Author: Steve Gillies

Ok, I did think it was a mad idea but I’m very glad that we climbed Loudoun Hill at sunset last night. We left Darvel about 9:30pm and parked at the Spirit of Scotland Statue making sure that no valuables were visible given the history of opportunistic thieving in the area.

As we set of there was one lonely hill runner disappearing in the distance, the sheep were flocking together amid a cacophony of bleating and the crows were noisily circling to settle at their nesting site on the west side of the hill.

We passed the statue, crossed the bridge (had a quick look for trolls) and circled around to the old, derelict farm buildings where more and sometimes antagonistic looking sheep stood their ground. Was this to be a stand-off to the death? I picked up a stick, shook it at them and, to everyone’s surprise, they parted like the biblical sea. Me Tarzan, king of the jungle.

The sun was setting fast and we worried that we had mis-timed the whole visit. However, as we started to climb through the trees the views that awaited were simply jaw dropping. Dark green shadows dappled the foreground with grazing sheep and a blue, red, orange horizon with Arran’s black silhouette in the distance. To the north an army of windmills looked sad and stood unmoving as this was one of those rare nights where it was all still, no wind, no noise, no rain. A buzzard gently circled overhead in search, I assume, for some late-night snack.

At the summit we settled on some surprisingly comfortable rocks and just enjoyed the moments as the sun slowly settled and twilight emerged. I wish my photography skills were better, but I snapped a few shots and launched a live video on social media. I hope some of them do some justice to the wonderful scene west over Darvel, down the valley and to the sea and islands beyond.

The route back was in near dark and we managed it through slipping, stumbling, sliding and just giggling at our inelegant efforts. The sheep looked with disdain and wondered how human beings, such clumsy creatures, had ever managed to become top dog. Back to the car, short drive home and a quick shower to wash off the muck.

Our trip up Loudoun Hill in the dead of night was a buzz. Something to remember and testimony to the wonderful countryside we are lucky enough to live in. If you ever feel the urge just do it.

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