Headed off with grandson Morten for our little break in Argyll at Appin Holiday Homes. It was cloudy and damp when we set off, with low cloud and poor visibility. We stopped at the Green Wellie place at Tyndrum for coffee, and headed out, past Beinn Dorain and Ben an Dothaidh and up to Rannoch Moor, with the clouds lifting as we went. By the time we reached Buchaille Etive Mor we could see the top, with snow in the gullies. Glencoe was spectacular.
Past Ballahulish and on into Appin, with a sight of Castle Stalker. By Loch Creran we found our holiday lodge – Badger Sett, unpacked and settled in. We bagged the room with the twin beds, leaving Morten in the bigger bedroom with the double bed. We walked down to the Creagan Inn for a drink, and came back for our evening meal. Slept well.
Drove to Benderloch first thing, to get the paper in the Benderloch Supermarket, AKA The Pink Shop, which it unquestionably is. To Oban today. Weather dry to start with, but not promising. We stopped in the long stay car park and walked back into town, popping in to the odd shop. By lunchtime it had started to rain heavily, so we ran for a fish restaurant by the pier – Ee-cus. Delicious meal, then we tramped back to the car in the pouring rain. Stayed in the lodge. Morten found the games room with wi-fi and a snooker table. He’s really good company.
It had snowed on the hilltops overnight, so the views were really spectacular. We had decided that today would be for Glencoe. It was raining, but it didn’t dampen our spirits. We parked in the Visitor Centre and walked up the hill, taking in the first snowdrops I’d seen this year. Streams were flowing rapidly, due to the rain. Spectacular view of Clachaig Gully.
Most of the Visitor Centre was closed for renovation and rebuilding, so we drove on to the Three Sisters car park, and walked down the hill as far as the river, but we didn’t cross. It brought back memories of walks in to the Lost Valley when Jane and I were younger. I’m sure it was in Glencoe, on the way back from our climbing course in 1963, when we decided to get married, so it’s always been a special place for us.
Fort William and Ben Nevis today. We parked in the long stay in Fort William, and walked through the town, mostly window shopping, before driving on to the Ben Nevis Range car park. We baulked at the cost of the gondola up to the ski station, and in any case we didn’t fancy tramping through snow. Instead, we went to the North Face car park along the Forestry Commission track, and headed up the track from there.
It was rather good, but we stopped short of the tree line, which was where the snow started. We parked in a lay-by on the way back to get a look at the North Face. It’s on the right, under the clouds.
By the time we got back to the Stalker tea room it had closed for the day, so we didn’t get our coffees and tray-bakes.
Last day in Appin. We packed up and were on our way before 10am. We had a good run back up through Glencoe and decided to head down Glen Etive. The road – single-track with passing places – seemed longer than it had on our previous visits, but they were a long time ago. It was beautiful though. We stopped at the loch and walked along the shore, picking up some of the coarse-grained granite pebbles. On the walk back, we were startled to see two semi-tame stags by the roadside, and then, shortly after, a herd of hinds.
A great end to our trip, and Morten’s first sight of the Scottish Highlands.