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]

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

GT Day 2: Ben Cleuch

Tuesday 28 October 2014

The weather forecast told me that as I drove north this morning, the band of heavy rain, which has been plaguing Northern Ireland and Scotland for the last couple of days, would move south, such that by the time I arrived in Tillicoultry (good place name!), the sun would be beating down on me.

Alas, as I arrived the cloud was still shrouding the tops and the windscreen wipers were still in action. A bit of time was killed in rejigging my walk and finding somewhere to park when it transpired that my intended parking spot was inaccessible due to a 3-day road closure that started yesterday, and a bit more time was killed with a cup of tea. By the time I set out at just gone noon, the tops were clear and the rain had stopped. Not quite the glorious blue skies I’d been hoping for, but I was more than happy to take the compromise.

Unrelentingly upwards went the path until, a shade after lunchtime (or at least, a short while after I paused out of the cool wind for lunch), I came to the top of The Law. That top gave stunning views, and the real treat was seeing what was to the north-west: a clear line of cloud marking the tail end of the weather front, behind which was clear blue skies, heading in my direction. I was also very taken with all of the lumps and bumps stretching out into the distance northwards, not to mention the various hues of green and brown of the landscape. Glorious!


Blue skies are on their way!

Scant pause was had a The Law, as I now had Ben Cleuch in my sights, and that promised ever more superb (superberer?) views.

I’ve probably made that sound like a hop, skip and a jump, but it had taken me longer to get up  there than I had anticipated and a quick review of the hours of daylight remaining suggested that completing the full circuit I had intended wasn’t wise. Instead, I opted for the ridge I had been eyeing up on my ascent – over Ben Ever, and down towards Wood Hill, before veering off to the east.

The ridge was good and the initial descent to the burn was fine, but that’s where things got ‘interesting’. The little (engineered, in the manner of big slabs of concrete, concrete steps and guard-rails) path took an excellent burn-side route (made more spectacular by the burn being full and in a hurry), but it clearly hadn’t been maintained for a very long time (since the 1970s, perhaps?!), and aside from evidence of a number of rock-falls littering the path, one of the many bridges was a bit dubious (although I’ve been over far worse) and there was one slab of concrete that had been undercut and now boasted a large hole in its centre. I was amazed that there were no health and safety warning signs on display at the start of the path.

All evidence suggests that one is only expected to take that path in an upwards direction, as when I got to the bottom, a firmly padlocked gate met me, beyond which were some large barricades, prohibiting access. Clearly, I wasn’t going to retrace my steps back up the hazardous path and thus a way had to be found past the barricades. A sign on the other side, when I got there, explained that the path had been closed for safety reasons, pending funding being found to make it safe. In what way is it acceptable to only mark a linear path as being closed at one end?

Anyways, all is well that ends well, and it ended very well indeed, as I returned to Colin under the promised clear blue skies, allowing me to look back and admire where I had been.


Taken from Colin just as I finished the walk. Lovely!

A simply glorious walk, with stats of 6.75 miles walked with 2700’ of ascent.


  1. I'm being thick! What does GT stand for?

    1. You're not being thick at all. I did make a passing reference to 'Gayle's Tour' in the previous post, but didn't use the abbrieviation in that post. So, this series of posts was, in essence, "What I did on my holidays".

    2. Ah! With you now. Good stuff.