For a while I’ ve been thinking that it would be interesting to blog about some of the places I go to. I’ m a keen walker, and I don’ t have a car, so I thought ‘ why not blog about places in Scotland that can be got to on foot or bus from my home in the not at all sprawling metropolis of Alloa?
Now if you’ re wondering if Alloa is an Hawaiian paradise or a village on a mist shrouded mountainside…well it’ s neither. It’ s a moderate sized town ( population approx20000) in Scotland’ s smallest county, ‘ The Wee County’ – Clackmannanshire. It’ s the county town and once known as a thriving centre of textiles production, brewing, pottery, distilling and glass making. Indeed the whole county was famous for its textiles and, of course, King Coal. These industries could not have flourished without the Ochil Hills – good sheep country, busking with blackface ewes even to this day, and just as importantly providing us with torrential streams to power the mills – and the River Forth, idly winding its way in giant S shapes before opening out like spilled mercury across the countryside, into the Firth, the estuary, making its way to the depths of the North Sea. Once we sailed out to hunt for whales in this firth, now it’ s a different type of oil that’ s transported up our river. I grew up hemmed in by hills and river, surrounded by woods and fields. My little town was the hub of my world, Stirling only seven miles down the road was an exciting day trip, an infrequent glimpse of large town life. After all, it had a shopping mall and a McDonalds.
So to start with, I’ ll be exploring these counties around the Forth and the Ochils – Stirlingshire, Clackmannanshire, West Five, Perth and Kinross. You’ ll see ancient castles, beaches, modern communities, battlefields. We’ ll go to the libraries and shops, sit in the cafes and listen to the local gossip. And then there’ s the two 30 m high steel horse’ s heads … but more of them later…
Here’ s one of our castles, Clackmannan Tower, with the Ochil Hills behind. Taken by me on a dreich autumn day. As if you didn’ t know😉
Posted from WordPress for Android