Friday, 6 December 2013

Trail of destruction

Wednesday night we experienced the severe storm that hit the whole of the UK, Hurricane force winds battered the Trossachs and left a trail of destruction.  Thanks to the storm we had no electricity till dinner time on Thursday, so the schools were closed, phone networks and of course all computers were off through the day.  Our children even dug out and played Monopoly!

The highlight of their day was at 5:30 when a neighbour popped by to say that an Electricity Company had hired a burger van to give out free meals.  We have a gas hob so were planning on cooking but the girls just too excited by the ideal of free food so I took them down and got burgers and hot dogs.  Felt a bit of fraud as the electricity had just been switched back on.  It was a good atmosphere down at the burger van though with a number of school kids and parents we know down there as well.  My eldest daughter (14) and here friends declared that this was the most exciting thing that had happened in Callander for a while.  I guess youtube and facebook just doesn't beat FREE FOOD!!

Friday the weather was sunny and calm, but hovering around 0 after a cold night.  Curious about the effect of the storm, just before lunch I headed out for a 6 and half mile loop.  One mile in and passing the Primary school I had to squeeze past some barriers erected to close a section of path up to the High School called the "Creep".  In the space of 50 metres I had to clamber over and through three fallen trees that blocked the path or torn it up.

2nd Tree on the Creep

2nd tree on the Creep

Looking back down the Creep to the fallen trees. 
After the creep I headed along the A81 for 50 meters and then followed the path up to Cohallian Woods.  Straight away I had another tree to clamber over.

1st tree down on the path up to Cohallian Woods

Looking back down the trail after 2nd fallen tree
 The rest of the trail through Cohallian Woods was clear of debri but cycle of freeze thaw had left frozen puddles with curious concentric shapes, just had to stop and take a photo.

Nature can be savage, but it also can be perplexing and playful

Mid day and the sun just over the horizon...
 After descending down to the Invertrossachs road I headed over the hump back bridge and up to trail the passes under Sampson stone.  One of the signs had been blown off it's mounts.

Another Sign of storm damage!
A couple of miles further on and on the return leg along the cycle path back to the Callander Meadows park rangers were out clearing trees.  Their chain saws were the only ones that I could here echoing around the valley.

Park rangers clearing trees

Working picking up Chistmas Trees sign
 As I neared the Meadows a road in the sky signed that an Airforce Hercules Transport plane was practising low level flying.  Shortly after a second fly through.

First of two Hercules out on training flights
 As I left the path I can to skip over one last tree.

Looking back down the path, an old Railway line, one last tree ended it's life.
The final mile and half of my run took me through the back streets of Callander, thankfully no more signs of damage around the housing.  Looking up the Callander Crags that sits above Callander looks to be a different story though with a number of trees at the cliff edge had been blown down and now dangled sadly over the crags.

Seeing once majestic blown down leaves me with mixed emotions, it's sad to see the damage to the tree and any wildlife that would have made it's home there.  After the destructions comes new life as the fallen trees open up the ground to allow other plants and trees to grow.  Fallen wood also makes great homes for fungus and the invertebrates that will be part of the food chain for the birds, foxes and pine martin.  I say pine martin, I've yet to see one locally but there are known to be in the Queen Elizabeth Forest.

This run was my forth this week, all easy and modest length, but already my HR/pace figures are showing improvements.  There are a few minor aches an pains after a month largely off, but generally seem to be holding up well.  The West Highland Way Race entries have now closed and it's over subscribed so there will be a ballot, I haven't heard yet, so I don't know whether this weeks training is part of a larger campaign or not.  Fingers crossed that I make it in.

1 comment:

  1. A couple of miles further on and on the return leg along the cycle path back to the Callander Meadows park rangers were out clearing trees. Their chain saws were the only ones that I could here echoing around the valley. Ultra Runner, Trail Runner