Now it’s been quite a while since I updated my blog…so spurred on by my New Year’s resolutions, here goes…..
After a fun Christmas at home with my brother who flew back from the US of A, I headed off for a few days after New Year. The forecast was awful. But if you let that stop you in Scotland, let’s face it, you’d never leave the house. So putting my brave traveller face on…the one that saw difficulties as a mere small bump in the road of life, rather than a mountain, I headed off to Glencoe.
I’m not sure whether Scotland has just become more beautiful since I left…or did the months (and years) on the road change my eyes somewhat…but I really have turned into “tourist Ange”. On the road through Rannoch Moore, I pulled up alongside a minivan containing Japanese tourists sporting large cameras and not enough clothes (I also had on not enough clothes) I really felt like one of them, especially as I jumped out, got the snap and jumped back in!
Here is the snap…the Japanese tourists warned me “it was dangerous out there”! Now I don’t look so delighted but it was bloody freezing!
Next stop was the obligatory waterfall stop at the start of Glencoe.
After a little wander around, and some coffee from my flask (an obligatory of the great Scottish road trip) I watched a busload of travellers get out, clothed in whatever warm clothes they could find with some blankets for good measure, take the obligatory snap and jump back in. I did the same! I was one of them.
Next photo stop was Glencoe. I’ve always loved it here with its mighty mountains and history of clans doing battle. The aim was to do the “Lost Valley”. It was my second attempt at it. However, yet again, the weather beat me and the valley still remains “lost” to me. I look forward to seeing it though in summer with its great big boulders where they used to hide cattle. Crossing a river in freezing conditions just didn’t hold the same attraction for me that it used to.
So, again, parked up alongside camper vans and some of the same tourists we had seen at the waterfall, out I got, took a snap and back into the warmth of the car!
It was a wild night in Glencoe so we enjoyed the local pub with locals. I’d have done the same on my travels I guess though this time I could speak the same language and I guess laugh at some of the same jokes. I didn’t eat local food though. It was more tempting to have the delicious halloumi platter with the lovely company of Paul who I met in New Zealand, then India, then Edinburgh. We met at the Laroch Pub in Ballachulish, a locals pub with a lovely atmosphere. We had a great laugh about the wonder of onesies. Why had a babygrow for adults without even the sensible studs which featured on the baby ones and allowed for toilet trips become a “fashion must have”. What hope was there for civilisation when the “twosie” became the next “fashion must have”. As I thought back to Christmas and my brother and I swinging on the Ikea reading chairs wearing our onesies I did think that perhaps the world had gone mad…he’s recently turned 40 ! Whoever went on dragons den and said “now I’ve got a great idea….a baby grow for adults without the studs”?
Next day it rained….and rained….and rained…..
We went a walk around Glencoe Lochan. We played with a huge alsatian who looked like he had eaten a child for lunch but had a really nice nature and then we headed to the Clachaig Inn.
My mate Paul has worked at the Clachaig Inn on various occasions between his worldwide travels. The Inn has offered shelter for over 300 years and I felt the warmth as soon as I got inside. There is a log fire and the piece de la resistance a pool table! To escape the rain, we played pool!
Travellers are not usually put off by the weather….so off we headed to Glen Etive. There is something about Glen Etive which draws me. I’d been once before on a wet and windy night. On that occasion, I’d read about the lovely “swimming holes” it offered in my guide book. The raging torrent which ran through the Glen didn’t invite me to swim then and nor did it now. When I asked Paul about the swimming holes he said there was too much water to see them just now!
Now just to show that the great Scottish phrase “it never rains but it pours” is perfectly true and being a person who likes, if I can, to back up the great Scottish phrase…here is the evidence!!!!!
I’m not sure why but roads which lead nowhere always somehow attract me and the road through Glen Etive fits that definition. 14 miles to a small carpark. We joked en route about advances through the ages. At one time (1847) you could take a steamer from here all the way to Oban. Now there is nowhere to go but there is talk of using the waterway again to transport logs out of the area. So the little pier may yet again find some life.
As we headed back out of Glen Etive, some stags came to take a drink from the river.
It felt like a long drive back up and out of Glen Etive. I still wasn’t able to see these swimming holes and realised that my dreams of seeing these pools filled with nymphs (I’ve no idea where I get my ridiculous ideas) was nothing other than a fantasy….
Oh well, back to the guide book I guess…..