A Sense Of Serenity
Nick Drainey takes a stroll in the beautiful, undulating Ochil Hills
TUCKED away in the middle of the Ochils is one of the most calming places in Scotland. Nestled high up between Tarmangie and Scad Hills, a grassy bealach has just enough of a panorama to see plenty of the surrounding high ground but not so much that the intrusions of people – save an old fence – blight the view.
A fine way to get there is to walk through Glen Sherup, somewhere that has changed quite a bit since the turn of the century. Beginning in 2000 the northern slopes, along with others in the neighbouring Glen Quey, have been planted with 1.5 million native trees planted, including oak, birch, rowan, ash, hazel, Scots pine and juniper.
The woodland is now flourishing and becoming a home to wildlife. Above, short-eared owls and kestrels hunt for prey. The reservoirs in the area are also a source of food for ospreys between April and September.
Yes, the woodland is not exactly natural, like the reservoirs, but it is not nearly as intrusive as what lies on the other side of the glen – a great swathe of forestry.
On an autumn morning, not only was the sound of felling unwelcome but the sight of old and new conifers, as well as clear-felled sections, somewhat cancelled out the work of the Woodland Trust in planting native species.
In March this year, forestry was fully devolved to the Scottish Parliament. That means the Government can plan where new forestry, needed economically and helpful in reducing CO2, will be. Surely the sort of juxtaposition to be seen in the Ochils will no longer happen?
So far nothing from the current Holyrood administration suggests that to be the case – but with a little effort maybe things will change.
The Scottish Government also has power over wind turbines which are scattered across the Ochils. Again, they are needed – but why to the detriment of such a beautiful
Glen Sherup reservoir provides food for ospreys
Whitewhisp Hill from the top of Tarmangie Hill Length: 13km (8 miles)Height gained: 490m (1600ft)Time: 4 to 5 hours OS Landranger 58Parking: Drive about 2.4km (1½ miles) west of Glendevon village on the A823 to the Forestry Commission’s Glen Sherup car park, on the left.