Much as I love living in the city, or more specifically Edinburgh, sometimes it is good just to get away from it all. Away from the city, the traffic, the noise and the roadworks; to somewhere where the pace of life is a little more gentle.
Thankfully just such an opportunity reared its head this weekend that took me up to Callander, Perthshire. My Younger brother is a scout and every year they go away camping for a fortnight somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Given the somewhat unpredictable nature of the Scottish weather the families of the scouts come up on the middle Saturday to bring much-needed sugar-boosts and clean, dry, more-pleasent-smelling clothes.
With them being out in a field not to far from Callander this year we decided that we would drop in on the little town and walk Her Majesty, Queen Keira (the dog), along the river before wading through the muddy field. As with any new place she went into hyper mode; pulling and bouncing, and sniffing and going for a little paddle (until it looked too deep, at which point she graciously pulled back jumped back onto the path). Basically, she was just rather excited to be somewhere new. And I now have one arm that’s longer than the other.
Like many parts of rural (and not so rural) Britain, Callander at one point had a bustling railway line and little station. They don’t any more. This has left them with a lovely little path going alongside the winding river, built up on a ridge, cutting through the fields. Some of which are full of sheep and others which, after this week’s down pours, are now bogs…
It’s actually part of the National Cycle Network (route 7, if you’re interested), and being an old railway line it is smooth and with only very gentle inclines. Perfect for a lazy Saturday afternoon stroll. Being fairly restricted by the time – we may have left Edinburgh about an hour after we’d intended – our stroll was only about 3 1/2 miles long, however, with all the dancing about at the beginning Keira was beginning to amble more and more slowly towards the end.
Callander Is pretty small and it didn’t take us long to walk through it when we came back, but it was incredibly busy. Clearly there’s quite a lot going on in and about this not-so-sleepy little village, and as it’s only about an hour away from Edinburgh I’ve no doubt that we’ll probably be back before long and when we do it’ll be for the day and we won’t be off to have a picnic in a muddy field afterwards…