This is the first section of the Rob Roy Way (RRW) and a quick perusal of the map showed that it wouldn’t get the pulse racing as the bulk was a wander through the Queen Elizabeth Forest – so no views. Clearly a palliative was needed: a beautiful winter’s day with a nice coating of snow seemed right, so that is what we ordered.
We started outside Scotland’s oldest pub in Drymen and headed north and upwards 1. The first section is along a country lane and we were continually pushed into the bank as a series of Chelsea Tractors passed with some ungrateful, cloned female with fabulous hair taking their brat Octavia to pony trekking 2.
Luckily we are soon above the village and the views to the east and west were great with the hills of west Lomondside and the Campsies looking stunning with their coats of snow. The lane climbs a bit and is obviously not gritted which led to two ice-events. First was a cyclist who couldn’t be bothered using his bell to warn us he was coming and not in total control of his bike on the ice. Our first sign of him was his bike skidding into a heap on the ice: Anglo-Saxon expressions were used to indicate his folly. Next was a chap who thought buying a Quattro meant he could go anywhere: I’ve never seen anyone so focussed on the road, with his white knuckles gripping the steering wheel visible from 20m away. It reminded me of a great quote in Ben Rich’s Skunk Works book: “You couldn’t force a nail up his sphincter with a hammer.” Well, on a boring section of road you make your own entertainment…
All this fun came to an end as the RRW takes a turn and heads off into Brenda’s Forest. This was pretty dull with the following exceptions:
- I did see occasional groups of Crossbills feeding on the cone crop – always a treat.
- We go along the aqueduct talking water from Loch Katrine to Glasgow. A lovely bit of Victorian engineering that looks like it was built yesterday.
- You get occasional glimpses of snow-covered Ben Ledi peeking above the trees.
The tranquillity of the forest was lovely and we even didn’t mind being diverted around some tree-felling section that added a bit to the route. Soon we pop out of the forest and Aberfoyle is in front of us. So a pretty dull walk that definitely requires a bit of dressing to make the flavours stand out: a snowy day with blue skies was ideal.
- Meaning that the strong sun would be at our backs all day and so snow-blindness wouldn’t be a factor! ↩
- Of course it could have been the same car stuck in some satnav infinite loop doing circuits of Drymen. Hard to be sure without DNA testing; Jazz and I were too busy to ask said females to spit into a sample bottle. ↩
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