (and a very well kept garden too).
If I disclosed that there was a road running parallel to the ex-railway, and not very far away, you may wonder why we didn't just walk along that road (and we did, just to get around the 'that's someone's garden' issue). The thing was that we were hoping to find somewhere reasonably discreet to camp and our chances seemed better on the ex-rly than on the road.
Sure enough, we did find somewhere. We're hoping that if the farmer comes along he doesn't mind us being on the margin of his field. We had intended to pitch on the riverside, the other side of the fence, but the field was much less lumpy.
After a small handful of miles tomorrow we'll pass through Crieff and a few miles after that we should clear this most-inhabited band of Scotland and be out in the sticks a bit more.
(*unless it's awful weather today and forecast good tomorrow)
(Ron: glad the tip was of use! I've been following the preparations for your upcoming trip and am looking forward to following your progess too. Hope everything goes well, with unseasonably fair weather, for you.
Louise: didn't get your text but hopefully you got mine.)
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