|Hiking The Southern Highlands|
Sadly, due to illness, I missed the first three of our five day guided hike with Walkabout Scotland . Thanks to Joyce and the other participants though we've photographs to share of the time spent hiking in the Glencoe area. I was deeply disappointed to miss the beautiful countryside. Somewhat ambulatory I spent those three days walking in and around Ballachulish. The fourth day we all hiked on Lismore Island and the fifth at the Traigh beaches.
Home Base - Ballachulish
Pictured clockwise from the upper left is the apothecary (drugstore) in town. Next is our B&B for the Glencoe portion of the hike, the Lyn Leven guesthouse. Lower right is the view from the guesthouse overlooking Loch Leven. Lastly St.John's Episcopal Church at Ballachulish Argyll, Scotland. In the cemetery are beautifully carved slate tombstones reflecting the days when the town supplied most of the slate used for roofs in Britain.
The garden, justifiably, is the pride and joy of Mr. MacLeod who operates Lyn Leven with his wife. I could've filled this entire page with pictures of beautiful roses but these four are representative.
Our group consisted of 8 hikers and a guide, Ian. Below, from left to right, Gisela and Stefan from Germany, Ian, our guide, and Tiger, (rhymes with "bigger "), and Debs.
Below from left to right, Jim and Barbara from the U.S. on the first day's hike, aka The Forced March.
Below, Joyce and I on Lismore Island. After recuperating for three days my hiking boots finally trod Scottish soil.
Clockwise from upper left. Some trails are level and easy, some go up ... and ... up ... and up. Some even go over! But all led to spectacular views.
Left, take lessons from the stride of an experienced hiker. Right, Joyce on the rocks.
Pictured left, EXTRA, EXTRA, READ ALL ABOUT IT ... Intrepid hiker crosses the Rubicon while Companions look on in awe and amazement!
Water, Water, Everywhere
Half the items on the kit list Walkabout Scotland provided either kept you dry and or warm. With the exception of the day at the Traigh beaches, the Scottish experience wouldn't have been complete without getting soaked at least once, nearly all of the water we saw did not fall from the sky. Cold we did not experience at all.
Space, and the viewers patience, don't permit showing all the pictures of streams, ponds and waterfalls that were taken. The sound of falling or rushing water was at every turn.
Scotland was "bigger" than I'd expected. These photos, taken by Joyce in the Glencoe area of the highlands, are typical of the scale of the mountains and valleys. Note the apparent size of the small white house at the base of the mountain, shown in the upper left, with the mountain itself! Sharp eyes will spot the hikers at the center of the photo shown upper right.
Lismore is a member of the inner Hebrides islands with passage to the sea via the salt water Loch Linnhe. We traveled there via a ferry ride from the mainland.
Two of the more inquisitive residents, shown below, upper left, gave us a careful look as we passed by. More sheep than people live on Lismore. The sea dominates life on Lismore for the few residents who remain. You are never far from a water view. Though fences separate fields access is permitted under the Scottish Outdoor Access Code . The code allows for reasonable access to land for recreation, crossing land and educational purposes. People camp in farmers fields, along the roadside and in privately owned forests. The code empowers Joyce, pictured lower left, to scoot under barbed wire separating two fields.
We spent two days in the town of Pitlochry, along with our Glasgow hosts Sandy and Anne, at the 300 year old Moulin Hotel shown below, left. The Pub, shown below, right, refurbished to its' original flavor in the 90's, is as close to a real British pub as we saw on our Scottish visit. To my surprise oatmeal was hard to come by in Scotland. I had to ask but the hotel dining room came through for breakfast.