A simple mistake, easily made.
I had a big training ride planned and decided to use it to check out some of the newly mapped Perth and Kinross Core Paths Network. Unlike Fife Council’s network, they’ve not gotten as far as waymarking them yet but the maps (and Google Streetview) make it reasonably clear where everything is.
So, off I trot, northwards, part way round the Loch Leven trail then over the regional border. Follow more known trails to Milnathort and beyond, then its off into new territory.
The initial exploration took me to Glenfarg Reservoir, which was pleasant enough, before turning back on myself a bit then heading north. The trail was clear enough, the climb out was a good workout then I came across a slight stumbling block. The path seemed to go straight through someone’s garden.
This isn’t the first time this sort of thing has happened when following the core paths so I just went around the outside, for to the trailhead and continued on.
I had a few options from here – a singletrack trail heading west then north, a dirt track parallel to the singletrack or a road to follow.
The singletrack didn’t exist, the dirt track was like the last trail – passing just a tad close to someone’s bedroom window for comfort, so as it was only a 1/2 mile of dirt, I just took the road instead.
Tempting, but apparently it doesn’t really farm candy.
Onwards and upwards. Then upwards, more up, then a climb just for good measure. A swerve to avoid a dick in a black murdered out Audi A3 then a rapid height loss. Dropping down, I could see the next trail snaking up the upcoming hill to my east.
A quick check with the GPS on my phone and the map to confirm that I was where I was supposed to be, then I was off. Oddly, it was uphill.
I was loving this though. The climb was steep enough to work me, but not so much as to be unridable, so I spin up the hill on 32:36 (no granny ring up front on the FF29 race bike) and eventually reach the top and an iron age fort to sit in for lunch.
After a chat with a passing walker, I head down the other side, glad I came up the way I did as the east side of the hill would not be fun to climb on the bike. I hit the bottom and ride the connecting single lane road to the next trailhead.
When I get there though, there’s an issue or two. It looks like the right place. GPS, map and landmarks confirm it, though I seem to be one easting out. I head north and the path evaporates, however I see the continuation up ahead. I get to the base of the path and start up it. I have doubts though. It doesn’t look exactly like the path on the map, but I’m in the right place and the landmarks etc all appear fine so I bash on. There’s clearly been some building work done on the path too, to improve it, so that could explain why it looks a bit different to the map.
I head upwards, checking my progress against the handrails (between two hills, with bits of woodland on my left and right) and pressing on.
As I get higher up, something doesn’t feel right. The handrails are right and have now been joined by a burn crossing, but the path, which is supposed to be consistent over the crest of the hill, has evaporated.
I check the map and phone GPS again. The Northings are right, but the eastings are out a bit. I look westwards, to check for any other landmarks and in the distance spot another hill and more woodland. Am I too far east?
Time is now getting on, so I head for some farm machinery I can spot up ahead. Hopefully, machinery = road = way down. I get to it and there’s not only a track, but it extends west and is signposted as a connection to the trail I was supposed to be on. Damn. Its too late now and I resolve to check everything when I get home.
I descend quickly and get spat out on the road I expected, but further north east than planned. I head up and find the end of the trail I meant to be on. I must have misinterpreted the handrails and been between the wrong two hills, the wrong two bits of woodland and on the wrong trail.
I head home, I might be running ever so slightly late now and there’s a 10 yr old waiting at the school for me.
That night, after my ears had stopped ringing from the earbashing from an annoyed boy who thought his Dad had forgotten to collect him, I checked everything on the maps. It looks like I had turned up the hill too soon but that the real turnoff was obscured thus missed.
In hindsight, its funny that I stumbled upon almost identical handrails and was on the correct bearing based on the northings, just slightly out on the eastings. Just a small jump to the left…
I’ll know better next time plus I might hit it all in the opposite direction.
This entry might have a second part.