Ballachulish by john mcsporran Via Flickr: I was wild camping on top of the mountain Buachaille Etive Beag and had just packed my camera gear away after sunset when I saw this glow developing down Glen Coe over Ballachulish, with the late evening mist rolling off the mountains, down the glens and out over Loch Leven. I had to scramble to get my camera set up again before the light disappeared.
Until 1975, the only road to The West Highlands crossed Loch Leven on the small 6 car Ballachulish ferry or travellers faced a two hour detour via Kinlochleven. The narrows are now crossed by bridge. If you’re wondering about pronunciation - its Balla-hoo-lish.
At dusk last night (dusk - something we haven’t noticed in a while,) there were birds tweeting. I didn’t notice I wasn’t hearing them, until I heard them. In an over optimistic moment, it felt like spring. And once it got dark, the owls started talking to each other - hooty ones and screechy ones. They were getting a bit optimistic themselves.
This morning looked promising. Sara had highlighted an opportunity to ‘run’ to Kinlochleven from town, as her husband was going climbing in the Ice Factor http://www.ice-factor.co.uk/. This meant we could run down and secure a lift home. So she recruited Fiona as well, and it was looking good for a lovely dry run. Until we got to the foot of Glen Nevis in Fiona’s car, and the rain was hammering on the roof. We were having such a lovely chat in the warm car, that I really wished we could just go to the nearest cafe and do normal stuff, like solve world issues over a cup of coffee, without having to run 14 miles first.
But we forced ourselves out into the icy rain, and just got on with it. As we got to the hieght of the Glen where we left it for the West Highland Way, we looked back through the rain, to a sunny Great Glen - where we all live.
However, it soon dried, and we were quickly absorbed in world issues whilst on the run. And it didn’t take long to enjoy being far from town and even to enjoy the track stretching ahead….
Until I demanded some chocolate…….
And the road continued to stretch and stretch and the view continued to be magnificent………
By the time we saw Loch Leven, my legs were sore on every plane - front, back, sides, insides, knees, and although Kinlochleven looked close……
it absolutely was not close enough. The descent on a rocky track was hard work, though my companions looked fairly comfortable while I kept falling behind. Fiona was occupying her mind with the thought of chips, and when I focussed on important stuff like that, I did start to feel better. But not as good as I felt once I had the best chips I ever tasted, in front of me….
Sara’s husband and friends were looking very relaxed, lolling around on soft mats, while one of them climbed and another took the safety rope. They made it look so easy and relaxing, so I asked if I could come with them the next time. Surely a much easier shift than hanging out with Sara and Fiona…..
Steve Abbot - wiry and very experienced climber who made the supposedly tricky bit look like he was climbing a ladder. They said I could join them next Thursday. Easy-peasy, surely.
Just got to drag my weary ass to Aqua Aerobics now, to entertain my daughter.