Monday, 22 September 2008

Up the hills.

Sat 20th Sept 2008

With a slightly fuzzy head (thanks to birthday drinks with my mate John the night before), i drove to the picturesque town of Falkland, located on the flank of the Lomond hills, which dominate the Kingdom of Fife.

I parked up on the side of East Lomond, and tried to ignore the monstrosity that is the communication network located next the to carpark, instead taking in the view North, towards the Tay (unfortunately hidden by haze). After 10 minutes of huff and puff, i was up on top of East Lomond, amazed at the wonderful views of Fife, stretching from the East Neuk, south to Edinburgh (Could just make out the bridges...), West to Loch Leven, and North up towards the Tay.

Unfortunately, the peace was ruined by the incessant drone of model aeroplanes circling round the south slope of the hill, with the 'pilots' sending their planes round and round in seemingly endless (and pointless) circles.

I had started the walk with the thought of bagging both Lomonds, but once at the top i realised that West Lomond was considerably further than i had anticipated. Despite that, the path looked fine, and it was a lovely day so i ran down the hill and made my way West.

Despite only being around 3-400m in height, the plateau between East and West Lomond is very different from the surrounding fertile farm lands, instead having a highland like atmosphere, something that is very accesible, but very wild. Ideal for those who want to escape from the central belt, but don't have the time to head North of Perth.

Despite my rapid progress along the plateau (two dog power), West Lomond seemed never to get any closer, always seeming miles away, then all of a sudden it was there, all imposing in its majesty (compared to the flat lands for miles all round). Only when i noticed someone half way up the hill (that i had mistaken for a huge boulder), did i realise how small the hill itself was. As i reached the base of the steep path up, the wind dropped and it became calm and surreal, the hustle and bussle of Edinburgh less than 30km from where i stood.

Ten minutes of slog straight up and i was into a howling gale, forcing me to keep my balance whilst trying to capture some of the surrounding landscape on my camera. What difference a few metres can make!

Running (half draggged) down the easy track, i made rapid progress back down to the plateau, and traced my route back to the slopes of East Lomond, where the plastic pilots were still flying round in circles on the thremals of the South slope.

A final hard push up the steep path, and i was back on top enjoying the view, this time slightly shorter than last time, as the clouds had rolled in up the Forth, obscuring my view of the capital. All in all, it was a wonderful walk, and i fully intend running the route next summer when the good weather returns.

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