Saturday, 15 July 2017

Scottish wanderings - part 6

Tuesday 20 June - Portree (Skye) to Ballachulish (Glen Coe)

Our time in Scotland was fast coming to an end and the weather had certainly improved with another lovely day.

After breakfast we headed off from Portree heading south towards the bridge that would take us from Skye to the mainland.

The loch was so still that it acted as a mirror
There were some wonderful views. The only problem with a driving holiday is that the driver is rather restricted as far as photo taking goes. Between us Jen and I will cover a lot more views than we each individually managed to capture. That said, some of the photos taken in the moving car were not the best.

Another church ruin which Jen spied with some relatively recent headstones

After leaving Skye we continued along the A87 heading generally towards the east. This took us past Loch Alsh and Loch Ouich before we traveled along Glen Shiel which took us past Loch Cluanie and Loch Loyne. The route then headed south for a short distance before we hit Glen Garry. We stopped at a view point above the Glen with Loch Garry resplendent below us.

And there was another piper today
From Glen Garry we headed along the A87 until we reached Invergarry where we picked up the A82 which took us past Loch Oich and Loch Lochy and on to Fort William.

Looking along the main street in Fort William
Fort William was actually a fort at one point in its life. The remains of the fort, which are quite meager, sit on the edge of the loch. The internal area is now a local park.

The park within the confines of the old fort site

View from the fort site

Is that Ben Nevis visible in the background?
 After a bite of lunch and some shopping it was in the car again heading south west for the short distance to Ballachulish in the western end of Glen Coe.

Ballachulish is a small settlement that was built around a slate quarry. After finding our B&B we walked through the village and checked out the visitors centre. While Jen put her feet up I went out exploring. There is a trail that takes you through the former quarry. One track went up the side of the quarry and I decided to take it to get views over the area. The track became indistinct and I ended up doing quite an amount of scrub bashing. This was challenging as there was quite a slope in places, a creek below, a tangle of plants and a lot of fallen limbs many of which had rotted away to just a shell. There was also a mossy coverage to the ground some of which was quite thick but did not support any weight. I was relieved to get down onto solid ground.

Looking up the quarry wall from the base

There was a pool of water in the quarry

A view from the side of the quarry

Another view from my vantage point
And here is some of the stuff I scrub bashed through.

Back at the start of the quarry trail I discovered another trail which headed up an open hillside. It wound around the top of the quarry with good views down into the quarry and also over Ballachulish and Loch Leven.

Looking down into the quarry with its pool of water

Looking across Loch Leven

Looking down across the village and the loch

Looking along Loch Leven
The trail I was on wound its way up the slope and into a forest. At that stage I turned back as I was not sure how well the trail was marked nor where it would come out.

There was a limited number of places to eat in the village however the restaurant attached to the pub came with a recommendation. When I had attempted to book a table I was told that I was out of luck as all the tables had been reserved however all was not lost as the same food was available in the bar.

Jen and I duly presented ourselves at the bar and were fortunate to find a free table. The food was good and we enjoyed the meal. Once again, quite a few of the diners were accompanied by four legged friends. This seems to be common throughout the areas we had been in Scotland. It is not unusual for the dogs to be given a bowl of water, too, and to be made very welcome.

Ballachulish had a large field around which much of the village was built. During the late afternoon I saw quite a few youngsters out on the park practicing their hockey skills. Apparently, the local hockey competition is the big thing with the youngsters in the area.

After dinner I headed off to a vantage point so that I could get photos of the sun setting. This made for a late night as the sun did not go down until around 10:30pm. The downside with being out as it got cooler was that the midges came out in the hundreds. I had not thought about being attacked by these little horrors and spent the time flapping my arms to keep them from biting me. I still had a heap of bites before I finally gave up.

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