Photo Post: West Highlands and more
I've had company this last week, so I'm a bit behind with my posts--looks like "Photo Friday" is on Monday this time!
In my last few travel posts, I described time spent hiking the John O'Groats trail and visiting Edinburgh. From there I went to spend a few days--while recovering from COVID--in a cabin in Glencoe in the West Highlands. Happily, I felt good enough to do a little hiking, keeping my distance from other hikers, of course.
My first outing took me through the village and up to the Glencoe Lochan.
|The Glencoe museum. I didn't go in, due to my contagion.|
|World War I memorial. I saw many such in villages around Europe, and was struck by how often there were multiple young men with the same last name listed--brothers or cousins, all lost to that insane, pointless war.|
On up to the lochlan, the large pond or very small lake above the village.
|A grey and misty day, but without actual rain, as I recall.|
After strolling around the lake I started back toward my cabin, but was distracted by a trail leading up the side of the mountain. My map suggested I could go up a bit and get some views, and I was feeling okay, so off I went.
|Caught a shot of Stinklet enjoying the view from the top of my pack, as usual.|
|The author, wondering a) if it was going to rain before I got home, and b) which of those hills I should climb, if I had the energy the next day.|
When I finally got back from my hike, I needed a good rest (I had lunch while out), but there was still a lot of afternoon left, so I did an hour or so driving tour, and did one more short walk to Grey Mares (or Grey Mare's Tail) waterfall in Kinlochmore.
|The story is that King Edward VII named the falls in 1909 on a visit to a nearby lodge, because it reminded him of his horse.|
The next day I was feeling stronger, and being typically reluctant to miss opportunities and more or less genetically incapable of sitting still so long, I headed out mid-morning to catch the best weather window and climb up to the Buachaille Etive Beag, an easy hike to a saddle between two peaks.
|View from the trail, which started out easy and got pretty steep.|
It will come as no surprise to those who know me that when I got to the saddle, I just had to continue on to one of the peaks. I turned southwest to visit the higher and farther, Stob Dubh, at 3143' (TH elevation 800').
|On the summit, and still able to move. Loch Etive (a fiord) in the distance.|
Having summited on one side of the saddle, and still feeling like I had a bit more in me, I asked a local guide who was there if I should do the other peak or go do another nearby hike. He recommended the peak, perhaps aware of the tendency to give up once you reach the car, or maybe just liking this peak better. In any case, I turned northeast and climbed an even rougher trail up Stob Caire Rainach, 3035'.
That was pretty much it for me until I left town the next day, but I was happy to have been able to salvage a bit of my time in the peaks.
The next day I took a scenic drive back to Edinburgh, including a big sweep south to visit the town of Douglas, which can be presumed to be one of the many places that ancestors of mine might have hung out at one time or another. I was drawn by the ruins of Douglas(s) castle, about which I could find almost no information on line, so I determined to have a look.
|The sole remnants left on the property, but it is a nice little open space park with a pond and swans.|
After visiting the castle, which is marked locally as "Castle Dangerous", I located the local history museum and discovered the truth. My medieval ancestral pile was, in fact, a 19th-Century folly, an artificial ruin built to go with a great manorhouse. The manorhouse is gone, razed in 1938 either due to decay and instability, or because it was too expensive to keep it up.
|Photo in the museum of Douglas manor in 1936. The folly isn't visible here.|
The next day I flew to Southampton in England, to meet writer friend Jemima Pett and my cover artist, Danielle English (https://www.kanizo.co.uk/ to see her amazing work). I shared some pictures of that at the time. We enjoyed a day out birding, then a short hike in the New Forest (an area I wrote about in my dissertation, which I realize now was totally talking through my hat--like much academic writing). We enjoyed seeing the ponies and donkeys of New Forest, and a delicious dinner in a pub that had been there for hundreds of years.
|A donkey-jam on the main road.|
Took the train up to London to be nearby for my flight to Geneva to begin my Alpine rambles.
|I really appreciated train travel so smooth that I could work, with little to no worry about motion sickness, the bane of my travels.|
I arrived at Waterloo station with a few hours to kill.
|Loved the massive bike parking. A multi-level parking garage for bikes is a lot of cars not being driven!|
|Strolled the north bank of the Thames, where I found a number of intriguing statues of corgis.|
|Sadly relegated to a back corner, though they did appear to have phones in them.|
|Knowing something of her history, I was pleased to stumble on this statue to Edith Cavell, who was shot as a spy (which, in fact, she was) by the German army in 1915.|
I was meeting a friend in Trafalgar Square, so I wandered in there and found some new art in addition to Lord Nelson so far up atop his column that no one would know he was there.
|This piece was titled "The End" and was a bit apocalyptic in meaning, as well as absurd. I'm happy to equate drones and pesky flies, though.|
I finished by enjoying an iced coffee in a trendy coffee shop on the Square.
And that was it for the British Isles this trip! I was off the next morning to start the next adventure, hikes of the Tour de Mt. Blanc (France, Italy, Switzerland) and the Via Alpina (Switzerland). Lots more reports to come as I get the photos edited!
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