Tuesday, 5 September 2017

30 August - Dumbarton - Lang Craigs circular

Paul, Kenny T, Kenny R, Robert, Dougie, Rex, Malcolm, Gus

We gathered at the garden centre below the Erskine Bridge (table service only) just as the heavens opened. Fortunately by the time we had supped our coffees, consulted maps and agreed on our start point the rain had stopped – it was to be the only rain of the day.

Satnavs were needed to find our point of departure at the Sports Centre on Dumbarton Common, but the technology was mastered and we soon reassembled there. At this point Paul realised his boots, socks and change of clothes were still at the foot of the stairs in Barassie – but undaunted he stepped out in the shoes he’d arrived in.

The start of the walk took us through suburban Dumbarton and we crossed the busy A82, passed the police office and entered Overtoun House estate.  The house was built in the 1850s in Scots Baronial style and was designed by the father of the infamous Madeleine Smith. It was suitably gloomy.  Kenny T raised our spirits by telling us a tale about suicidal dogs (confirmed by Wikipedia (not that we doubted him …much)) who have a propensity for leaping to their deaths from the adjoining bridge.  Wikipedia claims that most of the dogs jump from the same side of the bridge, in clear weather and tend to be breeds with long snouts.

Don’t mention this to Holly.

From here we were soon on to open ground. Unlike on most walks we had an embarrassment of maps with us today. Maps are clearly grossly overrated since we still weren’t sure where we were, but a chat with a friendly dog walker soon saw us right. The route map suggested we should do a bigger circle around the back of the crags but we chose a shorter, steeper and more direct route. Rex and Robert then set off through the heather in search of where we should have been, but the rest of us just meandered along the top of the sheer drops and settled down for lunch, enjoying glorious views along the Clyde. We were joined a little later by the two intrepid explorers who had aborted their search for the summit.

After lunch we completed the fine walk along the tops and started our descent.  Major excavations were going on and a boggy detour had to be followed which put Paul’s less sturdy footwear to the test. A sign proclaiming “The farmer is a **STAR*” suggested walkers were not too enamoured with his diversion.

Eventually we dropped back down to the A82, passed Jackie Stewart’s old garage and found a cycle route, following the line of the old Glasgow, Dumbarton & Helensburgh Railway, which took us back to the cars.

FRT was planned for the Milton Inn on the edge of the town but when we arrived we were notified that the pipes were being cleaned. Hmm. The Brown Bull in Lochwinnoch was an excellent substitute and a very convivial hour was spent at the  end  of a good day’s walking.

Footnote (geddit?) : Paul’s shoes survived the walk.

Distance: 9 miles

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