Friends, collies, great danes beside log fires,
After yesterdays 9.5 hour walk all we were good for was a quick bite to eat and lots of sleep; B was in no condition to drive far. We made it the few miles down Glen Shee, to what had become our favourite lay by, and mentally adjusted the time we would start our walk tomorrow to allow for the travelling time that we hadn’t managed today.
In the inevitable way that time passes 5.30am came around with indecent speed and the equally inevitable movement, coming from the body next to mine, started in earnest. If I could talk I would have said, “B, I’m so tired and every bit of me hurts’. Mind you, given the time and gyrations it took for B to get from sleeping bag into clothes, I think the same could be said of her. She must have had pleasant dreams though, and woken up with her happy yellow hat on, because she reassured me that we would waken up, and loosen up, once we got going. I wasn’t at all convinced but – being the buddy I am – I resisted the temptation to down tools, turn a cold shoulder and go back to sleep.
We headed South on the A93 and then west to Crieff, passing the wonderful Scone Palace en route and in just a few more miles we had saluted Comrie and were on our way to Loch Earn. It seemed, as we drove along the minor road south of the loch, that half of Glasgow had emigrated to tents on shores of the water. The widening of restrictions on wild camping – by Loch Lomond & in the Trossacs – had clearly missed the attention of those who had enjoyed the most fabulous vista, while stoking their barbecues and swigging their beer last night.
These limitations have given rise to heated debate on both sides, with each camp (hee, hee, clever pun eh!), having credible arguments to put forward. It looked a mess, some people were probably very noisy and very drunk late into the night and a number of vehicles had parked in passing places. On the other hand, if you live in a city – perhaps in cramped housing conditions, or a high rise flat – and can’t afford traditional holiday accommodation like posh hotels or even meagre B & Bs, why shouldn’t you escape for the odd night to witness the truly awesome experience of sleeping out under the stars, watching the moon light up the loch and cast reflections of the hills into it’s translucent waters. And, so what if you are young and high spirited. Whose land is it anyway. B’s sympathies, on the side of the campers, was finally decided at the end of our walk when we saw the face of privilege stare blatantly at us in the form of a fabulous palatial house, situated high about the loch. It’s acres of manicured lawns stretched out from a large semi circular forecourt fronting the mansion. 3 new 4 x 4s and a top of the range sports car were parked here completing a glossy photograph you could expect to see on the cover of Country Life magazine. Why shouldn’t everyone have access to the opportunity of experiencing the stunning landscape in which this loch was set, by whatever means you could afford, thought B.
My own decision about which side of the argument to pitch in with (another pun, I’m good aren’t I) was a bit more complex and ultimately, left unresolved. Now I could see the advantage of palling up with the great danes, on thick fur rugs in front of a glorious log fire, replete after a nice dinner of sirloin steak. Yet, I could also smell the scent of those wonderful barbecued pork sausages and they were very tempting too. But, with all that booze knocking about – crystal tumblers of malt whisky at the big house, or bottles of beer and wine cooling in Loch Earn – would the humans remember to feed their four legged companions? What I really couldn’t work out was, which faction would be most likely to let a young knave like me share their supper. I know what B thinks and I bet you know too by this time, but I wonder what you think. It would be lovely, lovely, lovely, if you dropped me a line with your opinion to help me solve my conundrum.
Back at our van, after a very wet day, all the campers had gone home and not left a scrap of litter. Nor had they left me even a morsel of the scarred remains from their barbecue. There is much more to be said about this important question of rights, land ownership and feeding dogs, if you are interested, you can read more about it here:
Whoops a daisy, now I’ve gone off on a tangent and haven’t even told you about our Munro walk today. I’ll tell you tomorrow.