The intrepid 12 set off from St Bride’s at 9AM sharp on a fairly cold, dull and rainy morning in three cars. We picked up another would-be walker at Stirling Services making the number up to a baker’s dozen. After a comfort break at Aberfoyle we arrived at Kinlochard about 10.30AM and by the time we kitted up it was about 10.40AM when we started walking – the weather was still cold and dull with a few spots of rain.
We set off with a more senior gentleman at the head setting a very comfortable pace. Others lagged behind a little admiring the views and taking pictures. As we walked through woodland, by lochside and sometimes on more open terrain the weather gradually improved. The rain went off, cloud lifted from surrounding hills, although never clearing them completely, blue sky appeared and we were treated to the occasional shaft of sunshine – wonderful.
There was some good humoured banter regarding the ‘hills’ on a walk which had been described as ‘fairly flat’ and this helped to foster positive relationships within the group.
When we reached the highest point on the route we decided to rest, feed ourselves and take in the best views of the day. One of the party produced a flask of homemade lentil soup in which one could have stood a spoon – it was so delicious that he has been requested to bring a whole pot of soup next time but we could not agree who should carry it!! Loch Ard was resplendent in the spring sunshine (and occasional light shower) whilst Ben Lomond intermittently revealed a snow capped summit as its crown of cloud rose and fell in the passing showers. At one point we were even treated to a rainbow over the Loch.
19 folk aged from 4 to 78 were greeted with a dank and dismal day with little prospect of any improvement in the weather. Nevertheless we’re a hardy, happy and optimistic lot with scant regard for any miseries the weather may throw at us. So off we went to arrive at the ‘Queen’s View car park’ just before 10AM. The hill tops were all in cloud and visibility was minimal but the rain was very light so that was good.
Underfoot conditions were good and the hill wasn’t too steep so we made good progress.
There were one or two short scrambly bits but nothing to dampen our ardour so on we pressed. As we climbed higher the visibility deteriorated and underfoot became wetter and muddier but we soon saw the trig point and the highest point on our outing. Then it was on to the Whangie itself.
Legend tells us that the devil himself caused the cleft in the rock when, in a bad temper, he ‘whanged’ the rock with his tail – a good story but a load of old rubbish. A geological disturbance clearly caused this quite spectacular feature and gave rock climbers a great place to practice their skills.
We enjoyed lunch among the rocks before making our descent.
We had a very muddy descent which resulted in one or two slips which provided the onlookers with a few laughs and the participants with an appointment with the washing machine – all in a day’s walk. We completed the walk in three hours and, despite the conditions, all declared it a great success. Our only problem came when we tried to find a suitable hostelry without success so it was back to Cambuslang and Weatherspoons to refresh ourselves.
This walk completed 5 years of the walking group – we’re all looking forward to the next five!!