Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The big drive up.

Across on the A66, up the M6 and on to the M74.  The M73 is next and then the M8. Over the Erskine Bridge to join the A82. A few miles of urban sprawl and I end up on the finest drive in Great Britain!

The drive along the side of beautiful Loch Lomond is magical as I pass Luss, Inverbeg, Tarbet, Inverglus, Ardlui and into Glen Falloch. The Loch can be narrow and winding in places but it now starts to open up. I have already passed Ben Ime, Ben Vane and Ben Vorlich which can't be seen from the narrow and enclosed A82 but as the road opens up, I see the true grandeur of the Highlands.

There are glimpses of An Caisteil, Cruach Ardrain and Beinn Chabhair and I now speedily make my way to Crianlarich. Onwards through Tyndrum and the Bridge of Orchy, I pass Ben More, Beinn Dorain, Beinn a Dothaidh and Loch Tula before I rise up to the bleak but immensely beautiful and impressive Rannoch Moor. 

I defy anyone to drive along the Moor and not stop to take in it's vastness and grandeur. I certainly can't pass without parking up and walking the soggy half mile down to the shore of Lochan na' h-Achlaise which is in a picture postcard setting with the hills of The Black Mount towering over it.

Then the route really starts to become grand as I approach Glen Coe (the Glen of the weeping). This is  where the McDonald clan was slaughtered by the Cambell clan in early in the morning of 13 February 1692 because they wouldn't sign the Oath of allegiance to King William. 

I drive past Sron na Creise and the Buachaille Etive 
Mor (The Grand Herdsman of Etive), before I drop down into the haunting Glen with The Three Sisters of Glen Coe on the left (Beinn Fhada, Gearr Aonach and Aonach Dubh). These are three rugged satellites of  Bidean nam Bian, the highest hill in Argyle at 3,658 feet.

The right side of the Glen is enclosed by the Aonach Eagach ridge, supposedly the hardest rocks scramble in mainland Scotland which can make the top of the Glen an intimidating and claustrophobic place to be.

I pass Ballachullish which lies at the foot of Glen Coe the follow the road above Loch Leven to Kinlochleven which at one was the home of the British Aluminum Company but it is now just an outdoor resort. The small town is towered over by the hills of the Mamore forest which is are sign for all West Highland Way walker's that the end of their trek will soon be in sight.

It's then back on to the A82 and a simple drive alongside Loch Linnhe to my destination for the next two nights.....Fort William.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The Old Brown Horse :

On the minor road to Scarness Bay in Cumbria, there has been a small stable where 2 two horses have lived for years. On passing it the other week with Dave and Chris, we noticed an R.I.P sign and only one horse. He or she looked so sad and forlorn.

As shown in it's eyes, it was obviously missing it's old mate. Thanks to Sal for the verse which it is rather apt.

The Old Brown Horse :

The old brown horse looks over the fence
In a weary sort of way.
He seems to be saying to all who pass:
“Well, folks, I've had my day-
I'm simply watching the world go by,
And nobody seems to mind,
As they're dashing past in their motor-cars,
A horse who is lame and half-blind.”

The old brown horse has a shaggy coat,
But once he was young and trim,
And he used to trot through the woods and lanes
With the man who was fond of him.
But his master rides in a motor-car,
And it makes him feel quite sad
When he thinks of the days that used to be, and of all the times they had.

Sometimes a friendly soul will stop
Near the fence, where the tired old head
Rests wearily on the topmost bar,
And a friendly word is said.
Then the old brown horse gives a little sigh
As he feels the kindly touch
Of a hand on his mane or his shaggy coat,
And he doesn't mind so much.

So if you pass by the field one day,
Just stop for a word or two
With the old brown horse who was once as young
And as full of life as you.
He'll love the touch of your soft young hand,
And I know he'll seem to say
“Oh, thank you, friend, for the kindly thought
For a horse who has had his day.”

By W. F. Holmes


It must have been over twenty years since I was last in Cartmel and as you'd expect from this sleepy corner of Cumbria, the place hadn&#...