Sunday, 22 November 2015

The Clachan Oak

Ladies and gentlemen - I am feckin' freezing!

This is me wearing four layers (two jumpers) with two blankets on. It's currently 1°C. Toto, I ain't in Africa no more. 

Only thing for it was to head out for a walk.

We wandered off to explore an unmarked potential barrow, Craigenkarn, near Carbeth.

Not the barrow, just a mound - with potential cup marking.

Glasgow in the Distance

Panoramic - Click to Enlarge
There was still snow on the ground, and the sun was at the mountains even by half-two in the afternoon!

Went for a little wander and saw a hare. Decided to follow it and it took me to an old stone wall which ran down into the valley, so I followed that to find the stream.

As you can see, the ground was very marshy, and frozen, and my boots weren't waterproof, but I had a spare pair of fluffy socks in the car and a second pair of boots, so I kept going, hopping along the top of the tufts of grass to avoid the worst of it.

Partway down, I found a tiny little brook. I almost stepped straight in it, but a perfect round circle had appeared in the grass. I saw it just in time. It was making such a beautiful sound.

I got a bit carried away photographing moss again.

Then I hit the wall and started down. I love this wall. It's an old tumble-down drystone with lots of secret nooks and crannies for hidden objects. 

Up the Wall

Down the Wall

On the Wall

Twisted Old Tree

The wall went all the way down to the stream at the bottom, where it ended, and continued exactly the same on the other side.

Gap for the Stream
Bottom of the Valley

Little more snow down in the cool valley. It clung to the grass like ghostly grey hair.

Then it was time to head back up the wall to find Paul.

Following in animal tracks, we raced the last of the light back towards the barrow.

Not Cup Markings - Gunshot

Then it was back across a very strange piece of land. Right beside the barrow is a perfectly circular wall. It looks fairly well done, but it's not until you see it on Google Map that you appreciate just how perfect it is. Inside there's a cairn. It was particularly pretty with the moon rising above and the snow-capped mountains in the distance.

Google Map

On the way back, we pulled over to take a look at a tree Paul had spotted by the side of the road. Turned out to be The Clachan Oak, one of Scotland's trees of the year:

Sessile Oak 
William Wallace is said to have rested against the oak and later Rob Roy Macgregor is supposed to have hidden here too. This venerable tree held together by wide iron bands has seen much history. 
It has been held together for several hundred years by big iron rings to which criminals were chained as punishment. The oak survived a lightning strike in the 19th Century when it was thought to be 300 years old.

A local guy living next to it told us they also used to tie scolds to it whilst their husbands drank in the pub opposite.

We asked him where would be good for food and a drink and he recommended The Cross Keys at Kippen, so we headed there. Such a gorgeous old inn. Apparently the  oldest continuous licensed premises in Stirlingshire. We tucked into parsnip soup beside an open hearth. Perfect way to warm up after a walk.