We drove north from Newmilns to Loch Lomond. The “bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond” were cold and windy – but the view over Ben Lomond was clear and we could see snow. The route up to the shore displayed warnings, “Marchers on the Road” which roused our curiosity. We envisaged being faced with election protestors waving banners about the SNP and Labour and the dire outcome for Scotland if Westminster ended up in Tory hands. No! We found a field camp set up with hot food to fuel a couple of hundred cadets who were half way through a 25 mile hike, training for an eventual 100 mile four-day hike over in Holland. We saw two poor lasses with bad limps and wondered how they were going to get through the second half. Was it blisters? Or strain? Was there a kindly physiotherapist on hand to give them a quick massage or do cadets have to “grin and bear it”? An interesting thought: footballers seem to get instant treatment when injured but cadets are expected to “man up” and get on with it. I know that there is no respite for a serving soldier but does the training regime need to be quite so brutal?
Before we left Loch Lomond we stared hard at the water, looking for Nessie. (Click here to learn more.) It was easy to see how someone’s imagination could work overtime: a giant eel emerging from the mists of steam could be mistaken for the head and neck of a submerged monster – especially if it were on the far side of the loch. Today the wind was whipping up the surface of loch Lomond into little waves that splashed against the shore – but nothing broke the surface of the water. After cheering more marchers on their way, we were glad to return to the warmth of our car,