You know it’s been a while when you struggle to find the camera. You also know it’s been a while when you discover that the camera battery is nearly dead! I dared not rummage in the pack for fear of finding something else in a similar state of decay. The pack was abandoned on the floor for closer inspection at another time. The wee Fuji was recharged, the boots and wet gear waterproofed and the OS mapping consulted…today’s little adventure was to be be the first documented walk of the new blog.
Skinflats is (how can I put this delicately) a small village on the River Forth flood plain near Grangemouth with little to engage the passing tourist. On the plus side between the village and the Forth there is a network of old, near deserted, farm tracks entirely suitable for walking my two degenerate canines. The terrain in this area is about as flat as it gets in Scotland and would provide an ideal start to loosening up my leg muscles.
The Kelpies are never too far away from wherever you are in this part of the world. While they are a spectacular engineering “sculpture”, with an outstanding backdrop of hills and mountains to the north, I can’t help but feel it would have been better to locate them in a setting where almost every view isn’t ruined by intrusive electricity cables and pylons. Today, me and my two thugs were headed the opposite direction – towards the shores of the River Forth.
Our walk along the old farm tracks proved rather pleasant, the absence of any “distractions” a huge bonus as far as I was concerned. It is difficult enough to keep the gruesome twosome focussed on getting from A to B without having to cope with passing walkers, dogs, bikes, wildlife, deadlife etc…
You are never too far away from the mountains, even on the flatlands of the Forth. A bit of camera zoom and snowy mountain peaks (Ben More and Stob Binnean I reckon) from some 50 miles distant peep from behind the ridge between Ben Ledi and Benvane.
I was impressed with the local signing. The field track ended at one of the exceedingly minor back roads that crisscross the farmland. I was surprised to be confronted by a signpost whose plethora of information plates would not be out of place in the centre of any self-respecting Italian town. This can be a busy cycle route, the near absence of traffic and high visibility making it popular with the more genteel pedal pushers.
We cut away from the road and followed our pre-determined route along another farm track down to the flood defences on the banks of the river.
While “Little Bear” is generally content to follow paths, tracks and trails “Not Fit for Purpose” adopts a different, more random, approach when it comes to walking from point A to point B. This is generally accompanied by much vocalising on my part. Our walks are rarely quiet affairs.
As we trecked southwards along the river bank I paused to photograph the port of Grangemouth from most probably its best side – well, as far as it can be said that Grangemouth actually has a best side.
My two thugs seemed seriously unimpressed with what was on offer until they spied…
Earlier I commended the quality of local signposting…maybe I was a trifle hasty in that assessment. “Little Bear” and “Not Fit for Purpose” decided not to hang around to look for a corpse…the canine reasoning being that it would be too “off” to eat and probably not smelly enough to roll in.
I wasn’t complaining…I was quite encouraged to see that cyclists might be taking to the water. It would certainly make things less dangerous for me walking my delinquent charges around the streets of Larbert (and numerous other locations).
I stayed long enough to take one last shot of Grangemouth’s major tourist “attraction” and then we set off back to The Tank along winter’s mandatory muddy path, our first walk of a new year completed and a new blogging adventure properly under way.