And then there were Nine
Saturday’s journey run in the Lomonds turned out rather like an Agatha Christie murder mystery. As ten of us set out from Craigmead car park the first mystery was, “Where the **** are we?” as the hills were enveloped in thick mist. By the time we reached the foot of West Lomond, John decided that he didn’t want to hold up the rest of us so he went his own way on a shorter route. And then there were Nine! We scrambled to the top of West Lomond in ever thickening mist, at which point Julie said that she wasn’t going to see anything all day so she decided to go back down and explore Falkland instead. And then there were Eight.
We came off the far side of the hill and after some anxious navigational moments found our way across the top of the Devil’s Burdens and down into the deep valley of Glen Vale. We paused to admire the impressive rocky outcrop of John Knox’s Pulpit before crossing the burn and starting the climb up Bishop Hill. I had intended to go to the summit of the hill then drop down to the edge of the escarpment to see the rock pillar of Carlin Maggie but we somehow bypassed the summit then found it was too misty to see anything over the edge. We continued over the hill to the edge of the forest then found a nice sheltered spot out of the wind and under the trees to stop for lunch. We suffered slight sandwich sogginess from the mist that kept dripping off the trees. After lunch we continued on lower level farm tracks and forest paths, past Holl Reservoir and on to Balgothrie. We could see the dried-out remnants of Ballo Reservoir – who had mysteriously taken all the water? Ben said that an old injury was beginning to niggle in his leg so he was going to take a short cut back to Craigmead; Patricia and Ina decided to go with him. And then there were Five!
A little further on we had to run a short way down the Craigmead road. We all made a solemn vow not to take a short cut and to carry on to the bitter end of the run. After we turned down the road to West Conland Farm, Juliette and Martha stopped at the roadside ahead of us. I thought that their resolve was beginning to weaken but they had spotted a sheep stranded on its back in the field. I knew that the sheep would die soon if it wasn’t righted so Jim and I joined the ladies in a scramble over the barbed wire fence to effect a rescue mission. Digby stayed behind to take a photo of the proceedings; adding another one to his collection of misty photos. Once we had rolled the animal onto its side it struggled to its feet and waddled off to join the rest of the flock. It was a very pregnant ewe so we had probably saved a couple of lambs as well.
We started to climb through forests towards East Lomond. One bit was particularly tricky as we stumbled across rough ground and brashings trying to find a path that had been altered by forestry operations and storm damage. We escaped from the forest by a delightful path which went up the hill to the car park. The last climb of the day took us to the top of East Lomond from where we enjoyed 360 degree views of the summit grass. And so back to Craigmead. The highlight of the day, for some, was the trip back through Falkland and on to the excellent café at the Pillars of Hercules. A good day out was had by all.
And then there was One; just me writing this report. I would like to reassure my readers that no vowels have been harmed in the writing of this article.
See all the photos in the photomap here.
Oh and it was 14 miles