Friday, 29 August 2008

The King and I

10 years ago this month, I parked my car at the bottom of Dollar Glen and set off up into The Ochils. Fresh from shopping in Tiso's the day before, I was all shiny leather boots, baggy TNF pants and a "Wild Rover" ruckie, packed with fleeces, waterproofs, a big flask and assorted paraphenalia that the magazines told me were "Essentials that must be carried at all times" or somesuch. The day was hot and humid. So muggy, in fact, that even the midgies stayed home lest their hair go all curly and daft-looking. Needless to say, I didn't get far. My target of Kingseat may as well have been on the dark side of the moon. I flopped down, completely burst, on some wee bump.

The highest point of my first attempt

I could've thought "F**k this for a laugh" and gone home but, as the Lucozade Sport and flapjack worked their magic, I realised that I was actually having fun. Looking down on Dollar from way up on high, I actually remembered why I loved being in the hills. I dawndered back down to the car and that was it; I was hooked again.

I was out on the hills nearly every weekend after that and, 6 months later, returned to Kingseat. This time, I only stopped on the way up to admire the views. In just over an hour, blazing past all and sundry (including the man who did the "Walk of the week" for The Scotsman) I reached the shelter cairn and sat there for ages. The day was bright and clear, the temperature barely above freezing. Even the banter was good that day.

I left the top via a steep, and slightly reckless, direct descent down to The Burn of Sorrow. The glen was quiet, everything rimed with frost and not another soul in sight. A great walk out by any standard.

Back to the present and Wednesday saw me with a free day and a need to stretch my legs. Wanting to stay local, I headed along the A91 and swung a right at Dollar. 15 minutes later, I was walking up the road to Castle Campbell and, not long after that, I was heading up Kingseat.

Looking back towards Castle Campbell

It's no' a terribly big hill but it's broad as well as high which means there's a bit of walking across as well as up. It's also lumpy so there's 4 or 5 false summits to mess with the mind.

The saddle between Tarmangie and Whitewisp. Wind turbines just visible.

It's well worth the effort tho', the shelter cairn giving extensive views in every direction. It's a great place to linger.

Refuelling station.

I can see the hoose fae here. Well, nearly.

The lumpy, bumpy way up and down.

There was a wee bit of banter with a couple of auld boys, the only folk I saw, and then, 45 minutes later, I levered myself up and away. I actually found myself jogging back to the car, such was the spring in my step. Great stuff.

Somebody's been nibbling. Wisnae me. Honest.

The author.

Note: This is my 100th post and it's hill-related. Things must be improving :o)


Martin Rye said...

And a good post it is too. I am envious that you can get into the hills most weekends. Good for you and enjoy it.

Big Kev said...

Thanks Martin. The hills may be close but it's sometimes a case of so near and yet so far. My motivation's coming back tho' and that's the main thing.

Anonymous said...

Alright! Happy 100th.

And happy new Trio too :o)

Big Kev said...

Cheers ptc :o)

OMM Trio, Jiri' and Kamleika Smock/Pants all got an outing that day. Talk about brand loyalty.

Anonymous said...


My name is Megan Peterson, and I work at an Internet map content start-up company in Boulder, Colorado. I just perused your blog. In general, we're trying to bring information about walking (among other interests like camping, fishing, art, etc.) onto the Internet (Google maps, for example) as well as onto GPS devices and in-car navigation units. Our initial focus is on the US & UK. Our site will be structured and dynamic, driven by our users who will create and edit content (like a Wikipedia page). Also, our site will be free to all users, registered or not.

I'm very interested in having you participate in our closed site review occurring in several weeks. Essentially, we'd give you login information, have you create a user profile, peruse the site (i.e. the walking locations), and give us detailed feedback. Also, we will enable you to invite others who may be interested in our site.

Ideally, you enjoy and contribute to our site, and blog about it. We're hoping this is something you'd be interested in.

Thanks for your time. I look forward to your response.


Megan Peterson
Marketing Specialist