UK June 2011 – Day 14. Time to get some hiking in again
After a lot of chatting last night, today my uncle took us into Glasgow to buy a gas stove, seek hiking advice and get some maps of suitable backpacking locations in the highlands. Uncle Keith is obviously in the know on these things as he took us to a fantastic outdoors emporium Tiso where the staff were really helpful, especially Kevin, who gave us some excellent advice on where to go. Even better he treated us like we knew what we were doing (possibly a mistake, as conditions in Scotland are very different to the Ozarks), and told us about places that should be within our capabilities. His only suggestion we subsequently didn’t like was the Cairngorms, which after the remote and wonderful highlands seemed less accessible and over populated.
We left Tiso with a MSR Pocket Rocket, a gas canister and several maps and headed off to Sterling for a hike. We climbed Dumyat a modest hill with a near-by hill fort. It might be modest but it was more than enough for us out of condition hikers, in fact my uncle (who used to go fell running) despite protestations that he was unfit, did a whole lot better than we did.
The beacon at the summit was put there to celebrate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977. By co-incidence I had pointed out another of the beacons located at Fort Widley on top of Portsdown Hill in Portsmouth to Ginger, just a few days before.
The descent to the East on grass was steep and very slippery at times, I lent my hiking pole to my uncle, who had slipped quite heavily a couple of times. This of course made it more difficult for me to keep my footing, slowing me down, though I managed fairly well without slipping up. Little did I know that this was going to be just a brief foretaste of things to come in a future hike.
I managed to get some fairly good pictures once we were off the hill and on the track back to the road. Along the track we had to negotiate a herd of highland cattle with calves, which we gave a wide berth. The hike was a great warm-up for our planned backpacking in the highlands: 5.75 miles and 1,199 feet of elevation.