10.12 miles 5h 2 m 178m ascent
Big Water of Fleet Viaduct-Skerrow Halt
The drive to the viaduct was a little slower than expected because we came to a “temporary obstruction, 15 minute delay” sign. I turned off the ignition, put on the brake and sorted out my rucksack. When I looked up the cars in front of me had gone. I can’t have been there too long, or the drivers behind were very patient because there was no tooting before I drove on.
This was Mabel’s first big walk. I wondered if I would be carrying her on the way back but she coped admirably.
This is a straightforward walk along the route of the the old railway except where it would have crossed its viaducts. The Big Water of Fleet viaduct is deemed unsafe and closed to the public. Some folk were walking along it, but we walked up to the bridge at Cullendoch and then back to the old railway, now a forestry track. The Little Water of Fleet viaduct is long gone.
The railway is as straight as a Roman road and cuts straight through rocky obstructions. There has been extensive felling so the views have changed, with Cairnsmore of Fleet and its shoulders Meikle Mulltaggart and Craigronald dominating the horizon.
The Little Water of Fleet flows under the track and one could easily miss it if you weren’t looking. I only realised we had crossed over when we came to the track junction that is 100m past it. I am certain there was a signpost “Mossdale footpath” when I was last at this junction but there is no sign now.
We decided to carry on along the old railway, which is now a cycle/footpath rather than a forestry track. Christy had found a huge stick to carry along but gradually gnawed it down to a twig and lost it in a muddy waterway. He could only be tempted away when I found him another stick. Mabel, despite her diminutive size, kept up, tramped through any water she could find and showed no sign of running out of steam.
Loch Skerrow was deep blue in the sunshine. I had intended to bring binoculars to check Craigherron Island if I came here again, but I hadn’t, so I still don’t know if its trees are rowans.
We had lunch on the old railway platform, then picked up our bags and headed back the way we had come.