Day 28: Balloch – Forth & Clyde Junction Railway – Blane Valley Railway – Craigallain Loch

15.6 miles – dry, overcast, humid, some sunshine later

Gently rural, agricultural landscape

The first eight miles today retraced my steps of the last eight miles yesterday, so you see, you didn’t miss anything!

After the wilderness of the North and the wild beauty of Loch Lomond, the landscape now struck me as simple, homely, almost mundane. This was a gently rural landscape of farms and cows and sheep, of neatly clipped beech hedges, of red-brown sandstone walls; and the paw prints by the roadside were of pet dogs, not deer. The cows, sheep, and birds got on with what they had to do, and so did I. My attention was on the hedgerows, and the wild dog roses were the best I have ever seen.

Dog rose (rosa canina). It seems to me they are a darker pink in Scotland.
The local red-brown sandstone. This view of a lovely old barn is somewhat marred by the recycling bins, as are many other otherwise beautiful building in the area.
Gently rural sheep
A fabulous example of a foxglove (digitalis)
Looking down on Endrick Water from the bridge above

A good part of the day’s walk was along disused railway lines, which have always held a painful place in my imagination: it has always felt as if some artery of life has been ripped out brutally. That’s how it seemed in my childhood, in the immediate post-Beeching era. However, the old lines today seemed at peace, having sunk back into the land from which they were wrought, and now they have a new and useful purpose – to carry West Highland Way walkers and cyclists.

The site of Dumgoyne Station on the Blane Valley Railway. Beneath the long, grassy mound is a pipe carrying Glasgow’s water supply from Loch Lomond.

How lovely to lie back in one’s tent, sip sublime whiskey, listen to the birds singing, and watch the sun move westward, through the trees, illuminating the midges which are safely the other side of the tent’s mesh. Peace.

My sleeping bag smells of damp dogs.

Comments (3):

  1. Shellagh + Stuart

    24 June 2022 at 07:48


  2. Guy Harbottle

    26 June 2022 at 23:00

    Never sleep with damp dogs, I say.

  3. Peter

    1 July 2022 at 07:54

    Words to live by, Guy


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