The Ochils are a range of hills running along north of the river Forth, from Stirling eastwards towards Fife. They are part of a Devonian lava extrusion, which has formed a steep escarpment to the South due to the Ochil Fault. The plateau is undulating, and 721m at the highest point, and the south face is cut with steep ravines.
Along the base of the southern escarpment, are the "Hillfoots" a series of towns and villages which were based on mill industries using the steep streams. The Hillfoots are Menstrie, Alva, Tillicoultry, Dollar and our own village of Muckhart.
So that's what the Ochils are. The Ochils Landscape Partnership aims to increase access to this environment, provide opportunities for community involvement, restore parts of built heritage, and tell the story of the area's cultural, social and industrial heritage. It also aims to enhance the lives of people living in the Hillfoots, and increase visitors to the area.
One of their biggest projects is the Ochils Festival, taking place for the month of June. There are loads of FREE events to celebrate the landscape, heritage and people of the area, from foraging, musical instrument making, cemetery walks, woodcarving, bushcraft, pond-dipping, archaeology and much more. The culmination of the month was the Ochils Fest, which happened this Saturday. Again, it was FREE! There were jacobite re-enactors, a puppet show, inflatables, leather work (where you could make a leather pendant with your Norse initials stamped), tree cookies (where you could paint a wooden disk to make another pendant), bird box building, and of course, the burger stall.
We had a great time!
What community events do you love in your area?
I thought I'd also add something here about plans for the Summer holiday, since in Scotland that's starting at the end of this week. Here's our list of "Stuff to do" so far:
Week 1- go to the Almond Valley Farm Park; visit my friend Izzy in Pittenweem (this will also involve a walk by the sea, since it's the far corner of Fife); play with ice; just play in the garden a lot;
Week 2 - Glasgow Science Centre; drive down to Herefordshire; visit schools and choose a school / village combination that we like;
Week 3 - Herefordshire - apply for place in school of choice; look at houses to rent and houses to buy; have a fun day for C's 5th birthday;
Week 4 - North Wales - holiday, days on the beach, nice walks, visit with Nana and Grandad, go on steam trains;
Week 5 - (Have we sold the house yet?) Auntie Janet staying with us for the Commonwealth Games, Auntie Jo and family camping in vicinity (also for Commonwealth Games); fun day at park with cousin; Isobel vaccinations(!); day at Safari Park; drive to North Yorkshire for annual youth hostel trip with my sisters, my mum and all the children;
plus regular swimming trips, walking the dog, and me going absolutely mental trying to keep the house pristine for viewings until it's sold!
Week 6, 7, 8, 9 - no plans yet, but we'll be moving house at some point in here, and buying school supplies and uniform, and....