At last the weather is improving, it is set to be a warm sunny day. This a real bonus because the cold overcast weather of recent weeks has made it a nightmare to dry washing. There is a washing machine on this site and Lynnie is keen to make use of it.
I settle down to a mornings work, it is pleasant sat in the awning in shorts and polo shirt. This is the first time this year that it has been warm enough to open up the flaps of the awning and enjoy the warmth of the sun.
After yesterdays great walk it is tempting to take another trip into the Ochils, but we are wary of over walking Dexter. He can manage strenuous outings on alternate days, but in-between he needs easy walks otherwise he starts to complain. So we look at the map for a local level walk of five or six miles and opt for one in Devilla Forest alongside Kincardine.
Our starting point is the car park on the edge of the forest just off the A985. This is a busy car park, but it is a Sunday afternoon of a Bank Holiday weekend. There are picnickers, families with bikes, horse boxes and there is lots of other activity, I am beginning to doubt the wisdom of our choice.
Prior to setting off I had checked details of the forest, apparently it was planted in the 1950’s and mainly consists of Scots Pine. I am expecting woodland that is full of pine, but we soon realise that there are sections of mixed woodland. Back home a few months ago whilst walking in Church Copse I bumped into my old mucker Chunky, he was planting Scots Pine where the larch had recently been felled. As we chatted I asked him how long they would take to mature, he cheerfully told me that neither of us would be around when they do!
The information board by the car park said this was an area that Red Squirrels frequented. I saw my first Red Squirrel in over fifty years in the grounds of Paxton House last week, so hope to repeat the experience.
There is little point in trying to explain the route we take, there are many tracks in the woods and the options are limitless. We basically go around in an anticlockwise direction, after a while this brings us to Peppermill Dam. This is slightly confusing because misleadingly the expanse of water seems to be called Peppermill Dam whereas I was expecting a large construction.
After turning away from the Peppermill Dam we walk under electricity pylons. These things really are monsters and beneath them there is a swath of cleared woodland. As is our want we wonder if there is some other energy generating system that could be linked to these pylons. They are a blot on the landscape, but a necessary blot if communities are going to have access to a mains electricity supply.
We talk about positioning wind turbines on top of the pylons but foresee problems with turbines and wires becoming tangled. Finally we conclude that the most viable solution would be using solar panels, they would make use of the land and prevent trees growing up causing problems. Perhaps I should get in touch with the National Grid, or patent the idea!
Our conversation moves on to deal with issues relating to public confidence (or lack of it) in politicians telling the truth. We have been sickened by the way that both sides of the EU debate have made misleading statements. When we were young there was a trust (perhaps naively) that those elected as MPs would seek to process debate with verifiable facts. Now, rightly or wrongly, we conclude that most are lying bastards. It does make me wonder what it will lead to in the future.
In next to no time we find ourselves back at the car park, we have covered five and a half miles and have failed to spot a Red Squirrel, been unable to solve the energy crisis or the meltdown in public confidence in politicians. As we head back to Carr’s Hill I worry that we are beginning to carry the troubles of the world around with us. We are on the move tomorrow, heading towards St Andrews, maybe the focus of our conversation will turn to golf!
29th May 2016
[To follow this walk you will need Ordnance Survey Outdoor Explorer Map 366 – Stirling & Ochil Hills West]
© Two Dogs and an Awning (2016)