Sunday, 10 June 2012

Family afternoon - Chip Hike!

Waggy-tailed-one enjoys a swim
Not far from where I live you can find the ingredients for a very agreeable family afternoon - a train, a riverside walk, and fish and chips at the end.  
If you're in Central Scotland... let me introduce you to The Chip Hike!  Most Scouts in Stirling and Trossachs District have undertaken the Chip Hike at some point, but with Explorer Scouts (aged 14-18) we prefer to do it in the winter when it's dark and possibly stormy or snowy, adding extra elements of challenge.  For a not-quite-three-year-old the four mile walk is far enough, and the chips at the end are definitely well deserved.
  1. Park your car in Bridge of Allan at the train station.
  2. Catch the next available train to Dunblane - next stop along.  A return is £2.50 but you only need a single.  Dogs are allowed on the train for free, as are children.  Trains are at least two an hour.
  3. From the train station walk up to the main road running through Dunblane, cross over and walk to the North.  Just after a bus stop there's a footpath disappearing up into the hedgerow.  
  4. Follow the footpath, it runs alongside the golf course for a while, before heading down between stone walls (a bit muddy, or in winter take a rope as this becomes an ice-slide!) towards the river.  The footpath follows the Allan Water all the way to Bridge of Allan.
  5. At Bridge of Allan turn left along the main road and the first business you get to is the Allan Water Chip Shop.  Buy your fish supper and head back to the river bank to enjoy it.  
  6. the view while enjoying your chips
  7. From here it's a short walk along the main road to the train station and your car.
A small hint though - if doing this walk in the evening, particularly outside the summer season, check the opening times of the chip shop in Bridge of Allan - we've got there to find them closed in the past, which can be very disappointing!  You can always do the walk the other way around, as there's a chip shop just next to the train station in Dunblane too which has later opening hours.

the target at the end of the walk
it's hungry work being carried in the back-pack

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