The Fatdog and I were supposed to be out hillwalking…but we weren’t. We had targeted a couple of possible hills to the east of Glenshee, which would have made for a gentle wee stroll in fine weather with no serious ascent…but it didn’t happen. Instead we were lurking furtively in a hidden wooden shelter, hot on the trail of the nut munching red squirrels of Aberfoyle. I have to say it was a far less strenuous outing than our normal…and we had other things on our mind.
Before suggesting this trip J had calculated that the promise of coffee and buns at the Bluebell Cafe at David Marshall Lodge later in the afternoon would prove irresistible to both myself and the black hairy cheese monster. She knows us so well.
The quiet of the hide was interrupted only by the hungry tweeting of feeding blue tits, The Fatdog’s heavy breathing and the animal howls of the “Gorillas” on the “Go Ape” zip wire, 20m above. It was a rather unlikely scenario and a slight exaggeration on my part, yet none the less based on a smidgeon of fact. The muffled roars and screams of the “Go Ape” denizens could be heard, but were fortunately a couple of hundred metres to the west. With regard to FD’s heavy panting I’m afraid there was not the slightest of exaggerations on that score, merely a resigned fatalism. J hissed at The Fatdog…and a petulant hush fell on the little timber shelter.
The bird feeders were alive with a myriad of blue tits, coal tits and great tit but the timber boxes of nuts fixed to the trees were the main attraction.
I’d seen red squirrels before but rarely have I seen them in the wild in Scotland. Admittedly this was cheating a bit but, given their shaky status vis-a- vis their grey cousins (the tree rats), it was a glorious feeling watching their auburn antics as they raided the nut boxes before scrambling back down the tree into the safety of undergrowth. We left the reds to their nuts and headed for coffee and buns.
The trails surrounding the visitor centre were busy with maw, paw, the weans and an assortment of hairy dugs. It was all a bit too busy for my taste but there are other paths to take you further afield, well away from the 200m waddle zone from the centre’s car park.
I can recommend the Bluebell Cafe at David Marshall Lodge. The latte was good, maybe a little bland for my taste, but the baking was excellent. J nibbled the carrot cake and I gobbled up a slab of millionaires shortbread. The Fatdog had a Bonio…but took to pursuing passing ice cream cones much to the obvious unease of their current owners. Time to leave.
On our way back to the car we made a pilgrimage to Dounans outdoor centre, where J had been staying with her class the previous week. We visited the 15m tree climb (done in the piddling down rain) and the pole climb. I was more than impressed at her hitherto hidden lack of sanity and absence of rational thinking. These are not qualities she usually displays.
Then J dropped the bombshell…remember the “Go Ape” zip wire? Looks like I’m in for the full 3 hour assault course…I can hardly wait. 😦