Eve was very enthusiastic to start walking to today. She woke up with energy at 5.30 am poking me and asking “dad what’s the time, can we get up?”. “No, go back to sleep we will get up soon”. Eve didn’t go back to sleep and we up at just before 7 am as Eve was making her motivation to start the day very well known to me.
Breakfast was good and we were outside and walking about 9 am. It was a beautiful morning. The sun was warm, the sky was bright blue and there was a cool crispness to the air. It was a perfect day for walking.
Today was a lot better than yesterday. The whole walk felt different partly due to a distinct effect to be upbeat and make our own happiness. It worked and we had a great day.
Within seconds of leaving the hotel we were back on the Clyde Walkway that goes along the banks of Strathclyde Loch.
Strathclyde Loch was lovely and we could see some hills in the distance. The sun was still low in the sky giving beautiful reflections on the Loch. The trail around the loch was busy, but the path was so wide we didn't feel that we were having our personal space invaded. It was lovely.
As we walked Eve watched the rowing boats coming past and listening to the coxswain giving instructions to the rowers. We stopped to look at the water and generally had a good walk, setting a good pace for the day.
When we reached the end of the Loch we could see several rowing boats on large storage trailers outside a huge building. I don’t think Eve had ever seen a rowing boat up close and she was surprised how thin they are, but even more surprised how people fit in them. She immediately turned to me, smiled and said “you wouldn’t fit in one would you daddy?” “No” I said, adding “I think I would sink it” and she carried on walking with a sense of purpose whilst I was left considering if I should have had that extra slice of toast for breakfast 😂
We left the Loch and followed a short path with a few benches where we stopped for a break and to write a quick post for social media.
As we continued walking the path went under a bridge that created a mini echo so Eve had us shouting. The area is residential so I did stop her after a few shouts worrying that a good Samaritan or a police officer would come running hearing a child shouting from under a bridge!
The trail followed a path along the banks of the Clyde River and you could feel it slowly turning more rural and Eve’s mood continuing to improve. A few good benchmarks of Eve’s mood are the games she wants to play, what she wants to talk about, her singing and going off ahead of me, all of which were improving (going off ahead only slightly but she wasn’t holding my hand permanently)
The trail was pleasant, easy to follow and kept changing between tarmac, grass, sand and mud. It kept it interesting as we watched the river meandering past us.
At one point we both got caught off guard and made to physically jump with the shock of a rather large deer jumping out of the bushes next to us and landing about 10 ft away. It stopped, looked at us and ran, jumping into the hedge on the opposite side running towards the Clyde. It all happened so quick I couldn’t get a good photograph except of it’s bottom as it ran away. Eve thought it was amazing and didn’t talk about anything else for the next hour. I got questions such as “if you could have would you have stroked it?” and “have you ever been that close to a deer before?”. Eve has a huge soft spot for all animals but I think most of you probably know that by now 😂
We walked through a small RSPB nature reserve where sections of the trail had been washed away leaving 10 foot drops in some places that we had to try and navigate around. Eve happily lead from the front and I followed her.
We walked along a lovely wide and open grassy section before the challenge of walking over a large area of very muddy and tussocky ground that had been used for cattle.
The trail got more challenging as we went on and in the end was absolutely covered in about 2 inches of the wettest and most sloppy mud we have encountered. It was also incredibly slippy. It made for a very interesting walk and how we didn’t fall over and get covered I will never know. We slipped and slid the whole section and emerged relatively clean although the smell of cow poo didn’t leave us until the very end of the day.
The last section took us away from the Clyde to divert around a huge farm and some houses. I have never seen a house with so much signage saying things like ‘beware of the dog’ (with a picture of a Doberman) ‘CCTV’ ‘no stopping’ etc etc etc. I said to Eve that I don’t think they want any visitors and it doesn’t feel very welcoming at their house without knowing the owner was just the other side of the fence. I only realised this when I heard there front door open and the owners go inside as we walked past. I think they must have heard talking to Eve. I don’t think I said anything offensive, just stated the obvious or maybe even, exactly what they were trying to achieve by putting people coming anywhere near to to there house!
We had a small break in a field and sat on our sit mats for a drink and snack, the first proper break in the last 3 days of walking. We had some short breaks earlier in the day but only long enough to eat a snack or have a drink. Here we actually sat, spoke and Eve played for a few minutes. It felt lovely and I think Eve was having a good time.
By now the time was getting on as we still had a few miles left to complete.
We had arranged to meet Sarah at a garden centre on the A72, but I got it wrong and went to the wrong garden center about 2 miles short of where we should have been!
It was my fault and I should have made a better note of the agreed pick up location. I didn’t realise how many garden centres there were in such a small area. I think we counted 4, that’s my defence anyway 🤣🤦♂️
We walked to the garden centre at Garrion where we stopped and waited for Sarah who was already well on her way to us from Aberfoyle after she finished work. While we waited for Sarah to arrive we went to the cafe and got a lovely cup of tea each.
Thank you to everyone who has donated to our Buy Me a Coffee fund. It’s these wee treats that keep us going. We’d been discussing getting a cup of tea and were hoping we’d beat Sarah. So thank you so much for your kindness 😊
We got a phone call from Sarah asking where we were and when I told her she told me that she was at a different garden centre 2 miles further on (sorry Sarah) the one we should have been at.
Sarah didn’t mind and within a couple of minutes she was with us and we were all in the car driving home.
Today has been a much better day than the last couple. The trail isn’t the West Highland Way and we knew it never was going to be but that’s the beauty of Scotland and the whole British Isles, the diversity of landscapes. As for the trails themselves, they can’t (and shouldn’t) all be in the wild and remote places, as they have to reflect what is out there. I am sure the heritage that could be enjoyed on this trail would be amazing if you were that way inclined and knew what to look out for.
As for us, we are rural and remote adventurers and we are looking forward to the next couple of days as we head towards New Lanark and onto other trails.
We are not hiking this weekend as Eve is attending her Brownie sleepover. She is very excited!
Have a great night and a great weekend and we will see you all for the next section of the Clyde Walkway.