Sunday, 1 December 2013

A day in the Ochil's

Have not updated blog for a while and yesterdays trip to the Ochil 's with Scott was a nice reminder.
The forecast was good for the Saturday and Scott said he was doing a "run" over the Ochil's to Blackford and back did I fancy coming along . Not having done anything for ages thought it was time to get out there again for the first time passing the 73 year mile stone and "see" if I could do something.
We headed off early Saturday and ended up in Tillicoultry where Scott parked the car we said our goodbyes and Scott set off over the Ochils ( no way was I going with him )  we were going to meet up hopefully before it got dark.
I thought I would try to get up to Kings Seat via Dollar which would give me a nice warm up walk along the Devon way before trying the hills.
old track to Dollar

Sun hitting the Ochil's
After about a 3 mile stroll to Dollar and picking up some snacks set off up Dollar Glen making my way up to Castle Campbell and the hills beyond .
path through Dollar Glen

Castle Campbell
I climbed out of the glen on to the open countryside and got the first taste of a very cold wind and the changing light one minute it was dull then the next sun broke through. Climbing over the style I started to plod up Bank hill and even at this stage I wondered if I could drag this lump of a body all the way over the tops.
After many short rests I  reached the top of the first ridge and got another taste of the Ochil wind chill.I could see Kings Seat rising up in the distance and did think it could be a step too far as even now the legs were made of rubber.I had planned to walk over the tops back to Tillicoultry but that was looking like a none starter and played with the idea of just doing a little loop and back the way I came.
I had a snack break in the shelter of a gully and a young couple came by heading up Kings Seat so I let them get way ahead before heading off again.
castle Campbell with the West Lomond  in the distance

back to grey sky and a interim cairn
The couple soon left me behind and again I thought of just heading back down and went through the mind games of why not go back / why not go on. I was feeling the cold and my hands were getting a bit sore or to be more precise my thumbs for some reason were frozen. I carried on and eventually passed the cairn put up in memory of the Spitfire pilots who crashed near there.

approach to Kings Seat summit
The ground was frozen and all the boggy parts were nice and crunchy to walk over but I was still doing lots of rest breaks.I was feeling the cold even more now and was aware that me panting away the cold air was having an effect so the buff was pulled up over mouth and nose and it made a hell of a difference.  I did look like a bank robber but at least I was more comfortable and now I knew I was going to get to the top.
When I arrived at the cairn the young couple were sheltering from the wind so we said hello again and the lad offered to take a photo and here it is ( LOL)
Yes it's me and I was cold 

heading back down towards Tillicoultry
I did not stay long the young couple set off back to Dollar and I committed to making for Tillicoultry which due to the terrain meant walking in a loop to avoid the steep gullies .The sky was still grey but there was a glimmer of light as the sun attempted to break through. I was getting a little foot sore but had warmed up by now as I headed back down off the hills.
heading down off the hill

looking back now sun out

the hills smiling good bye 

I was tired and a bit foot sore by the time I got back down to Tillicoultry and was pleased I had defeated my demons and completed my circuit of 10 miles . I sat down wondering how Scott had got on with his 30+ mile run when two things happened. My phone went and the Mrs asking how things were  and had a message from Scott he had just arrived back as well so perfect timing all round.
Don't know when the next one will be but at least I could still do it though it never gets easier for me and chuffed at 73 can still get out there !