Monday, 6 August 2012

Kinlochleven & Loch Tay

We decided to head up to see Callum at Blackwater Hostel in Kinlochleven at the weekend and possibly get a few mountains climbed....however, the best laid is normal with me...go off on a tangent.

So, on Friday, we went  & picked up 3 chickens we were going to deliver up to Cathy at Lochearnhead Post far so good.  However, after only 5 minutes on the road, we realised that chickens in the great outdoors, and chickens in a car are a whole new ballgame as our sense of smell was assaulted by the copious amount of poo that these things were squirting out. It's not as if my driving is 'that bad'.

Luckily, the sun was shining, so we were able to open all the windows and minimise the discomfort.

We arrived at noon on the 'chicken run', and deposited the ladies into their new home, and Lionel, the resident cockerel look extremely happy with this latest addition to his depleted harem, as 2 of the 3 hens had been 'eaten' by a rogue dog... Oops
Howard, the duck though was non too impressed with the new family members.

Chicks temp home...the greenhouse

As the weather, up to this point was still pleasant, it was decided to get out the canoe, and head through to Killin and have a paddle in Loch Tay...which was fun until the capsize moment. Luckily the water was very warm, so it could have been worse. We decided to head back as we could see storm clouds approaching, and sure enough, the rain started 10 minutes into the trip back to Lochearnhead.

Then, after a quick dry off, we headed north again and got into Kinlochleven early evening. All the Hobbit houses were booked out, but luckily, we had brought the tent, so got pitched up...and headed to the Bothan Bar.   This decision was crucial in allowing me and Blaze to sleep through the ensuing downpour that came through the night. Blaze was happy that he had a steady supply of drinking water, whereas I was less than happy as it meant the tent was leaking...badly...

So, wet and stiff, we had coffee....lots and lots of hot coffee, and replanned the day. I had hoped to go climb a few mountains in the Mamore range, but due to the weather, I decided instead to head up along the West Highland Way to the Devils Staircase towards Buachaille Etive Mor. 

Half way there...time for a drink..

As it turned out, half way up, we had amazing views...of the hills we were initially intending to climb, but hey ho....better make the best of it.
By now my eyes were stinging and clouding up.... such is the price of drenching yourself in Skin-so-Soft to attempt to dissuade the hordes of midgies that were intent on stripping all flesh off the bone. They were in a vicious mood, and would attack within seconds of you stopping, so it was a case of eating lunch on the hoof.

Looking back towards Blackwater Dam

Then after another hour, we arrived at the cairn marking the high point of 1,800 feet at the top of the Staircase, and risked the wrath of the midgies by stopping for some pics and food.

Looking North to Buachaille Etive Beag

...and over to the Big Bookle...

Looking south to Rannoch Moor

We then started the trek back to Kinlochleven, keeping a wary eye on the skies as it was starting to darken rapidly, and made it back to the tent just in time. The heavens opened....

Within half an hour, Garbh Bheinn, which overlooks the village,  had half a dozen new waterfalls and streams cascading down it's face towards the village, so we had crossed fingers hoping that there were no landslides in the offing as we watched it get progressively worse by the minute. The river was also starting to rage. Oddly enough, none of these events made any difference to the millions of midgies that were still in swarms as black as the surrounding clouds.

New waterfalls on the mountain

After a restless night, and due to heavy rain still falling in addition to the matter of feeling greasy due to the amount of midgie repellent, the decision was made to turn tail and head home. We stopped off for a quick chat at the By The Way hostel in Tyndrum...then home for a nice hot shower, food and a deserved snooze.

Wonderful country we live in..   Until the next adventure.....

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