After running another of my Pentland walks for Mountain Training Association members, based on the Lothian and Borders GeoConservation leaflet Pentland Rocks!, I got some interested parties for a trip to the Ochils on a day that suited some people who couldn’t come to the Pentlands trip.The day started out in Bridge of Allan at Wolf’s Hole Quarry, which I had meant to visit after being asked questions about the quarry by Andy Cloquet at another geological event in Holyrood Park that I ran. A couple of recces and a bit of research in the recent Excursion Guide for Stirling and Perthshire, convinced me it was a good place to start. The party meet up and examined the Devonian sandstones, dusted with much more recent chalk deposits by the passage of climbers, and the overlying rocks that are a chaotic ‘puddingstone’ of fragments of rocks from the volcanic activity that built the Ochils [volcaniclastics].
From Wolf’s Hole we took a wander round the Mine Woods, named for the mining activity that has left evidence in the subtle forms of pits and spoil heaps, as well as the much more obvious horizontal tunnels [adits]. Working around the fringes of an underground complex also gave us the chance to consider the risks of such terrain when leading parties.
From here the party moved on to the University of Stirling campus. The aim was to try to gain the slopes of Dumyat but we didn’t quite make it. However, by changing course, we were able to get a spectacular view over to the Abbey Craig where the Wallace Monument rise as though to challenge the dominance of Stirling Castle.
During this stop, the three aspiring MLs were able to practice giving a short presentation on an aspect of mountaincraft in preparation for assessment.
We descended back to the campus and were able to examine the impressive exposures of volcaniclastics that can be found down in the botanic gardens area of the University campus.