Clootie Well – Munlochy
Another walk myself and Branston have been doing a lot recently is up around the Clootie Well at Munlochy through Hill O’Hirdle Wood. The Clootie Well itself is quite creepy and not actually a well at all – the water runs down the hill and onto something that looks like a small butler sink. From the area where you park you walk up between the trees and you see items of clothing and rags tied to the them some with messages written on them. The idea of a Clootie Well is that if you have an ailment you dip a piece of clothing in the well and then tie it to a tree. As the rag rots away so the ailment fades away. There are lots of local variations of the custom and Wikipedia explains what Clootie Wells are in a lot more detail.
For the Hill O’Hirdle Wood walk you go back down to where you park and follow the path. The first part is very steep and probably not recommended if it’s very wet as it can be a bit slippery. At the bottom of this part you walk over a little wooden footbridge which presents you with the option of taking the walk clockwise or anti-clockwise as it’s a circular walk. We generally go clockwise first but then walk round again going the way. The benefit of this is that you see different things and from a different perspective.
One thing you do notice is that it is so peaceful and normally we are the only ones there. As you follow left there is a small stream that you can walk with an almost sandy bank. Branston likes to paddle in this part. From here the path rises quite steeply again until you reach the higher point. There is an option to go left here but after 200 yards or so it’s a dead end and it’s always pretty muddy. It best to go right and continue along until you reach a point where you can continue straight on or take one of three paths to the left. All three eventually lead through to a country road we normally take the first path, walk along to the end and then cut across on a smaller path till it meets up with on of the others and go back to the main walk on that.
Once back to the main walk follow the path left and this then starts to gently slope back downhill until you reach the other end of the stream. This is another part of the walk that Branston likes as he can have a good drink and paddle around waist deep to cool down. From here you continue around the path until you arrive back at the wooden footbridge. At this point you either go back around the walk in the opposite direction or across the bridge and back up the steep path to the parking area.
The Clootie Well & Hill O’Hirdle Wood Walk – perfect for a peaceful summer afternoon.