Kicking the shit off my shoes

It was late when we left… But we still overcame trepidation, lethargy and lingering doubts about how we would fare out there and hit the road. The A82 was an old friend, a slightly skiddy sliding old friend, but what a day to be passing through the best wee country on Earth.

The Ice Factor was empty, but cuppas, a roll on bacon for me and soup for Joycee followed by a wander in the shop loosened the limbs enough to tackle the ascent out of Kinlochleven by the pipes. There was coughing, flushes of sweat (hot and cold) and snotters flying like salvos from naval guns from both of us, but by the time we hit the flatter stretch that curves round the glen we were on much better form.

Oh the joy of being high in the snow, ringed by mountains, blue sky whirling above us as the cold bit deep and stray flakes from the nearby snow showers drifted down onto us.
It was the oddest thing not staying on the West Highland Way, but the unfamiliar is like an infernal magnet, especially when it’s hidden round a ridge and we never missed a beat as we followed the track that shows the pipe-feeding culvert high above the River Leven.

It’s wild up here, with the snow cover it feels like you’re really out-there and even the crumbling concrete of the culvert has melted into the landscape and is unobtrusive and silent.
The graveyard is a very lonely spot. I was pleased to see a new fence and the obvious signs of maintenance, that it’s being looked after even out here. There’s hope for us as race yet.
I read all the names, the counties of origin are obvious but the saddest name of all is “Unknown”.

The dam is a mighty sight, not so tall but very wide, and no matter what the guide books say, very passable on it’s crest (is that the right word?). The sun was dipping over the Buachaille Etive Mor (strangely close and with all its tops visible) and the temperature dropped like a brick from a scaffold.
We trudged through the snowbound heather to pick up the clearer path before the cold had us stopped dead, layering up and getting the stove on.

What a place to be at this late hour. Water roaring far below over frozen crags that glistened in out headtorch beams, birches that shone back like threads of silver, a black sky raging with stars and soon the orange lights of the town where soon enough we sat back for dinner, maybe a little tired, but feeling a lot better in body and mind.

7 thoughts on “Kicking the shit off my shoes”

  1. Looks like you had a good day – I bet you’re happy to be out and about.

    Lots of familiar views there as I always seem to end up staying in the Blackwater Hostel when I pay my yearly winter climbing visit to the west coast.

    Here’s to a good weekend for everyone.

  2. Crackin’ photies as usual mate! Looks like you both had a great day oot.

    Im up posting this early cos we’re gonna attempt to get up to Arrochar if the roads are passable after last night snow. Its’ my first weekend since the summer that I’ve no’ been working. In fact its been so long since I’ve been up a (proper) hill that it took me an embarrasingly long time to pack last night.

  3. Aye More-On, it was emotional!

    And the weekend’s looking good out the window, you’ll have fun on Ben Vane BBF. I’ll miss youse this time, hopefully I’m hitting the road again tomorrow :o)

  4. Hmm whas that book John Steinbeck wrote? Something about rodents and bawbags that dont even get their car out the car park was it?

    I might try again tomorrow although the forcast mentions things like considerable buffeting and severe windchill :o(

    Today may be salvage with a wee dander around Chaterherault Park though.

    Where you off to tomorrow then?

  5. Looks like a nice wee dawner
    for yis. I like that we circuit and wandering over the dam. Another one to add to the list of re-entry routes

    Yip, best laid palns an aw that…………………

    It was a wee tad slippy getting oot the street but we did manage over to Eglinton Park where Steve released his inner wean on his placy bag. At least the rest of the adults had proper sledges!! It quickly turned to Ayrshire snow so suspect we wont have any white stuff just lots of slippy stuff tomorrow

    Hope you have fun tomorrow

  6. Aye, it was a bit wintery out there today right enough.

    Mamores tomorrow to one degree or another. Leaving here about 0800 if you fancy BBF.

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