The cache is located at one of the former Aberfoyle Slate Quarries. The quarries date mainly to the 18th to 19th centuries. By the end of the 1800s the four quarries to the north west of Aberfoyle together comprised Scotland's third largest source of slates, with 1.4 million being produced each year. There is evidence of extensive workings with waste tips. The quarry ceased production in 1954.
The remains of the horse-drawn narrow gauge tramway which was used to transport slate from the quarry are still visible. Only a short stretch of rail survives in situ at the quarry end. There is an incline plane towards the south end. The line has been cut by three small quarries at the north end and is being breached by water exiting from a pond area towards the middle section. Some sections are embanked. Slate was used in its construction.
The cache is located just off the main track to the quarry by the indistinct path along the old tramway, which leads back to Aberfoyle.
From the parking there is an easy walk up the track up towards the quarry which is unmistakeable. A short distance up the hill on your left you will see what looks like bird boxes but without the hole in the front, fixed to a tree. These are in fact bat boxes and should not be disturbed, especially when the bats are hibernating from November to April. However you may find your walk disturbed by the bats flying close by you!!!
Aberfoyle Bat Reserve is an old tunnel in the slate mine. It is gated with a sign at the entrance advising on avoiding disturbance to hibernating bats, which are protected by law. The reserve is managed by the Central Scotland Bat group. A number of different species of bat are found here.
Brown Long-eared bats are medium sized bats. Their ears are nearly as long as the body, which it uses to listen for and pinpoint insects or moths vibrating their wings before pouncing on them. In silhouette against a moonlit night sky you may even spot its ears. The Pipistrelle is Britain's smallest bat and our most common species. If you see small bats with a flittering, swooping and diving flight, around trees and high over water, these are most likely to be a Pipistrelle.
A slightly larger bat flying in longer lines low across and even touching the water will be the Daubenton’s bat. If you catch this bat in torchlight you may spot its very white underside. Daubenton's old name was ‘water bat’ because it likes to drink frequently.
Natterer's bat (Myotis nattereri) is a medium-sized species. The ears are narrow and fairly long. Its rather pinkish limbs give rise to its old name of 'red-armed' bat.
Bats are the only mammal that can truly 'fly’. Bats feed at night. Most locate their food and navigate by uttering a continuous series of ultrasonic cries that return as echoes when the cries hit solid objects. In the daytime they seek shelter in a wide variety of places: caves, mines, buildings, rock crevices, under tree bark and amid foliage. When resting and hibernating, bats can lower their body temperature to nearly match the environment and thus lower their metabolism and conserve energy.
The Trossachs area is rich in supernatural encounters. Ghosts, witches, folklore, legends, strange mysteries and secrets.
The quarries can be an eerily quiet and strangely beautiful place during the day and very spooky at night when looking for bats! Visit this site on a dark Autumn night and a different picture emerges: the slate piles dominate the skyline above slow-moving mists, bats flicker in and out of the shadows as the wind whistles through the trees.
One story that locals have told me was that back in November 1838 a well kent local miner Alex McLean was found in strange circumstances barely conscious at the entrance to the tunnel with what appeared to be a broken back. The weather that day was too bad to get a doctor to him before he died a lingering death. In those days First aid was crude and medical assistance often distant
Alex’s spirit is supposed to wander among the slate piles. Only seen around this time of year he wails at any witness before he quickly disappears once seen.
Visitors have reported feeling something brush past them. Someone else described once seeing the face of an old man, with sunken eyes and long dark hair.
Locals now shun the place after nightfall.
Do I believe this??? Not really…… but when I was first checking out the cache site it was dusk and as I was walking back down the track watching a couple of bats ‘buzzing’ me, I heard an eerie and unnatural noise behind me. Did I stop and investigate???
The Tunnel is located further up into the main quarry on the left at the bottom of the main slope.
The cache is an ammo box containing some Halloween goodies. It is a straightforward find. The cache is recommended for children and adults alike.
The Forestry Commision is using the old quarry spoil to supply materials for infill/roadbuilding. During working hours there may be trucks working in the quarry itself and going up the access track. Please do not go into the main quarry because of this and obey any forestry restrictions. There are clear notices showing Keep Out Quarry. Please respect this as it is a working site.
The cache can be accessed from the forest track without going into the quarry.
There are no problems outwith working hours.
* Congratulations to Snaglepuss for FTF *