“Mud, mud, glorious mud!” might well have been the theme-tune on our latest walk from Crieff to Auchingarrich Wildlife Centre, near Comrie.
After a spell of reasonably dry weather, there was a wet weekend then torrential rain the afternoon and night before our visit.
Much of our route was along narrow woodland paths which were extremely wet and muddy and had been further churned up by cattle and horses. However most of the day was dry and warm and there was much laughter along the way.
Starting point was the Visitor Centre on Muthill Road, to the south-west of Crieff. We crossed the car-park and an area of grass then entered some woodland. After that I am lost!! We seemed to go uphill for most of the day, and over various hurdles: fences, fallen trees, burns, stiles etc.
There were few landmarks along the way but the views over the countryside were fantastic – as nice as we’ve had. We could see Crieff Hydro from miles away, even though most of the rest of the town was out of sight. At our lunch stop in particular, we were able to really appreciate the spectacular outlook.
Eventually we came to a place where the walk leaders said, “That’s where you’re going,” and from that point on we went downhill. Some parts were quite steep so we had to be particularly careful because it was very slippy underfoot. By this time, there were markers along the way which indicated that we were now on the Torlum Walk. As we neared the Wildlife Centre, we could see the bus waiting for us; the route flattened out; the paths were wider and better maintained. Distance covered was 7-8 miles.
This walk was by invitation from the Crieff and Comrie Walking Group, one of whose members is Margaret McVicar, sister of our own Chris Milne. We travelled to Crieff by coach and then formed three sub-groups: the largest group did the main, longer walk described above; a second group took a shorter route described below; and some came for the outing.
The second group crossed the River Earn near the Caravan Park then followed a signed route to reach the Sports Grounds for Morrison’s Academy. From there they crossed another bridge over the old railway line and soon came to MacRosty Park where they had a short break. Across the bridge over the Turret Burn, the park becomes Mungall Park and from there they headed uphill and over the River Earn.
A left turn there led to the pathway to Lady Mary’s Walk alongside the river. They spotted dippers, wagtails and ducks moving among the stones on the river, and finished their walk next to the cricket pitch at the road junction on the A85, opposite the road leading to the Grouse Experience Visitor Centre.
To round off our time in Crieff we were invited back to the home of Margaret McVicar, where we enjoyed tea and cakes in the garden. Hazel, our driver, had just announced that it was time for us to move on, when the first drops of rain started to fall...... Speak about good timing! And that same good timing ensured that we reached the Red House Hotel in Coupar Angus, bang on 4.30 for high tea.
Our grateful thanks to our hosts from Crieff and Comrie who looked after us so well and to Hazel our driver who took us safely there and back.
The next walk will be on Tuesday, June 24, when we will travel to Arbroath. Starting point will be at Victoria Park car-park. As usual, the minibus will leave the Burgh Buildings in Laurencekirk at 10am.