Saturday 6 July 2024

Flanders Moss, Lochs and an Aire

Saturday 6 July 2024

Nido's parked up at Aberfeldy Aire.  It's a fairly new stopover just off the B846 west of Aberfeldy.  There's room for four vans and it's £5 per night, payment by cash or credit/debit card.  It looks like they've just added a service point that anyone can use for £5 also.  It's a nice idea and it would be great if there were others.  We're overlooking a large wheat field with wooded hills in the distance, with the odd rain shower after an afternoon of heavy rain.

Yesterday was a bit of a transit day into Scotland.  After a twisting and turning drive through the Dales we popped out on to the M6 just before Tebay services, so stopped off for a quick break and to buy some lunch, which we ate overlooking the water of Lochmaben, not far from Locherbie.  Carrying on up the motorway, we reached last night's stopover at Flanders Moss Nature Reserve.  This water-logged bog used to be nearly twice the size it is today.  But, like many of Scotland's bogs, much of it was drained and cleared for farming.  But this Moss survived and is still the largest bog of its size anywhere in Britain.  There's a wooden viewing platform which we climbed to enjoy expansive views over the Moss, with Ben Lomond in the distance.  The boardwalk meanders around a section of the Moss, with bench seating and noticeboards dotted along the walk. There was only one other van when we arrived but became fairly busy later, I suppose because it was the start of the weekend.  A few French children were running around playing hide and seek and a couple of guys were sat on the picnic bench playing a guitar and chatting as the sun set behind the trees.

Blue skies first thing this morning so I took Salty for a walk around the woods; it was very peaceful and warm in the sunshine.  The two guys chatting last night had left a plastic bag on the ground and as I picked it up I spotted an empty bottle of Buckie tonic wine in the grass, so that went in the bag ready to put in a bin later.  A quick stop at Tesco in Stirling for a couple of things and some diesel and we headed off through Crieff and up a winding, single lane road with passing places which climbed for about 2 miles.  This took us to a large car park by the dam of Loch Turret reservoir.  It seems a popular spot and a few cars were parked up; it's possible to overnight there too.  We walked along the dam and back, looking over the loch towards the hills. It would make a perfect place for a little cafe and the cyclists we met at the top would now doubt have enjoyed a coffee and cake stop after such a climb!  We walked a track along the northern edge of the loch, finding the odd juicy bilberry to enjoy.  There were a few birds around including a large bird of prey flying high around the crag way above us.  On the return leg a large hare popped out onto the track.  We stood like statues as it sat on the track sniffing the air until it bounded off up the track, at which point Salty spotted it and towed me along on his lead as he followed its scent!  Lunch was enjoyed in the silence with a view out to the hills and Creiff down in the glen to our left.

The satnav plotted a route back towards Crieff, but I gave it a stiff ignoring and turned the opposite way to take us on a longer but more scenic route past Loch Earn and Loch Tay.  This dips into the Trossachs and Lomond area and there was an obvious increase in touristy hot spots, shops and cafes.  The heavy rain showers pulsed through until we reached our current stop.  The adjacent road's quiet now and it'll soon be time to take Salty out for a quick walk before putting the kettle on.

Flanders Moss Nature Reserve

From the top of the viewing platform

Loch Turret reservoir

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