Sunday, November 02, 2008

A Walk In The Forest

With the weather looking reasonable and it being a Sunday, we hopped in the car and headed for the Trossachs for a wander in the forest, specifically around the David Marshall Lodge near Aberfoyle.

Queen Elizabeth Forest ParkA Shady Path

The lodge is actually a Forestry Commision visitor centre in the Achray Forest, which itself lies in the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park. The Achray Forest straddles the Duke's Pass between Loch Achray and the Trossachs to the North and Aberfoyle to the South while the larger Queen Elizabeth Forest Park runs from the East shore of Loch Lomond to Strathyre and of course all of that lies within the new Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. If all of that doesn't confuse the tourists, then we're not trying hard enough!

There are about eight well maintained and signed forest walks around the lodge area and, along with the latest attraction, the Go Ape High Wire Adventure course, it's a good place for youngsters to spend a day in the outdoors. The one downside we discovered was that the tearoom, which was always good for a tea and a scone after a solid day's walking the trails, has been changed. They've obviously sold out to a what appears to be a team of foreign migrant workers and they're trying to turn it into a table service only place. What a horror - we couldn't just nip in for a simple snack lunch but had to order from a menu and then wait about 20 minutes until we sere served. Whatever happened to the home baking and large urns of hot soup or rolls to go? I can't fault the food though and we had a couple of bowls of steaming hot soup before heading out but it'll never fly as a table-service only restaurant.

The TrossachsBen Lomond To Ben Ledi

The surrounding forest is a mix of oak, birch, larch and conifers so there's plenty of variety in the woodland and lots of birdlife around as well. We usually wander around almost all of the path trails and end up on top of the little hill that at one time sported a radio mast as the views out from it excellent. You can see all the way over to Ben Lomond in the East, North to Ben More and Stobinnean, Ben Ledi to the West(ish) and South to Dumgoyne and the Campsie Fells.

Dumgoyne and the Campsie FellsSouth to Dumgoyne and the Campsie Fells

All of that usually takes us about three hours or so of ambling along the trails and then it's time for a laze, sitting having a snack on the hilltop, and then wandering back down by a different route. Of course by the time we got back down to the lodge the new tearoom/restaurant had closed at four in the afternoon. Now that's enterprising of them, not!

So, no tea or scones to be had, we set off home somewhat disgruntled but not unhappy!

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