Monday 30 July 2012

Walking with the Strathern Ramblers 29 July 2012

Sunday 29th July saw us take on our first proper walk in the area, as part of Comrie Fortnight, the Strathern Ramblers were offering a 12 miles walk to the Standing Stones above the village of Comrie.

The weather forecast was changeable, sunshine, rain, windy... so we went prepared for wet weather, although no-one thought to take sunscreen which was the most needed!

The walk started from the village of Comrie, about 7 miles west from Crieff it is a small village that has a great community spirit and always seems to have something happening. Starting along well walked paths through woodland, we soon started to climb gently up the hills coming out at the Auchingarrich Wildlife park.

Just before getting to the park, we had the pleasure of meeting a colourful local character known as 'Dr Death'. As one of the ramblers climbed a gate, instead of using the kissing gate, a Landrover pulled up on a bend in the middle of the road a farmer leapt out shouting to get off the gate. Presuming it was someone her knew, doing it for a laugh I gave him a big smile and carried on walking... apparently it wasn't a laugh though and he is well known to always find fault with walkers, even previously having a dog trained to bite anyone following the public footpath across his land!

Anyway, near miss from Dr Death over and we stopped for coffee and cake at the Wildlife Park, enjoying stunning views over the valley and mountains from their café terrace. The park looks amazing, and even before you pay your entrance fee you get to see wallabies, mountain goats and camels. We will definitely be paying a visit to wander round the whole park.

Suitably refreshed, we walked though the back of the parks, seeing curly coo's, red deer, albino deer and yaks and through a forest of Christmas trees.

The next part of the walk is where going with a walking group really does pay as we were walking over hillsides, though farm land and onto the moorland, places you would not really go otherwise. We had several field crossing where the bull thankfully was more interested in laying in the sun, than charging, before reaching the standing stones. Set in straight lines, the stones are believed to be 3000 years old and so huge it's amazing to think they were placed there with no mechanical aid.

Lunch was taking in a little hollow out of the now blowing wind, and the sunshine meant we could sit, eat and enjoy the views over the Ochil Hills.

After slightly retracing our steps, we followed woodland paths round Cultybraggan- a former POW camps that is now a community centre- before joining the Ruchill River path back into the village for a well earned pint at the Royal Hotel.

A great day out, with good company and seeing places we probably wouldn't have otherwise... so looking forward to the day out!

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