Lazy Sunday Callander Walk

20220313_112750
The view east from Bochastle Hill. Is that the Ochils beyond Callander?

After their exertions of the day before, The Prof and The Tower Captain were both in need of an easier day. Obviously, I was up for another Big Day On The Hills, but felt that they needed my company. Well, okay, I was a bit tired too. I was also put off by a forecast which sounded like the winds would be even fiercer than they had been on the Saturday. I found a circuit on my OS maps app which looked ideal and wasn’t too far out of our way home.

20220313_112755
The high ground north of Callander.

We had a little drizzle, but the wind was quite mild, and later in the day, TC and I were both down to just a t-shirt – pretty mild for March!

20220313_113122
Samson’s Stone, Dunmore Fort, Loch Venachar.

With hindsight, we should have climbed Dunmore Fort which is not only a little higher than Bochastle Hill, but also has some very impressive looking defensive structures on its western side. Next time.

We chatted to one of the marshals who were out on the course for the Callander 10K which would be running later in the day and then walked down a road with a sign declaring it to be ‘a walking and cycling friendly road’. A nice idea, but it’s drivers that need to be friendly, not roads.

20220313_115500
Eas Gobhain.
20220313_122131
Coilhallan Wood.
20220313_121304
The ditches by the track were full of frogspawn.

As the track through Coilhallan Wood descended towards Callander, there were tantalising views towards Ben Ledi, always partially obscured by trees…

20220313_123135
Ben Ledi.

We climbed Ben Ledi back in 2015, on another day with a ropey forecast, which I enjoyed enormously, despite the forecast proving to be largely correct.

20220313_124328
Ben Ledi. Garbh Uisge and Eas Gobhain meet to form the River Teith.

We found a bench on the outskirts of Callander and sat by the river to eat our lunch, and watch runners coming by near the end of their 10K. They were of all shapes and sizes, ages, and speeds. Some were struggling, some clearly very happy. It made me feel quite nostalgic for the days when I used enter races of this kind myself.

20220313_133613
Bochastle Roman Fort.

From Callander, we walked back to the car park along the course of the former Callander to Oban railway line. In the field next to the line there are earthworks which betray the site of a Roman Fort. This is even further north than the Antonine Wall which stretched between the Clyde and Forth estuaries. It was built in AD85, which means it predates Hadrian’s Wall.

The next day it was back to work sadly, but at least I had some welcome company during my breakfast…

20220314_074419
Lazy Sunday Callander Walk

Loch Tay, Falls of Dochart, Callander and Oban Railway

“I’m going to the highlands at the weekend.”

“Lovely. You’ll be looking for a nice loch shore walk then.”

I went to see a physiotherapist last week. He tells me that I’ve done some damage to my Achilles. No hill-climbing until the summer. In the meantime, I have to stand on one foot with my eyes closed. Not all of the time, fortunately.

So – whilst most members of our annual Highland get-together were braving what looked to be fairly tempestuous conditions on the Tarmachan ridge, I was heading for a ‘nice loch shore’ path. I had good company in my infirmity: S was struggling with a dodgy knee and appreciated an opportunity to share a gentle stroll (and also, perhaps, the chance to hit the bar a little earlier than the others).

 Toad

Having been dropped off in Killin, we followed an abandoned railway line down to the loch. In the trees beside it we saw tree-creepers, and in the leaf-litter a solitary toad.

Loch Tay 

The morning had begun very wet, and it still looked very black over the hills to the North, but directly overhead there were gaps in the cloud and blue sky beyond. We were even blessed with a little sunshine. We sat for almost an hour over a brew, sharing our passion for accumulating books, putting the world to rights and watching a cormorant, curlews and golden-eye.

River....? 

The path back towards Killin, boggy in places, followed the river. Downstream of the confluence of the Dochart and the Lochay I’m not sure whether it retains one of those names or if it has already become the Tay, which it will be when it flows from the far end of the Loch at Kenmore.

 Tree 

With the sun shining and dark skies behind, the bare trees were looking very fine, and we paused awhile to take lots of photos.

Trees

Situated in Killin village, the falls of Dochart are well worth a look. From the road bridge I found that I couldn’t really do justice to the falls, even with my camera’s widest zoom, and wondered how a pancake lens would have coped.

Falls of Dochart

From Killin we walked back to our accommodation at Suie Lodge in Luib, via the old Oban to Callander railway line. The first section has been converted into a footpath, part of the Rob Roy way, but even after that had turned to head into Glen Ogle, the disused railway bed made for easy walking with fine views and gentle slopes and just the odd fence to be straddled.

Last of the blue sky. 

Sadly this was the last of the blue sky for quite some time. Rainbows and heavy showers were now the order of the day. We kept hoping that a long enough gap between showers would allow us to get another brew on the boil, but the chance never materialised.

Killin Junction

Platform at Killin Junction.

Eventually, thwarted by a missing bridge over Luib Burn, we diverted down to the road for the last kilometre or so. As we arrived back the weather began to brighten again, but we opted to sit by the log fire in the hotel bar and steam gently whilst sampling some of the hotel’s selection of bottled real ales. It’s hard work this convalescence malarkey!

Loch Tay, Falls of Dochart, Callander and Oban Railway