Aberfoyle Trail Report
It was my 1st MASS Happening and I was disappointed to reach the Venue Car park and only being greeted by Orienteerers (I will promise in the future not to arrive in time). A whole vanload of them and they run up and down the car park with their maps in the hand and an eager look in their faces. But they seemed not to make any progress.
After some quality time in the car park some familiar faces appeared and as usual Oink staged his appearance so that every body could say hello to him. Shortly after he got his trainers out the boot we set of in the pi**ing rain. Out the car park where the Orienteerers were still working on their route, cross the street and into nature. We started the climb at 12:30 hrs BST, 17min and 21 sec later we were in operating temperature (stripped of the winter warmers) and hit the Summit after 42min and three oxygen tent stops (Oink needed twice as much as the others). By now we were wet down to the bones but have not found the right spot to take a pigs bath.
The trail got it's first real challenging check and I had to leave the secure position of the check and lead the pack safely back on the trail towards the shelter of the trees and through the high grass. Here the ground started to show some promising characters: Rock covered with moss were you sunk ankle deep. The rain had changed a bit - it got worse. The Pack was again disorientated by the cunning laid trail and only Annabel's determination got us out the rain and over a 2,40 meters (F*cking high fence) the trail went between two tree lines down the hill and was the kind of thing the average handbag swinging hound would object to.
The mud was clear visible but you either went through it or got scratched/torn to bits by the foliage to either side. The ground was not ankle deep but more than knee deep (No way Gin Bin or Scoop could have made it). Another right and into the woods. The rain was not felt anymore but down the steep slope through the trees, crossing the stream and trying to find proper footage meant sacrificing any remaining sense - so just eyes open and down down without halt. At the bottom we were led to a new road (about two years old) made of sleet. To the right the road was cordoned by heaps of cut down trees and the left looked like going up again. Ahead was a drop, which lead to a Loch right in the woods. The check was well positioned and the pack was puzzled enough to see one of its members taking his first bath for the day. Minutes later we settled for the way to the right and back down in the woods.
After a while we got bored with the nice picturesque path through the woods and decided to clime up back on the Service track and out of the wilderness. The obstacle was a slope of about 5 meters covered with tree trunks. I climbed half way across when the branches gave way and I luckily discovered that my Leg found ground before my a** and near-by body parts. We eventually made it only to discover that the road we wanted to take to safety finished about 10 meters ahead and we had to make our way back. Down on the pass we made good progress and eventually got back into the open and close to the hillside we climbed up about an hour earlier. Hughy Blaar had left here the last of his flower in remarkable ways and the decision was made to give him a phrase book of hieroglyphs for Christmas.
Back in the car park we were greeted by the Hares and our Hero swimmer from up the Hill took his 2nd bath to get the shiggy out cloth and body openings. We all made it into the Black Bull in Gartmore were we had a good mesure of the other whet stuff Germany and Scotland are famous for as well as some excellent grub. I parted here but rest assured that the party crew went on for a bit or more.
Thanks for a superb R*n and OnOn till the next time?. Right Hand