Have to stay close to base this weekend, so a quick spin through the Trossachs was perfect. It’s beautiful this time of year and Holly loves Callandar for some reason, but starts girning every time we go near Aberfoyle for another reason. Aberfoyle holds a current fascination for me as I’m reading Jules Verne’s 19thCentury novel set in the mines underneath it (?!), I’ll write that up once I’ve finished it, it’s magic.
We left Callander low on fuel, but I knew the garage in Aberfoyle would still be open, so we passed through the uplifting colour chart of autumn as the road wound past lochs and villages, under the thinning canopy of fragile leaves and over the sun splashed heights of the Dukes Pass.
Of course, the garage in Aberfoyle had closed three weeks ago and I’d missed the memo.
We pulled up at the visitor centre, the low fuel light had been on for a while now, a good while. The girls in there were absolute gems, they phoned all the garages close by, and then some a little farther out. No answer from any, they all looked closed. Buchlyvie rang out, Arnprior was shut, totally closed in fact, Balfron-no reply, Kippen-no reply. Callander was open and about 12 miles from where I stood to their pumps.
As I pulled away with gritted teeth, one of the lassies ran after us to say that she had some petrol in a can in her boot. I could have hugged her, and if it had been diesel in her can I would have kissed her.
We made Callander’s Esso oasis, after putting £71 in the tank I was greeted by a sign on the door saying that due to a change in ownership the garage would be having all sorts of closures from next week. Christ on a bike.
One point that comes up in arguments about putting something back into the communities around where we go outdoors is where you buy your supplies and fuel, stock up before you leave home or buy when you get there. I’ve always maintained a good balance I think, but I’m now thoroughly pissed off with repeatedly failing to get anything unless it’s peak hours in the summer.
It’s ridiculous, it’s like they’re trying sneak another round of Highland Clearances under the wire. As money stays in wallets longer in the immediate future, if this bloody country doesn’t pick its game up we’ll sink without a trace.
Stock up before you leave home, it’s a wasteland out there, with only brave souls like the Aberfoyle girls fighting for justice.