I took a walk up around the Lilly Loch today, in preparation for placing two new geocaches/opencaches. Geocaching is a ‘global treasure hunt’ using hand held GPS units. There are hundreds of thousands of these around the world now, and they can provide a great way of learning about an area which is new to you, and to gain experience using a GPS. many people buy these for hillwalking, yet can do little with them, apart from read off a grid reference. If that sounds like you visit the GEOCACHING website, enter your postcode, and see what is nearby. Garmin, probably the largest GPS manufacturer has launched a rival site to geocaching, called Opencaching. It’s similar to geocaching, but the main difference is that it is entirely free. Some geocaches and features on the geocaching website are restricted to premium members, who pay a fee. If you have a new GPS such as a Colorado or Oregon and are a premium member you can download all the cache details to your GPS, without having to print off reams of paper. If you are really into it, and have one of these GPS units, the £20 a year is probably worth it.
While walking along the hills above north side of the loch I saw a wind monitoring mast, a precursor to the forthcoming windfarm which will be erected north of Plains and Caldercruix. The view here is amazing, Ben Ledi, Ben Vorlich, Stuc a’ Chroin… all will be visible behind a blockade of wind turbines within a few years. In fact from here I could see the windfarm at Braes of Doune, which I saw yesterday from a different angle, from Ben Ledi. Soon it will be windfarms as far as you can see.
While out running last week I passed the new meteorological mast north of Caldercruix. The ground there is mossy, the peat holding vast amounts of water. With the recent rain the ground was sodden, the path running with water, huge thigh deep puddles meant I was soaked from the ground up. The coming of the windfarm will mean the removal of thousands of metres of water retaining peat, to be replaced with concrete and hardcore. Where will all the displaced water go? No longer held in the sponge-like peat, water will do what it always has, travel done on the line of least resistance. Caldercruix will be a much wetter place in years to come, and you only have to look at the playing fields in Plains to see how this works, where the water displaced by building works north of the village regularly floods the parks and behind the houses on Jarvie Avenue. Wetsuit anyone?