The Great Innerdouny Agate Hunt

A few days prior our uncomfortable morning on King’s Seat above Dollar, The Fatdog and I had had a trifle more success on a much lesser bump on the landscape – Innerdouny Hill.  This relatively insignificant wee hill lies to the east of the Yetts o’ Muckhart to Dunning road.

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Last week the unusually cheerful for January weather had decided, in the main, to stay put over the Central Belt.  At this point spirits were running high at The Fatdog Broadcasting Corporation … this would be our 3rd hill in 8 days.  I do rather suggest they are hill walks, don’t I – but in reality these are no more than extended dog walks on a slight incline.  We had still to tackle anything remotely boggy or steep.

The Fatdog had on her new scarf…although she did not appear particularly pleased about being seen wearing it in public.  I sensed disapproval in those big white shiny teeth.  As a matter of record it vanished, in mysterious circumstances, at the start of our next walk!

While The Fatdog was sprightly and festive (or possibly Italian)…

…my legs were positively rebellious.  Tuesday night’s circuit training was having repercussions.  It was a nuisance but the idea was to try and press on regardless and see if they would ease up as the muscles warmed.  In any event this became a moot point as I, my legs now at their truculent worst, caught the glint of something translucent embedded in the surface of the forestry road.   I’ve always been attracted to bright, shiny objects…a throwback to when we in Denny first encountered missionaries (circa 1960), I believe.

“Naw….couldn’t be?  This is the Ochils though”

It was a 2″ lump of agate; a semi-precious gemstone used in jewellery making and ornaments.   It was a poor, shattered, specimen but had not bad colour and pattern.  I used to hunt these brightly banded nodules all over Scotland.  Found in lavas of the Old Red Sandstone on the mainland and in the much later Tertiary lavas on the island of Mull these used to be much sought after by collectors.  J still has nightmares of being dragged along a shore of huge black rocks below the bleak basalt columns of the south coast of Mull as I chased after the scarce brown whorled agate  found only towards Carsaig arches.

All thoughts of achingly tight leg muscles were forgotten as I began to scour the ground in front of me, moving in a zig-zag pattern up the forestry road.  The Fatdog was stunned into immobility, bafflement clear in her open-jawed expression.  The ascent slowed to snail’s pace…but I didn’t notice the aching legs anymore.

It didn’t take long before I could sense a stare of canine disapproval burning into the back of my head as I rummaged in the dirt of the track, prising yet another tiny chip of agate free of its gritty bed.  There were a number of long growly sighs before the complaining eventually started proper.

Oh well, there was always time for a quick look on the way back.   The Fatdog had already guessed that this might be the case…

Here’s a link to Flickr where you can see the full gallery of photos.