Yesterday saw the second “Rights of Way” walk take place. I had advertised online, as well as in Airdrie Library. The Advertiser had contacted me a few weeks back to ask if they could mention the walk, but no article was forthcoming, and it was no surprise when it was only myself and one other who set off from the new railway station at Caldercruix. The other person was Jim Williamson of Glasgow HF Outdoor Club, and I was glad of his company. Jim’s usual haunt is above the 3000 foot mark, so this would be but a stroll in the park compared to the Munros.
We could have doubled our numbers if two anglers looking for the Lilly Loch had joined us, as that was en-route. The two lochs, Hillend and the Lilly, are certain to attract people from outwith the area, but aren’t at all signposted. They headed east, we took the quick way, from the A89, over the hill following the telegraph poles.
With the weather being warm we were soon sweating up the steep uphill, and the promised views didn’t disappoint, Ben Vorlich and Stuc a’ Chroin, Arran, Ben Lawers, all were visible.
We headed over to Annieshill, following the proposed core path (207) from the Lilly, to find the part where the path crosses the fence has been repaired, with a new barbed wire fence erected, right across the path. The gradual blockage of paths with barbed wire in this area has begun to snowball, and the local authority has the power to act. Question is, will they?
We continued on over Wester Bracco, and had a spot of lunch near the spring at Tipperdavie. As we moved off the heavens opened and it was time to move, hoods up and heads down. We headed up to the right of way between Mountcow and Salsburgh, which has also received a new layer of barbed wire. It seemed that perhaps someone didn’t want anyone walking here at all. Perhaps they are unaware that it’s against the law to put barbed wire topped fences along rights of way…
The rain eased off slightly and we arrived at the trig point at Blackhill far damper than we had hoped. With things not looking that good we continued down towards Alice Hill. I was thrown slightly, as the Airtricity mast which has been here for a good few years now, is gone. All that remains are two tracks, left by whatever vehicle uplifted it. These have however highlighted where the right of way is, leading down to the timber bridge, and a few yards further on, the electric fence. Despite being notified of the electric fence running across the right of way over two years ago North Lanarkshire Council have done absolutely nothing to have it removed. The wheels of justice turn VERY slowly here.
We finished the main part of the walk at the Owl and Trout, well, we were wet outside, so what harm was there in getting wet inside? This left us with the last section, down the newly relaid right of way to Caldercruix, and to the railway station, where, true to form, our train was cancelled. Despite the weather we had a good walk, just under 7 miles, and it had highlighted some important issues, the main one being the lack of action being taken against land managers who block footpaths and rights of way. There is a continual cycle of fences being put up across paths, only to be broken down, to be put back up, to be broken down again. Surely any responsible land manager would put in a gate or stile which would mean no more damaged fencing at all? Unless of course, the intention IS to keep people off their land. In which case the local authority, in this case North Lanarkshire Council, are letting land users down by allowing this to go on. A line has to be drawn somewhere, and we MUST surely be close to that line now.