As my regular readers will know, I am a great fan of getting outdoors and going on walks and hikes on a regular basis. It helps me gain perspective on anything that’s bugging me, alows me to soak in some fresh air and Vitamin D – well, as much as Scotland has to offer – and allows Mr OneBigStressball and I time away from the city to chat about anything and everything.
This weekend has been the first in a long time where we have had nice weather. Storm Ciara, Derek and Jorge have long since blown over – the only remnants of them being a heavy wind that refuses to quit. But, the sun was shining, so we took it as an opportunity to dust off the cobwebs of winter and get our walking shoes back on… I say walking shoes, I mean trainers, because we still haven’t gotten round to buying specialist shoes yet.
We set off just after lunch, having made a morning trip to the gym, and with plans to go to the cinema in the evening. The journey wasn’t too long to get to where we needed to be, and was pretty easy to find, simply following the signs to Glenrothes and then onto the RSPB Scotland Loch Leven. Only one moment of panic was had, when, whilstv on the motorway, it seemed we were driving through some pretty heavy rain.
Rain and I don’t mix. I can deal with walking in all sorts of weather but if there’s a chance my feet will get wet I will cry.
After parking, we made our way into the info centre, as we realised there was more than one walking route in the area and wanted to know more about which one would suit us better.
We decided to go with the Woodland Trail, after being promised gorgeous views over Loch Leven and the surrounding area, and were told that it would take us about 40 minutes to get to the top. This time, unlike our ill-fated walk up Dumyat in Stirling with my brother, we were well stocked up with sweets and water, so didn’t mind taking it a bit slower- the sun was out and the rain was gone, perfect walking weather.
Vane Hill itself isn’t particularly steep, and there were steps very handily cut into the ground for us. I didn’t have to use my inhaler once, which is usually a good indicator of how steep an ascent we’re tackling. However, it had been raining quite heavily recently so we had to be careful – any dips in the mud in the steps were just pools of squelchy mud waiting to suck our nice shiny trainers into their depths.
The loch lay to our left, and we were treated to some stunning views all the way up – we played a game where we tried to find as many bird-houses as we could, so our heavy climbing breaths were punctuated by ‘FOUND ANOTHER ONE!’ every so often.
Conveniently, there was a little bench at the top of the hill, and we were able to sit down and rest our legs while taking in the absolutely beautiful sights. I’d forgotten how good it feels to make it to the top a hill, steep or not, and just take in the views that Scotland has to offer.
There is so much on our doorstep here, and I am truly grateful that we are able to make the most of it (when the weather allows). Getting away from the city; allowing ourselves the space to gain perspective on our thoughts and feelings and situations that can seem overwhelming… we really are lucky to be able to do this.
We have a birthday party to go to this weekend, so logic says that we probably will not be in a fit enough condition to be doing any walking. We are however, planning a Scottish challenge which we hope to undertake this summer, so watch this space!
Where are your favourite places to walk?