It’s nice to get away for a bit of relaxation between Christmas and New Year – even if the weather doesn’t always co-operate. This year we stayed at the Forest Hills Hotel in the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park. The first day was dull and damp, but good enough for walking, so we drove to the Loch Ard car park and followed the red and green loops on the map. This totalled about 8 miles / 11 km so we did quite well!
This is Loch Ard from the red route:
However, I preferred the green route to Lochan Spling where we found some fabulous sculptures, and a bench to admire one of them from (which I did). The Dragonfly, the Pike and the Osprey are all by Rob Mulholland, and the inscription on the bench says “Sitting by the Spling in Spring makes you feel like a King”. Wrong season and wrong sex, but I suppose Winter and Queen wouldn’t rhyme.
When we got up the next day, we discovered we were trapped! There is only one way out (the road the other way ends at Loch Katrine) and it was both flooded and blocked by abandoned cars. We looked out at the torrential rain and imagined a day with our books, but after breakfast there was a dry spell so we pulled on our boots and set off to walk again. We ended up going even further than the day before – I’m not sure my feet like hiking two days in a row any more.
This is the waterfall in the hotel grounds on day 1 and day 2, which shows how much extra water there was.
From the hotel, it was about a mile to the village of Kinlochard. They like a good sign here!
Nothing wrong with this sign in itself – but we felt they might need a boat to get to their boathouse.
The fields were flooded too (that’s not the Loch you can see).
Undeterred – it still wasn’t actually raining – we climbed up into the forest behind the village and followed the path down to Loch Ard until we almost met the walk we had done the day before. We found more benches:
We saw our hotel on the other side of the Loch and climbed to a fabulous viewpoint.
At this point, the rain returned with a vengeance and we got drenched on the way back – but we had a nice, cosy hotel room to dry out in. And what about the road? It reopened the next day and we were able to get home (although being trapped an extra day wouldn’t have been a huge hardship).
Linked to Jo’s Monday Walks – maybe some of her other contributors have sunnier walks to report on? I hope to provide something sunnier myself next week…..