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4 Laws, 2 Plane Crashes, Nae Flags, Nae Camera

4 Laws, 2 Plane Crashes, Nae Flags, Nae Camera

Postby WeeHills » Sat May 01, 2021 11:45 am

Date walked: 28/04/2021

Time taken: 4.5 hours

Distance: 13 km

Ascent: 400m

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Restrictions eased and priority number one, the annual pilgrimage to Ben Lomond, done and dusted I turn my attentions to priority number two, a much delayed trip to, um, Largs. Not perhaps top of most people's hit list but at an irritating 5.5 miles over the boundary it's been doing my head in all winter, so near yet so tantalisingly out of reach. Wednesday's forecast looks good, 5-10% chance of rain. I set off. It starts raining before I'm out of the Port. I tiptoe through the school run traffic in Greenock, alternately cursing my stupidity at kind of forgetting schools were a thing, our own weans being thankfully grown (I doubt any of us would have survived homeschooling), and giving thanks that slow progress will give the rain a chance to move through. It gets heavier. It chucks it down all the way to Largs. I'm starting to think I should have stopped home and watched the snooker. But, as I turn up Haylie Brae it eases and by the time I park up at the windfarm it has stopped. There's no one else here.

First target is Irish Law. I take my usual 'straight up over the Knockside Hills' approach. It does involve a slightly longer walk along the dreadful A760 than the track from Blairpark Farm, but is drier and has the advantage of taking in the Knocksides with their ludicrously oversize cairns. I circumnavigate the cairns then pick a sheltered spot on a minor top for a first coffee stop. Time for a wee snap, out comes the phone and........nothing, it's completely dead, I've neglected to charge it, oops. My better half will go ballistic when he finds out I've disappeared off without so much as a workable mobile. I consider not telling him on a 'whit he disnae know willnae hurt him' basis (naturally I blabbed the second I walked in the door) and ruefully accept there will be no photos today. Ah well, it's a bit overcast anyway, though the clouds are starting to clear over Arran, and frankly I'm the world's worst photographer so nothing of value has been lost. I continue on to Irish Law and by the time I reach the trig the sun is shining, Arran is cloud free and Ben Lomond and the Arrochars are keeking out beyond the local hills. Lovely.

Next up is a wander down to the site of the 1948 Viking plane crash between Irish Law and Little Irish Law, from which the four crew and 16 passengers all luckily walked away. I pause to read some of the decades worth of graffiti and am, as always when on this spot, reminded of this rather charming photo of pupils from Ardrossan Academy visiting the site at the time, with their nonchalant disregard for sensible shoes and appropriate clothing.


Now I turn eastward. Having been reminded how much my delicate tootsies loathe hard rocky paths last week it is good to be back on the soft, boggy ground of Clyde Muirshiel. Particularly as recent dry weather has rendered it rather more soft and rather less boggy. I make what seems like record time across the, in normal circumstances, stupidly squelchy Black Law Moss and am soon atop another hill with a ridiculously large cairn. Perhaps these wee hills have an inferiority complex. Black Law's cairn usually has a gargantuan St Andrews Cross flying proudly above it but it seems to have fallen foul of the winter winds and is lying forlornly on the ground. The views are less pleasing here than from Irish Law and the cairn, in my view, somewhat of an eyesore with its wire wrappings, but being straight up and down it does offer shelter from the wind no matter the direction so I settle down for more coffee and some dinner. Time to decide whether to head back to the car or on to Slaty Law. Ach, who am I kidding, the going's too good and the weather too nice not to go on.

A quick negotiation around the peat hags to the north of Black Law and I'm striking out to the north west over wee Windy Rise, at times striding purposefully along clear quad bike tracks until they seemingly vanish into the ether leaving me wading through heather, before reappearing as if by magic 50 or 100 m further along. Once again the prolonged dry spell has made the going easy and I soon pick up the fence line and the wee pull up to Slaty Law. Unlike its southern neighbours Slaty Law is secure in its unlovedness. No giant cairn here, or indeed any cairn at all, it is marked only by perpendicular fence lines. I pause briefly to take in the views before turning through 90 degrees and heading the short distance to Box Law.

It takes me a mere ten minutes. Not once do I have to deviate from the fence line to navigate around knee deep water. This is unheard of! I stop for a while on wee round Box Law. This is an old favourite, one of many hills round Clyde Muirshiel that aren't hard to reach, enjoy fine outlooks, yet seemingly no one ever visits. The sun is warm, the breeze gentle, the views down over Arran fine. I have plenty of time so decide to swing by the site of another plane crash before heading homewards.

The Devon VP969, which was the personal aircraft of Air Marshall Sir Richard Jordan, crashed on the shoulder of Box Law in 1958. Once again the pilot and navigator fortunately survived. It is the most intact of any of the many crashes around these hills and can be seen clearly from Irish Law, but from Box Law itself is invisible, if not hard to navigate to. Unlike the Viking remains there is little graffiti on this one. Few people venture here. I stop for a final coffee and relax in the sun a while before heading back towards the fence line which I follow down Gogo Water along an increasingly obvious path to the wee hydro scheme where I pick up the track back to Blairpark.

I haven't seen a single, solitary soul all day. Bliss.
Posts: 17
Joined: Jan 7, 2021

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