Well this was the most energetic walk I’d planned for a while, I’ve done it lots of times before and it’s a great walk with the benefit of views over Strathearn and beyond. These initial walks I have written about are not Munro climbs, they are not technical, but for me at this stage in my fitness improvement they are exercise. What better way to exercise than to train in what you want to do.
With that frame of mind I was loaded up with my RIBZ and my Kifaru 14’R with 3L of water. I got an odd look from a dog walker early on but I’m a little past caring I’m afraid. The only difference to my kit today was the addition of the Peak Design Capture Camera holder and Clip. The idea is that the clip is securely attached to, in my case, rucksack strap or belt and the camera, with clip attached via a plate using the threaded tripod mount. My plate was designed for the clip and the Manfrotto head I normally used. I bought mine from Amazon check out the products page for details.
My weight loss has been slow but thankfully steady and I’ve still been able to have the occasional night out, event or special dinner. I’ve been following WeightWatchers as a medium and as I’ve said had some success. My being overweight has been a constant issue in life and I’ve tried to address it before. All failures are down to me but the consistent weight loss and focus has been down to WeightWatchers. Their new flex programme has made it considerably easier than previous attempts. I know that sounds like a bad attempt at advertising but I don’t think WeightWatchers sponsor Blogs.
So the walk starts on the side of the A85 on the western edge of Crieff. Parking is limited although the local park and the Grouse Experience is reasonably close by with ample parking. The entrance is by the small bridge over the Turret Burn just by the bridge before the right turn to Glenturret Distillery currently still signposted as the ‘Famous Grouse Experience’ although I think it’s in the process of being sold. Parking is limited although the local park is reasonably close by with ample parking. The trees and shrubs almost completely cover the path and the burn so it was quite dark walk but the path is well defined. There are signposts with a few deviations leading you to up to Crieff Hydro but the main path is my chosen route. The path is used by horse riders (as is evident by the ‘horse exhaust’. Question – why isn’t it against the law for horses to crap in the street like other animals) bikes and walkers so be aware.
There are a few small streams running down to the burn but all go under path. The path falls away down to the burn but most of the sides are fenced at the worst bits. It’s overgrown but easily managed, not considered accessible by any means, but easily managed. It meets a path which is part of Crieff Hydro’s 4X4 and Quad route, be careful though. A short way goes through a very overgrown part before reaching an open path. This is again part of Crieff Hydro’s 4X4 route so be again be aware.
The centre of the path is regularly washed out so you have to be walk on the sides, the large rounded slippy stones make this eminently easier. The Hydro’s golf course sits to the left and right of the path as you climb meeting a tarmac road past the club house. The Knock of Crieff is forested all around, well apart from the area currently being harvested at the top.
The climb continues and I was glad of my walking poles, a good enough workout on their own. Again this is not a big mountainous climb but I’m so out of shape I have to work at it. All good to get your heart pumping and I think it’s better to do it in the outdoors rather than in a gym. There are occasional glimpses of wildlife throughout the walk, deer and red squirrels. The walk today was accompanied by the mewing of buzzards throughout. The ‘hoodies’ were not chasing them today so they had a decent chance to do some hunting.
As you pass a paddock a sharp left turn leads you up the Knock. There are great views at the car park for some of the Hydro’s self catering there is a lovely viewpoint out over the Vale of Strathearn. Definitely worth a pause and a photo. Up to the right sits the Knock of Crieff, there is an easy alternative walk up through the trees from the hotel. The area was recently developed for outdoor activities and there are now various routes for mountain bikes well sign posted. At the summit the path levels out and becomes more substantial to all for the logging to take place.
Here again the view are tremendous with views of Monzie (pronounced ’Mon-ee’) castle and it’s surrounding estate. Looking down on the day I walked it looked like the scouts had a camp setup in the grounds. Ahead in the near distance to the left of the path sits Milquhanzie Hill with it’s aerial mast. Some harvesting is taking place along the top of the hill so theres a diversion in around the hill above Kate McNievens Crag. Theres a FB page here https://www.facebook.com/historyhaunted/videos/kate-mcniven-died-1715the-last-witch/1546010998758308/ that gives some details on poor Kate. I doubt it was a happy ending.
Once you’re through the diversion it’s all down hill. The various mountain bike trails sit to your right as you descend and Crieff golf course sits to your left. There are frequently deer on this side of the hill, B and I nearly lost the young B2 when she sighted a deer and ran up the hill through the rhododendrons in pursuit. Thankfully she returned but I’ve never trusted her around deer since.
As you near the hotel there is the memorial arboreum/garden then the paddock for the Hydro’s horses. This is close to the end of the loop around the Knock and you join the tarmac’d road which bends round to the right and you meet the junction from your ascent. Keep to the left and keep going down.
The path down to Lovers walk is fairly overgrown and the entrance is obscured. I passed through it and decided to take a walk across the burn avoiding the ‘beastie’ and walking through the distillery. The walk down the road at this early hour of the morning is quiet but it can be busy with farm traffic, buses to visit the distillery and locals, care should be taken.
This was a good walk and I felt the benefit easily surpassing my 850kcal and 30min exercise goal on my Apple Watch. The ascent, which again isn’t anything most would consider challenging, felt good and I feel that I can start doing more ascents in more difficult terrain. I have a few planned out including getting Ben Chonzie the local munro done. This should also do my weight loss good, I aim for 1 – 2 lb per week focussing on keeping it off and increasing my activity. Unsurprisingly as much as I enjoy exercising on my Concept II rower, exercising in the outdoors takes any enjoyment to a different level.
My kit all held up as expected. The pack is very comfortable, Kifaru packs are expensive and doubly so in the UK as customs usually hit you when they arrive in country but I don’t think I’ve ever had a day pack as comfortable. I’ve been using my Sony RX100V and GoPro photos and attached video let you see how they perform. The GoPro is one of the original Hero’s, the first I think, 1064 X 750 resolution. It seems to do the job and I don’t have plans to upgrade just yet. My feet are still sore but this is more to do with my plantar fasciitis rather than my boots. I’ve gone back to my Scarpa SL boots to see if the stiffer boots help out with pain relief or avoidance.