Signs Of The Times
Nick Drainey ponders the warnings during an ascent up Ben Ledi
ARIVERSIDE path up Stank Glen was the way I set off on my first walk up Ben Ledi nearly 20 years ago, having just moved to Scotland and found myself like the proverbial child in a sweetshop with the number of mountains and glens to explore.
This was before land access legislation had been brought in but even then, for me, the choice of routes was almost overwhelming.
With access it seems more signs have arrived which can be good thing if a path is closed because of windblown trees or a landslip. However, there are some signs such as one I saw recently – warning walkers the ground is rough underfoot – which I find odd. That path was still open and the ground was a bit rough, but that is what I had expected when going out in the countryside.
The Stank Glen path is now much better than my first venture up here. Gone is the boggy, leg-sapping terrain, replaced with a firm route. Higher up, as the summit delivers superlative views across the Trossachs, even the presence of forestry fails to take the mind away from the panorama, although I have to admit mine was a little distracted by the prospect of a pint in the Lade Inn below.
A memorial to Sgt Harry Lawrie, BEM – a mountain rescuer who died in a helicopter crash on Ben More in 1987 – stands just below the summit and is often a place to pause. Its very nature helps put things in perspective.
However, on the way down, the biggest distraction I had was thinking back to the sign about rough ground.
Yes, it is good to warn, or educate, novice walkers about potential hazards but I can’t help thinking we need to look at the bigger picture. And overall, we really need
The mountain’s trig point
Looking out over the Trossachs from Ben Ledi