Back walking in the hills

Just getting used to the new version of Word Press – so this page might look a bit odd! Some things I’ve yet to master …

With the restrictions of Covid 19 and uncertainties regarding health, our walks this year have been far more limited than usual.

It must have been last November when we last did any ‘real’ walks up in the hills. With some trepidation – because when embarking on a circular walk around a large loch there aren’t any short cuts, we left the car at 10.00.

There were far more visitors about than usual, but many were heading in the opposite direction to us as they were setting off to climb The Merrick. We’ve done that, but today we were less ambitious.

This is a walk we have done countless times in the last eighteen years since we moved here. As we walk round, there are memories of the walk done with family and friends, places we’ve stopped to take photos in all seasons and all weathers. It is a very photogenic place!

Over the years the scenery has changed as trees have been felled and harvested, and young birch trees have created a very different environment. In other places, storms have uprooted some of the giants on the hillside but nature has already started to recolonise the huge walls of roots.

In the autumn, or any other season, this is quite an inspirational place. A version of the following poem was published in The Dawn Treader poetry magazine published by Indigo Dreams and it’s also included in ‘From the Mountains to the Sea’ a collection of poems and photographs inspired by the beautiful scenery in this hidden gem of Scotland. All profits from the book are going to Arthritis UK. Unfortunately sales this year have been hit by the effects of Covid 19 which put an end to a number of readings planned throughout the year. Anyone wishing to buy a copy (for £10) just has to contact me ( with contact details.

Glen Trool 

Our path cuts a rough scar

on the hillside above the loch.

Gnarled hands of roots, scapulae

of stone, trip the unwary.

Emerald mosses cover, transform

hard rocks into scatter cushions.

Across the loch, rock scabbed hills

rise, form a distant glowing palette.

Russets mix with greens and ochre.

Below us, a watercolour of trees

shivers in the autumn sun on this,

no peaceful scene in the past.

Walking along, we recall the time

when Bruce claimed his victory

of the few against the many, by

rolling boulders down steep slopes,

taking adversaries by surprise.

We look down, hear ghostly echoes

of  men’s battle cries, of maimed horses,

see the graveyard loch of the defeated.

Cover photo – Glen Trool in autumn