2024-03-22 56 -4

From Geohashing
Fri 22 Mar 2024 in 56,-4:
56.0428195, -4.5776187
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Between fields near the Balloch Castle Country Park.




This was supposed to be my last day of university for the academic year, so I had previously cleared my schedule from volunteering. However, the lecture on that day was cancelled, making the 21st my last day. This makes my schedule empty for the day until the early evening, and I'll probably aim to reach the point at around 3pm. I'll drive up and park in the same place as 2023-10-20 56 -4 then walk the rest of the distance, mostly along the same route as the previous expedition in this area.



Ohhh, this is a long one. You've been warned.

I left the house at 1:50pm. It was a little later than I had planned, but I still had enough time to do everything I had wanted to do. It rained quite heavily on the drive down, but at around 2:20pm as I parked in the car park, the rain had stopped, and I began my walk to the point. As mentioned before, most of this walk would be the same as my previous expedition on 2023-10-20 56 -4, so I knew where I would be going for the majority of the journey.

The area hadn't changed much since I'd last been there, but I remembered my disappointment in not taking many pictures, especially of the castle itself. Unfortunately, the castle hasn't been open to the public for at least a decade, and the exterior is surrounded by fencing with the windows boarded up, but the building still has a nice appearance.

I had forgotten how long the walk was, and it definitely felt longer since Daniel wasn't here this time. I'd asked him if he would like to revisit the area, but he wasn't up for it today, so it was a solo expedition. I didn't take photos of much throughout the park itself, but it's still a decent portion of the journey to where I leave the paths and enter the fields, about 50%. I passed more people this time around, which was unusual because it was during normal working hours, but it may have been due to better weather conditions. Speaking of which, the visibility was good when I reached the approximate halfway point, and I took a pretty decent photo of Ben Lomond from the distance. For those who don't know, Ben Lomond - or Beinn Laomainn, literally 'Beacon Mountain' - is Scotland's most popular mountain, but it does not have the highest peak (that title falls to Ben Nevis/Beinn Nibheis, which is also the highest in the entirety of the British Isles).

I passed by the point at which Daniel and I deviated from the path on our previous expedition and took a photo as I had not done so at the time. Winter has come and gone since then, and as such the woods look a lot clearer than at the time, but it's still a decent representation of what it was like 5 months ago. I continued only a little further before reaching the gate I planned to climb over. There were a lot of sheep in this field. I kept my distance opting to take a curved route to the exit gate, not because the sheep seemed aggressive, but because they seemed a little nervous at my presence. I took a photo of my audience, but the distance makes them all look grainy, so I've not added it here.

Following a gravel(?) path I was unaware existed on the other side of the field, I made my way through the next wooded section. I had been slightly worried about this part when researching my route as it seemed as though I would be travelling through the woods with no assistance, so this path was very useful to me. I ended up having to go through yet another field with even more sheep, but these didn't care about me being with them. This was a big, empty field - lucky sheep - and after walking for about 5 or so minutes I reached the point where I needed to turn out of the field and into the woods. What a coincidence - there's a gate right there! That's very convenient. Not so convenient: there's a stream running past almost directly after it which I definitely have to cross over. I took a photo of this stream and found the best way over - just one small step - before beginning my walk downhill.

Now, the point itself was to my left, which had a barbed wire fence and no visible gate. No stress, I'll just walk down the fence until I find the gate, there's got to be one somewhere, right? Besides, if I walk down, don't find anything, and have to turn back, at least I'll get to go down to the loch. Well, I reached the bottom of the hill; no gate. I did get to rest near the water for a bit though (video below, quite a lot of wind noise). But it wasn't all bad, I found a gap in the fence where it changed to a different plot of land. Either this is from previous people making their way through, animals making their way through, or nature moving things about. Or, a poorly designed fence. Whatever it is, it's access, and I'll take it.

I started walking back uphill towards the point. It seems obvious, but walking downhill on a flat field is far easier than walking the same distance uphill in a wooded area. I passed by some (I think) wild primrose on the way there, which I thought looked quite nice, so I took a photo of that. Eventually, after navigating across several fallen trees, I reached the point, about 75 minutes after setting off (3:35pm). I mistakenly thought it would take 45 minutes in one direction, but the extra 30 minutes wasn't an issue. I took my Bereal, as well as a panorama, and one final photo of the geohash point itself.

Now for the journey back. I knew there wasn't a gate ahead, but I didn't turn back the way I came.

Why not?

Well, there has to be some sort of gate into this area, so it must be on the other side, right? Right? More on that later. Slight issue though, the stream from before runs through this section as well, and it's wider than earlier. In fact, there was a nice little waterfall section which I've uploaded a photo of. I did the same thing as last time; I found the narrowest point and jumped across. Not as successfully, my feet got wet, but it was good enough, I was across!

I started looking for a gate. I couldn't see one to my right, so I began walking along the fence to my left. I reached the same fence that I started at - remember that conveniently placed gate - and yet, no gate on this side of the fence. Seriously? No gate at all? Well, I wasn't turning back. I'll have to find another way.

What did you do?

I'm glad you asked! If you check the photo I uploaded of the "very convenient" gate, you'll see that the corner post has slanted supports which can definitely be used to climb over the barbed wire. So I did that. And I was free. Time to head back through the field again.

You'll never guess what happened next. Actually, you probably will. First, it started raining. It had been on and off for the entire expedition so far, but this was relatively heavy compared to that. That's not the biggest issue though. I was more upset about something else entirely, something I must admit has never before upset me in my life; I saw a gate. I saw a gate to the area with the point. A gate I had already walked past on my way there. The entire walk downhill, then back uphill, then over the barbed fence was completely unnecessary. Was it a waste of time? No, actually, because of the loch thing! Still, mildly annoyed by that.

Disappointed by my lack of gate-spotting and being rained on, I crossed back through the field - sheep still unbothered by my existence - and started walking back up the gravel path. Earlier when I first found this path, I noticed another grassy path leading to it from the paved road. This would mean I wouldn't have to cross back over the field with the nervous sheep on my way back - a victory for both me and the sheep, probably. This path actually led me directly onto a driveway, but I just walked up the driveway onto the main road. I say "main road", it's a private road. Now, this doesn't mean "no public access", it's a bit more confusing than that. I am 99.9% sure that what it actually means is "No public vehicles can go down this road unless you've arranged otherwise beforehand. Pedestrians? By all means!"

I followed this "main road" back to the path leading back to the Balloch Castle Country Park, which I then walked through again, reaching the car at 4:40pm. 2 hours and 20 minutes of walking? Not too bad! I went to visit my grandad as I had planned before leaving - just a short visit to say hello - and then left to drive home in time to go out for dinner. As I left my grandad's house, I noticed a rainbow, which wasn't overly surprising after the on-and-off nature of the rain throughout the day. The drive home didn't take too long, I got there at around 5:30pm, making the expedition 3 hours and 40 minutes total. I enjoyed revisiting the area of my first successful drag-along and, if the pattern of points in that general area continues, I'll end up visiting again in August!



KerrMcF earned the Land geohash achievement
by reaching the (56, -4) geohash on 2024-03-22.

Both this point and 2023-10-20 56 -4 were in the same wood and the land seems to be owned by the same person, making both points on the same "site":

KerrMcF earned the Déjà Vu Geohash Achievement
by reaching the (56, -4) geohash on 2024-03-22, and previously on 2023-10-20.


Council Area Postcode NUTS Centicule New Achievements
West Dunbartonshire G(83) UKM81 05 Déjà Vu geohash

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