Spooky Woods: the Seventh Stane

5.8 miles 2h 40m ascent 350m

Glentress Forest

There are 7 stanes and, until today, I had visited only six: The Ghost Stane, The Heart Cleft Stane, The Gem Stane, The Giant Axe Head, The Talking Head Stane and the Border Stane. It was time to plod up to the Meteorite Stane and complete the set. So on a nice sunny day myself and the dogs set out for Glentress, a pretty drive marred somewhat by finding the B712 closed at Drumelzier (just for the one day!).

I parked at Glentress by the wee car park at GoApe (closed). It’s a pay and display and I only had enough change for a three hour stay being a pound short for the longer option.

It was an uneventful walk on quiet forestry tracks to the meteorite stane, but uphill all the way. The forest sometimes gave us shade and sometimes gave us sunshine and bugles seemed to be the flower of the day. The ground was dry but there was the odd puddle to keep the dogs happy. Having the dogs with me I didn’t want to collide with a mountain-biker so thought it best to stay on the forestry rides rather than the narrower tracks through the woods themselves. But as it was we only saw one cyclist on the way up and she was on another track.

Our way was the Spooky Wood avoidance route but there must have been something in the woods on this last stretch. Mabel was very keen to investigate and would have been away if not on a lead. She made up for her lack of freedom in other ways, though. If there had been other people about they might have wondered why that guy kept shouting “Don’t roll in poo!”

The Meteorite Stane sits beside the track atop a small bank and would easily be missed if you weren’t looking for it.

Of all the 7stanes, this one looks least sculpted. It could easily be mistaken for a forest erratic but is Ledmore Marble. It certainly isn’t an actual meteorite, though I can’t say I would be able to tell the difference. But….

If you look closely you will find an inscription, in Klingon, no less:

Vu’Ha’mo’nganpu’u"a’vaD yuQvam DoQ tlhIngan 
wo’Mab mub ‘oH naghvam’e’
tugh mapaw, Sanna’llj wlwuqta’

In English:

Due to bad management by its current inhabitants, the Klingon Empire claims the right to take this planet for the benefit of the greater universe. This rock is an official legally binding claim marker. We will be arriving soon, your future is assured.

I had planned to take another path back but it was obviously a MTB track rather than a walking route so I headed back the way we had come. At least it would all be downhill.

But on the way I noticed a small track I hadn’t noticed before, and a tempting sign. The top of Spooky wood was only 0.9km away. How could I resist?

It was a steep track. If it had been in a city centre it would have replaced by steps. I had just been thinking that the woods didn’t seem particularly SPOOKY when I heard a loud, unmistakeably female, sigh from within the forest, and very close. But I could see no-one and the dogs didn’t break step.

I had just begun to think, “well, that was weird” when I glimpsed a figure in the trees. The track actually had a hairpin bend and the figure was just ahead us. I relaxed as I saw her more clearly, standing beside her bike. I’ve never heard of ghosts wearing cycling helmets and being friendly to spaniels. Mind you, Mabel kept her distance.

The top of Spooky Woods is only a a few metres from the top of Caresman Hill (not really a hill). There must once have been unofficial cycle routes to the top but fallen trees have been laid to dissuade riders. They were easy enough for us to walk by though.

I had my sandwiches at the top of Spooky wood.

We saw a few more riders on the way back down, and even a couple of cars but it was mostly quiet walking in the forest. Christy wanted to explore the many tracks we passed but we stuck to the main forestry tracks until we reached some paths for walkers closer to the car parks. There are a couple of ponds so Christy had a chance to do some ‘kerplunking’.

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