A Runaway Apple!
Today has just been weird … the weather provided freezing fog right through Strathmore and the bus (99 no less just out of dock but still with her stropping) got held up behind a tractor and bailer. Having got past the bus takes a slightly longer loop and as we get to the end of that road the same tractor goes along and gets back in front!
I was swithering about which direction to head in and had sort of decided Auchmithie but the timing of buses and tide wasn’t ideal. I mentioned Dunkeld and Weather Guru piped up “oh Dunkeld will be lovely if the day is to stay like this” … we were out of the freezing fog by then under a blue sky with sunshine. I swithered a little longer and then plumped for Dunkeld.
As I travelled to Blairgowrie I pulled up the Dunkeld Paths Network leaflet on my phone and decided I would aim for the Braan Walk but I might only go to The Hermitage and then retrace my steps. I ended up walking 8 miles yesterday and so I didn’t want to overdo it today. However I had found some information online saying that path was closed due to landslips.
I killed an hour in Blarigowrie between buses with strolls up either side of the River Ericht in the freezing fog!
Having caught the 60 to Dunkeld, I set off from the North Car Park, over the bridge and found the path to the Underpass to Inver and then followed the direct path rather than the waymarked loop. I strode out across the wooden plank bridge with gaps between the boards and at quite some height over the River Braan (apart from anything else the construction crew working on the roadbridge were not going to witness me shaking like a jelly on the bridge!) In Inver the signing was poor – I initially headed towards the Hermitage Car Park but that seemed to be a dead end at the side of the A9 so I turned back.
I crossed the river on an old stone bridge and then headed up a small road along the river and climbing above it. Across the railway line on another bridge and I found the Inver Car Park; and then a sign saying the path from there was closed. The signs looked quite old and there was no evidence of barriers but the message was clear.
I walked a little further up the road and considered following the path in reverse but then decided if the signing and waymarking was this problematic at this point … oh and the path waymarks have changed colour since the leaflet I have was produced! … it could only get worse. I headed back down the hill and then along a side road back to the underpass.
Instead of heading back to the village centre though I turned off and followed a non waymarked path along the side of the Braan and then the Tay; finding a nice bench to sit on for a picnic.
Having enjoyed my sprouted pea and bean salad with mint dressing I helped myself to a UK grown Apple – it was very nice so I was looking forward to the other 7 over the next few days. As I repacked the backpack (and stowed away the plastic sheeting I had put on the wet bench) an apple jumped out of the packet and rolled away behind me down the slope towards the river. It stopped on the bank. After a few minutes indecision I decided to see if I could retrieve it – after all UK apples will be in short supply this year. I couldn’t get down the last bit of the slope without risking a slip so I had to scramble back up and leave the runaway apple there. It isn’t easy to see here but it is the little red dot at the end of the soil path between the plants.
After that I walked on and carried my rubbish searching for a bin. I had several dogs greet me and try to have a sly lick at the food packaging. Under the bridge I had a choice of steep stone steps and back over the bridge or follow the path a little further to the Birnam Oak. I had walked the distance the signpost indicated and there was a large oak but without any signage I am not sure if it was THE Oak or not. I turned back and across the bridge and headed back to the car park to wait for the 23 back to Perth.
As we left Dunkeld to head home the freezing fog disappeared to be replaced by bright blue skies (apart from over Dunkeld!) I have managed to capture some of the autumn colour but I am sure it would have been even more vivid without that fog. My feet just didn’t feel comfortable at all today; at one point the top of my toes itched and without taking my boots off there was nothing I could do to stop it. The walking was fine in other respects and I actually enjoyed going up the wee brae and not getting out of breath. I will do some more research and try that path again another time.
One other funny moment (apart form the runaway apple) was on the 20 coming home. A young man got on and asked to sit beside me. He has a prosthetic leg and talks about it quite openly and I think he appreciates a conversation with someone who understands and doesn’t try to pretend he hasn’t mentioned it. As he climbed up the step to the seat he stood on my toe; he was mortified. I told him no worries it hadn’t hurt (which it hadn’t really) and he finally laughed and said that is the false one too so it is steel!
So an odd and strangely unsatisfying day … move on and try again tomorrow.