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" Outer Hebrides 2019 - 1 - The Journey North "
Date & start time: Friday 10th and Sat 11th May 2018.
Location of Start : Loweswater to Tarbet via The Loch Leven Hotel and the Uig Ferry.
Stayed at : The Loch Leven Hotel, Ballachulish near Glencoe, Inverness-shire, UK.
Places visited : Spean Bridge Memorial, Glencoe, Skye via the Bridge, Stein and Uig.
Walk details : Short travel stops but two fine walks from the hotel at Ballachulish.
With : Ann and our dogs, Dylan and Dougal. (Irene and Steve at Stein).
Weather : Overcast and even wet at first, but blue skies from the first evening onward.
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The weather forecast appears good for our trip north to explore the delights of the Scottish Outer Hebridean islands.
Two weeks away in two self-catering cottages at different locations will allow us to re-visit places we have not seen
since our caravan holiday there 31 years ago. This time it's car only . . . and just the two of us . . . plus four-legged family !
With the simple deadline of dinner at 7.30 pm in the hotel four and a half hours driving away, we set off from Cumbria after a leisurely breakfast.
The journey was overcast, slightly wet at times, but by the time that we stopped for lunch at Loch Lomond it was starting to clear,
even giving us a glimpse of Ben Lomond across the loch, as it appeared from under the steadily rising cloud base.
Once we leave the motorway it was the A82 all the way north to Fort William.
Names such as Dumbarton, Crianlarich, the Green Welly Stop at Tyndrum, the Bridge of Orchy, Glencoe all feature on our route.
[ We received excellent mail order service from the Green Welly Shop for Ann's current Paramo Jacket . . . hence the photo ! ]
Crossing the wild Rannoch Moor, with Lochan na h-Achlaise and the high ground of Meall a' Bhuiridh behind.
The side view of Buachaille Etive Mor and Lagangarbh House from Altnafeadh.
Into Glencoe and good sunshine now . . . looking back at Three Waters Meet gorge from the viewpoint further down the valley.
The main road (with all the cars) is above, the old military road now a footpath, can be seen dropping down the slope below.
With all the cars come all the people . . . but still, it is good to get out, stretch the legs
and enjoy the view of the secret valley of Allt Coire Gabhail and its dramatic surrounding hills.
It was late afternoon as we flew through the steel superstructure of the Ballachulish Bridge.
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Time for a stroll before supper
One of the reasons we enjoy staying here is the lovely local walk from the door of the hotel.
Through the trees is a fine view looking up the tidal Loch Leven towards Glencoe.
The shapely peak beyond the boats is the Pap of Glencoe, with the snow covered Aonoch Eagach ridge behind.
Early evening sunshine on the rock promontory before we head back to the hotel.
A sunset photo looking downstream towards Loch Linnhe and the hills of the Morvern Peninsula.
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Wakey Wakey . . . it's next day and the sun is out . . . we have time for another walk before we leave.
We set off, fortified by a vegetarian Scottish breakfast, like a full-English but with porridge to start and no meat !
This time we took the path deeper into the woods and discovered Alltshellack House.
Once the home of the Bishop of Argyll & the Isles, it is now a very comfortable base for HF holidays.
Perfect reflections on the Bishop's Pool moorings.
The hills and boats are mirrored without the foreshore seaweed in the picture.
A slight breeze starts to ruffle the water.
The woodland walk back passes through a lovely field of bluebells.
As the sun shines brightly it is a chance for a more colourful photo.
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Still, we can't stay all day . . . this time we have a boat to catch.
Not one from this jetty but the Calmac Ferry from Skye to the Outer Hebrides at 7pm, three and a half hours drive away.
Plenty of time . . . but we plan to stop at friends along the way . . . so we can't delay.
Loch Linnhe . . . just up from the Corran Ferry Crossing near Onich.
The snow covered Ben Nevis hills form a backdrop to the Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge.
The road to Sheil Bridge and Loch Duich.
The arrows on the road are to remind overseas visitors to drive on the left.
After all . . . the scenery here could be considered continental, even a bit Swiss in nature.
We exchange fresh water for sea water lochs as we look down Loch Duich to Eilean Donan Castle.
Ahead is our first distant view of the high Cuillin Hills on the Isle of Skye.
No ferry for us today as we take the Skye Bridge from Kyle of Lochalsh over to the island.
Through Broadford, where we bought petrol cheaper than we could at home (!)
and on towards the main island town of Portree. This is the view north over Loch Ainort and up the Sound of Rassay.
The dramatic hills of Trotternish are on the left and the island of Rassay with the flat topped Dun Caan on the right.
Zooming in on Trotternish from Sconser we could make out the rugged landscape including the Old Man of Storr.
With time in hand we diverted to the Waternish Peninsular and the village of Stein
where we had arranged to call on friends who normally visit us in the Lakes.
Irene and Steve now live with their two energetic spaniels, Missey and Barley, in a modern home
overlooking Ardmore Point and The Minch, the stretch of open sea that separates Skye from the Outer Hebridean islands.
Today they are enjoying perfect weather and the potential of a superb sunset later in the day from their garden.
The Outer Hebrides, South Harris and the hills of North Uist can be seen very clearly in the far distance.
Many thanks for the tea and a catch-up on life . . . while the dogs enjoyed a run around the garden together.
[ Thanks too for this picture Steve . . . there was I scratching my head trying to remember who'd taken the photo ! ]
Back onto the Trotternish Peninsula and a short twelve mile drive north to Uig Bay
where the pier will be our stepping off point for the ferry to Tarbet on the Hebrides.
The suitably names MV Hebrides of the Calmac Fleet enters the bay
and swings round to the pier as the car park fills up with a boat full of lorries, cars, camper vans and all their various passengers.
Safely on board and under way . . . Hebrides here we come.
Approaching East Loch Tarbet towards the end of our calm, 1 hour 40 minute crossing.
Couldn't be better . . . unless of course they could clean the windows so we get a better view of the docking !
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Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Panasonic Lumix Tz60 Compact, or my Panasonic Gx8 mid-range System Camera.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . a local map and ideas of what to explore in the area.
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Previous walk - 4th May - Scale Hill Bluebells and Visitors
A previous time in the area - 22nd June - 6th July 2013 - Summer visit to Skye