The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Sunday 1 May 2011

Day 35 - E of Muthill to S of Loch Lednock

Sunday 1 May (0740-1555)
Distance: 18.25 miles (Tot: 616)
Weather: A couple of lenticular clouds in the distance didn't hinder the wall-to-wall sunshine. Hot.
Number of too-small kissing gates encountered in the space of 2 miles: 15
Number of damned-cuckoos heard: 1 (first of the year)

The sun did its work before we got on our way this morning: the frost had melted and the tent had almost dried. The grass was sopping, mind, so I was glad for my Goretex socks.

Our luck with the disused railway line expired less than half a mile into the day. Industrial buildings blocked the way and after a bit of an exploratory back and forth (with a security guard watching us) there was no way through. We resigned ourselves to a road-walk into Crieff.

A while later, at the very point where I had planned for us to take to the roads as I knew that the bridge over the river no longer existed, there was a footpath sign, pointing along the rly bed, saying 'Crieff 2.5 miles'. Curious, we thought, but we believed the sign and so followed it.

It turns out that there's a path (absolutely festooned with kissing gates that are too small to get through with a backpack) running alongside the river, right the way into Crieff. It was infinitely nicer than the road would have been.

The other side of Crieff what should we find but another road-avoiding path. Things were looking good and to put the icing on the cake all of the views were set off spectacularly by the sky which, today, was the most perfect blue.

The was a small interlude in the good paths, when we found ourselves tackling an assault course of fallen trees along one completely disused section of the old track bed. We broke that section up as, at noon, we decided that as we'd missed second breakfast (I'd been shopping at second breakfast time; Mick was bag-minding), we would skip elevenses too and have an early lunch. So, we settled down beside the river and watched fish jumping as we ate.

Passing rocks painted variously as a whale, a cow, a frog and an elephant, a little road took us off into rugged openess where jaws were agape at the gorgeous surroundings under that perfect sky. The only fly in the ointment was hearing a cuckoo, but (unusually) it didn't follow us to become the bane of our day.

Our vague aim for the end of the day was Loch Lednock Reservoir (from beyond which great plumes of smoke have been rising all afternoon), but when, at nearly 4pm, we saw a flat spot next to a lovely babbling stream we decided to call it a day just under a mile short. Other people have obviously stayed here before as there's a big fire ring alongside us, but we certainly won't be adding to it.

We've now got a reasonably short walk into Killin tomorrow. We would, perhaps, choose to walk on further to shorten Tuesday's walk, except that we have a parcel to pick up from Killin Post Office and tomorrow is a Bank Holiday (bit of an oversight in my planning - and it's the very first time that we've used the Post Restante service). So, we will have to stay in Killin until Tuesday morning and, in the absence of a campsite in easy reach, I feel a bed coming on.

(Conrad: I hope that you'd either already eaten your tea or have a spare spoon with you!
Maike: the poles are looking forward to getting acquainted with a new section on 10 May. The most recent breakage has been my bank card, which apparently 'cannot be read'. Looks like I'm spending Mick's money for the rest of the trip!
Louise: Ah - picture texts - my SIM doesn't do them (no idea why) and rather than sending a text minus the picture it sends me nothing at all.)

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange


  1. Why's hearing a cuckoo so bad? Not heard one yet, but I've not been on the Chase this weekend.

  2. Ahh, that explains it!
    (word:faties I think not!)