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May 2014

Brig o'Turk, the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park and Loch Drunkie, the best named of all the lochs.

Map - OL46 - THE TROSSACHS - Callander, Aberfoyle & Lochearnhead, Balquhidder & Strathyre.

Distance - 4 miles Strenuousity - 2.

Stirling Coat of Arms

It's time to head deep into the dark heart of the Trossachs[1] and the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park so some sustenance is required.

Picking up bananas in Aberfoyle, it was pointed out that his use of the apostrophe was technically incorrect, the best bananases what? It's also confusing post-transaction since none of the best bananas' baggage is wanted but yes, we will have a bag, thanks.

That was met with a scowl that soured his plums. He's already had to rewrite all of his signs to show the price in  kilos, you see.

[1] Not really, the  Duke's Pass cuts right through it.

The opposite's happening with place names where the apostrophe is being dropped and while Bishop's Stortford's train station complies, the Welcome To by road sign doesn't.

The Apostrophe Protection Society[1] can get very possessive about this but they've no worries in Brig o'Turk since there's simply nowhere for the apostrophe to go.

[1] Yes, really.

Unlike this pair and the iconic[1], wooden tearoom in the village is the starting point. From the Gaelic tuirc for 'wild boar', of course, although there's no sign of it on the menu alongside the goulash.

Brig o' Turk Tearoom

Husband and wife team Csaba and Veronica Brünner have Hungarian roots, you see, and while there wasn't room for a big bowl of red stew at 2 PM, the hortobagyi pancakes packed a similar paprika punch.

Some recent research suggests it's now closed, boo, as has their operation in Callander and no, it's not known if any of this is down to you-know-what.

[1] Not remember it from the 1959 remake of  The 39 Steps?

Speaking of having roots, it's time to get the daisies on for this fairly straightforward 4-miler. Largely on broad forest tracks, which should be clear after last month's storm, this is now not so much of a meander but more of a mission!

THE TROSSACHS - Callander, Aberfoyle & Lochearnhead, Balquhidder & Strathyre Near Achray Forest

A mission to find Katy Cow who's only gone and gone missing in there. It's hoped she's all right and not missing her herd[1] too much but where could she possibly be?

[1] It's called a 'fold' of them up here, apparently.

From the tearoom, turn right onto the main road and follow the pavement for just under 400 yards. Left now to the Byre Inn, which may or may not have reopened that 'refurbishment' is taking much longer than expected.

It's not known, neither, if they'll be keeping the petanque pitch but what with the goulash, it's like a Grand Tour of Europe never mind a trail in the Trossachs.

Near Brig o'Turk - The Byre Inn Near Brig o'Turk - To Achray Farm Near Brig o'Turk - Achray Farm

After the bridge, the road veers right to a farm where Katy Cow normally lives together with at least one porker. No sign of her yet, though, it's assumed they've checked all of the immediate surroundings?

Just past the farm, the road meets another, which is more suitable for your general purpose motor vehicle. This is the  Three Lochs Forest Drive and a pair of pounds to the Forest Commission Scotland will see you in one-way or another.

Watch your  Green Cross Code™s and go left where there's a view to the east over fields and, is that? No, it can't be? Katy Cow?

Near Achray Farm To Achray Forest

'Here Katy, Katy, Katy Cow! Here girl!' Not a twitch. That can't be her, anyway, they'd have taken that waterlogged sign down, surely? Let's hope not, nobody wants to be out on a wild-Bos taurus chase so just keep to the road as it gently slopes uphill.

At the end of the slope up, turn left and after ten minutes there's another junction to negotiate. Go left towards Loch Drunkie, the best named[1] of all the lochs where, unless you're doing some furtive fishing, there's no need for that permit.

Achray Forest - To Loch Drunkie Achray Forest - To Loch Drunkie

Keeping left, the path leads down to the loch although there's a fair bit of shrubbery that accounts for it, inexplicably, not being shown, probably.

[1] Loch Lochy up past Fort William is possibly the worst? That's not even trying.

There's some fun and games to be had along the path that skirts the loch. An upturned boat[1] might provide some shelter from the rain then the chance to hit a home run although the bat's not thought to part of the original installation.

Achray Forest - Loch Drunkie Path Achray Forest - Loch Drunkie Path Achray Forest - Loch Drunkie Path

Finally, there's an opportunity to swing on some ropes, which will save you at least £33 at the GoApe™ back in Aberfoyle.

[1] That crumpled Pepsi™ MAX can definitely isn't ours. Idiots.

Soon there's an area for parking where a block of lavs have been laid on for your convenience. Cars can congregate here so you might have to watch your Green Cross Code™s, again. In the past they would have been described as 'lazy bums' but that's likely to be us in ten years time so, nothing wrong with a friendly wave, eh?

Achray Forest - Visitor 'Centre' Achray Forest

Head north away from the facilities and take the first left. This leads off the main road and into the forest properly away from the cars and while it's hardly Brands Hatch, they can be just a tiny little bit annoying.

Although this is the Forest Commission Scotland, there's currently no logging going on down here but there is some evidence of last month's storm. It's less than a mile to meet the road walked in on earlier then slightly more than the same again to retrace the steps back to the farm.

Achray Forest Achray Forest Achray Farm and North of Brig o'Turk

This one's been fairly flat so the bigger hills north of Brig o'Turk are being pondered when there's a distraction back at the Byre Inn.

It's seen they're doing 2-for-1 on their beef burgers and not one to pass up a bargain but mindful of the industrial scale processing often involved in these products...

'Is the meat sourced locally?' I enquire...
Ye cuid say that, he says glancing outside at the forest.

'And is it fresh?'
'Twas whin th' tree fell oan it.

That's a joke, of course, including the translations that were provided  here. Guffer P.I. has been on the case for over 3 years now but with new owners at Achray Farm, the case of Katy Cow remains unsolved.

You'll have to arrive at your own  ending, which is just how they  wound up The Sopranos.

Fauna Saw...

What Number Behaviour  
Katy Cow 0 Between a bun.