Musings about wanderings

Month: March 2019

Loch Leven 26MAR19

It was time to dust off the hiking boots and get some walking done. I’d been planning to walk round Loch Leven since the beginning of the year but Monday was the first confluence of good weather and time.

Even though I had the day off, I was up at stupid o’clock and on the road at 7am. Straight into slow moving traffic on the bypass. It was doing 30-40mph till the Calders junction but once onto the motor way it was up to speed and a pleasant journey to the parking spot. Total journey was under an hour. And I got parked next to a camped Cali.

The sun was out but it was chilly as I started round the loch and right off there was the ornamental sauce gate to see. A runner passed me by on his way round as well bu I had the place to myself. first part was through some woods and there was silence broken only by natures sounds. Striding out into the quiet had a stilling effect on the mind and I could gradually feel myself relaxing into the walk.

The first half of the walk was away from the loch, through woods and reed beds but soon I reached a beach at the north end and spent some time taking photos.

Loch Leven
Loch Leven
Loch Leven
Loch Leven

I got some amazing shots from this end of the loch and was very lucky with the weather and sunlight.

It was getting busier and warmer now so some layers where taken off and it was time for a detour to see Burleigh Castle. Not a large castle by any standard but free to see and worth the trip

Burleigh Castle
Burleigh Castle

A bit further round and it was into Kinross proper and the visitor centre for Loch Leven castle. This was shut as the boat to the island the castle is on runs only in the summer. I quite fancy seeing the castle but the boats they had tied up looked a bit on the small side.

Continuing on my way, the last stop was the RSPB bird sanctuary at the south end of the Loch. After a perusal of the shop I took some time to view the birds. I had no idea what I was looking at but the telescopes were cool.

And finally it was back to the van. 24KM and 5 hours later I was back. I felt good having done the walk. A bit sore but it was fantastic to get back out and on my feet. Lunch was eaten sitting on the van’s step then it was home. A great day out and hopefully a precursor to more walking.

Arbroath Abbey and Signal Tower Museum – 232MAR19

I’ve always wanted to visit Arbroath to see the famous Abbey and with a day off from work and reasonable weather promised it was time to take a day trip north. 

Setting off at a reasonable hour, it was a basically straight road with dual carriageway pretty much the whole way there. The only real hold ups came when navigating the many roundabouts in Dundee along the A90 and A92. 

But most of the time was spent cruising along at 70mph listening to some fabulous tunes. The choices this time were Lunatic Soul’s “Walking on a Flashlight Beam” and The Sons of Kemet’s “Your Queen is a Reptile”. Both thoroughly recommended. 

I got lucky with the parking, stopping the van on the harbour shore. From there it was a quick walk up the hill to the Abbey. I was there pretty much for it opening and had the place to myself. There is a visitor centre which tells the story of the construction of the Abbey and the part that it has played in Scottish history. From there it was into the ruin itself. There’s only a little left of the Abbey but enough to imagine the splendour of the place.

Arbroath Abbey
Arbroath Abbey

The sun was shining though there was a chilly wind blowing. With the blue-sky peeking through, this made for some interesting photo opportunities.

Arbroath Abbey

There was also some sonic exploration as the Sacristy is mostly complete and has an amazing 5 second echo. I spent some enjoyable time listening to that space. 

The abbot’s house is quite complete as well but only the under croft is accessible. This has more information on the construction of the Abbey as told through the life of an apprentice stone mason. 

The Abbey’s main claim to fame is as the creation place of the Declaration of Arbroath. A letter sent by the nobles of Scotland to the Pope at the end of the wars of independence. There is a room in the Abbey that tells the story of the writing of the declaration and tells of the impact that it had.

An impressive Historic Scotland property, the Abbey is well worth a visit. And on from there it was back down to the harbour and the Signal Tower Museum. 

The Signal Tower Museum

The Signal Tower Museum tells the story of the Bell Rock lighthouse. It details the problems that the Bell Rock gave, known so far back that one of the Abbots of the Abbey placed a bell on the rock to be rung by the wind and waves so as to warn ships giving the reef its name.

It took the loss of HMS York in 1804 to prompt the construction of a proper lighthouse on the Bell Rock. The museum includes the stories of the keepers of the lighthouse until it was automated in the late 1980s. They also have one of the sets of rotating optics used and this is on display working. 

After the signal museum, it had brightened up further and though cold in the wind, it was warm in the sun and the van was a very pleasant place to have lunch overlooking the harbour. After lunch, the parking clock ran out so it was time to hit the road and head south. 

A good day’s visiting and a couple of interesting things seen. The Abbey especially is worth a visit. 

Some more Pics

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