This year, the Scottish Hillwalking and Activities Group had a season of summer evening midweek walks They started in May with the Whangie and Auchineden Hill and I’ve run them fortnightly right through our lovely summer and the last one is a week this Tuesday. We’ve run evening walks before but I feel this year, they’ve been well received and very well attended.
There’s nothing better after work than to suddenly find yourself on a hillside getting soaked or blown here and there, branches in your face then back to a warm cosy pub for a pint before going home. This is midweek and you feel like you’re having a secret weekend day in the middle of the week. It makes the work week bearable.
We’ve gone from the Campsies to the Trossachs to Loch Lomond – all the walks do need to be fairly close to Glasgow so we can get there in time. We’ve walked in rolling hills, forest tracks, by lochs, bad weather and good, midge infested dampness, tropical rain, thunder and sunshine. Some of these walks I hadn’t done before. As long as they had a decent pub close by, I figured I could make it work and we have. There is a great feeling of camaraderie on these walks – fast walkers, slow walkers and all those in between walk together – the group feeling is great and you could just hug everybody before they leave. It is a small slice of something special.
There was the time when we did Ben A’an and we went to the Byre Inn afterwards – it was so warm and welcoming and everybody was chatting, our faces all lit up and relaxed, that we forgot that we still had to drive back to Glasgow. I was very late getting home that night! The pub is a very important part of the evening walk. I’ve done walks before where it’s not such a big thing – but this is. After Cort-ma-law in the Campsies, we were gutted to find that our proposed inn of the evening The Swan Inn was closed – I have since found out that it is permanently closed – a shame as it was a lovely wee pub.
Tomtain in the hills behind Kilsyth was very popular – the weather was stunning and it’s such a nice wee hill, totally missed out by most folk then back to the Boathouse at Auchinstarry afterwards, a classy pub but lovely, so much so that I intend heading back to Kilsyth for our last evening walk this season. I had done this walk the week before and the wind then was so bad at the top, I could hardly stand. This evening, there was light winds and sunshine and an unusual cairn at the top with a coloured stone for Lucy. I wonder who Lucy was and why her stone was on the cairn at Tomtain.
Steep wee Dumgoyne played host to one of the most remarkable sunsets I’ve seen this year. We were descending so slowly as every corner we turned, there was a new view and we had to stop and admire it. The sky was deep red and orange – my camera didn’t pick up these colours though focused on the layers of light and darkness. Everyone couldn’t stop themselves from taking more and more pictures and the sunset got richer and brighter the longer it went on. We got down to the bottom and stood looking out over the fields to Loch Lomond – cars were stopping just to look at the light. Beautiful!
These hills chosen are not big hills, they are not Munros, they are missed out by baggers and serious climbers and most, but people are missing out on the small beauty and grandeur of these hills, the views, the light, the company. I don’t feel as though I’ve been neglecting the big hills this year – I am enjoying my time spent in the lowlands, these mountains in miniature.