19th to 21st September 2020 - Day walk, Pentlands (September day walk)
Well hello EMC-ers!
It had been a gap of six entire months since the last EMC meet and in a pang of exasperation mid-pandemic and with some favourable ScotGov rules I decided to democratically nominate myself as the club's Covid officer and arrange a day walk. And had to do what we'd always dreaded might happen one day - a RISK ASSESSMENT. Everyone who decived to attend the day walk duly (and definitely not under duress) responded to acknowledge that they accepted the risks and that they would come anyway.
Back in March (the Kinlochleven meet, back when being sociable was still socially acceptable) we complained about the bad weather we'd had on pretty much all of the 2020 meets to date, and said we were due a good weather meet. And so it was. The next meet (September) was the turning point, and we had such a glorious day for the walk that I decided to cycle to and from the venue and two people decided it was balmy enough to bring their canine companions along too!
Not including the dogs there were 7 of us on the walk - myself, Allan S, Emma C, Marlene, Perry, Keith, Chris Re - and we did a circuit of Donalds from Gladhouse Reservoir up moorland tracts to Blackhope Scar where the group split - some returned the glen way, and some continued through the wind farm and onto Dundreich Hill.
The walk takes you past the ruins of Hirendean Castle. My zoologist instincts thought that was "hirudinea" which means leeches and their ilk, but I checked later and didn't find any, and a quick search on Google tells me that the castle is actually a 16th century peel tower (a fortification specific to the border region) which according to one account that I read, may have been occupied until the late 18th Century. It didn't look particularly habitable from my perspective although I'm sure the sheep appreciate its walls on occasion.
The path was faint and the bog was deep despite the drought, and Tiffin and Jasper had to jump pretty high in order to see over the heather. But for those with longer legs the views across the Lothians to the Pentlands and the Firth were exquisite and it wasn't until long after the event that I was reminded (by Mike) that I had in fact already been up Blackhope Scar as it had been Alison and Kenny's last Donald - in utter minging weather a few years or so earlier. I wouldn't have known, so different were the experiences on each trip!
Talking about retrospect, it's only now - as I sit down to write this account - that I've realised that Keith, Perry and I sauntered straight past another Donald - Bowbeat Hill - without even noticing its importance! Just as well we aren't bagging Donalds then?!?! We did enjoy the view from Dundreich and the lovely smooth descent from Jeffries Corse back to the reservoir again, and the opportunity to have a natter with club chums was much appreciated.
Thanks to those who came, hopefully there will be more day walks soon, and I for one can't wait until we can meet in larger groups and further afield once again!