maandag 11 oktober 2010

Wednesday May 12 : Loch Lomond & Sealife

We stayed at the Loch Lomond Youth Hostel, a lovely castle on the westbank of bonny Loch Lomond. A place where a lot of Scottish children had their first YH experience. At the 'border' between Highland and Lowland the hillwalking was now over. In the morning we visited the eastshore of Loch Lomond, a popular spot for summerparties, barbeques, swimming and watersports.
We didn't have a bbq but what's more fun than starting a fire ? We're no exception. Good weather, a nice fire. A perfect morning for a father and his son.
In the afternoon we went to the SeaLife aquarium in Balloch, at the southern end of Loch Lomond. It's a modern aquarium with lots of glas that gives you a feeling of 'being in touch' with the fish.
 It's a good thing the water of Loch Lomond is too cold for this Blacktip (?) shark....
....or is there more beneath the surface of Britains largest sweetwater lake than we know ?
Tomorrow we'll be visiting Jimmy and drive back to Newcastle to catch the ferry to IJmuiden. 

zondag 10 oktober 2010

Tuesday May 11 : to the foot of The Cobbler

Another mixed day with a lot of sunshine and wintry showers. We drove south to Arrochar and parked the car at the start of the concrete staircase. I had been to the Cobbler about ten years ago with my Scottish friend Jimmy from Paisley. He was supposed to join us today but he had to stay back home to collect next of kin from Manchester airport. Their flight was delayed for many days because of the eruption of an Icelandic volcano and the ashcloud that came with it.
Ten years ago we started our walk alongside the Buttermilk Burn and on our return used the concrete staircase. Today I thought it was the best option to start at the concrete staircase. How wrong I was. There's no such thing as a 'staircase' anymore and the climb turned out to be very tiring for Gillean. Had I known beforehand that an easygoing forestpath had been made I would have chosen that option.
After reaching the path that leads to the Narnain boulders and subsequently the foot of The Cobbler walking was much easier but the effort to climb the concrete staircase had taken its toll on Gillean.
We eventually reached the foot of The Cobbler and even ascended onethird but Gillean's battery was empty. I tried to convince him he could overcome his tiredness mentally but agreed with his decision to turn around. We were close but there will allways be another time.
The hot shower and soft beds in the YH were very welcome. 

Monday May 10 : Aonach Mor cable car & Glen Nevis

Believe me, I'm not your standard tourist. Really I'm not. Today started different. We used the Aonach Mor Skiing Centre cable car. Like real tourists do. Go up and walk to the two viewpoints, take some pictures, get back down again. A shame we weren't here yesterday during the mountain bike downhill competition. Scary stuff !  
After this years very wintry winter there was still some snow left in the lower parts of the skiing area. Enough to throw some at dad at least.

RtoL: Carn Beag Dearg - Carn Dearg Meadhonach - Carn Mor Dearg

In the afternoon we drove to the carpark at the end of the road in Glen Nevis. From there it's a short walk through The Gorge and beyond to the wire bridge. 'Real' tourists where already there. A group of Italians (?) on sneakers, office footwear and even high heels, no jackets, only shirts and blouses. At least they were having fun until snowshowers started to visit the glen. Hasty retreats through the River Nevis and across the wire bridge were started. If the guys on the wire bridge would have known one of the wires would snap a couple of weeks later they wouldn't have had such great fun trying to shake one of there friends off.

Today the bridge was still there for Gillean to try. His arms were just long enough to hold on to the upper wires. 

Glen Nevis and Steall Falls
On our return we stopped at the Achriabhach waterfalls to have a look around

Sunday May 9 : Geological Museum Corpach

Driving to Fort William means driving through the Great Glen and that means rain. Whatever the weather in the rest of Scotland is entering the GG area garantees you showers. It wasn't a walking day so we didn't mind. As we got out of the car at the Geological Museum in Corpach the sun was shining again.
Rocks, minerals and fossils will always fascinate me and this time it wasn't any different.
We stayed for two hours in the museum before moving on to the YH in Glen Nevis. The hostel wasn't busy. We met a Dutch couple with three daughters staying for the night. My son was fascinated for the second time that day.

zaterdag 9 oktober 2010

Saturday May 8

Last night I asked Gillean, for obvious reasons, whether he preferred to do the southeast ridge of Sgurr nan Gillean or the west ridge of Sgurr Dearg. The latter being the easier option.
He said he preferred Sgurr Dearg, visible from the YH. Today turned out to be a sunny and even hot day. We walked to the Glen Brittle Hut and turned left to follow the path towards Coire Lagan.
Progress was slow because Gillean saw so much interesting things alongside the path. Staring sheep, butterflies, even a couple of grouse which I would have missed if I would have been on my own. Gillean took every opportunity to stop walking. I got suspicious and asked him how he felt fysically. He admitted having sore feet. We sat down for a while and decided to change our objective. We would walk down the coast to Rubha an Dunain, the southwestern point of the peninsula, a longer but  more flattish walk.
We spent some time on the beach of Loch Brittle before following the coastal path. Progress again was slow and after 2 km I decided our best option was to return to the YH.

Cuillin Cottage Cows
We had some great time at the waterfall again.

Gollem looking for fish
Tomorrow we'll move on to Fort William. I've booked two nights at the glen Nevis YH.