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Old 19 April 2015, 13:30   #11
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Thanks for the compliments guys..it is appreciated and Im happy you find this post interesting


Its important to remember our past.. we can learn from it and hopefully not make similar mistakes in the future.

Of course..there is always two sides to every story..and without going off topic of this thread for too long.. I will mention that last week I disappeared into Glen Lyon for a few days. It is another beautiful part of Scotland..not too far from Glencoe.

As I cycled round the isolation of Loch Lyon .. I thought of the Campbell’s villages..deep below the loch. They were flooded when the Hydro dam was built.




The scenery is just as spectacular...as Glencoe..but there are few visitors.. and few stories of mass murder. There are lochs that have probably never seen a SIB. I also clambered a few of the hills around the area to reflect on this part of our history and country.




It is long lost in the mists of time.. that for years..the MacDonalds marched to Glen Lyon to steal Campbell cattle..which they hide high in the Lost Valley of Glencoe. We tend not to sing about that part of our past..but the truth was.. all the Clans stole and murdered one another in those days. MacDonalds were no better or worse than their neighbour.





Tomorrow I will continue with Loch Leven.. because soon .. I will be leaving again ..for another adventure in the wilderness .

It is my lifestyle and will be my history soon enough..so Im making the most of every breath I take...before I too ... end up in some ancient tomb.
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Old 19 April 2015, 17:03   #12
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Superb. One of the best threads I have come across on RiBNet . Many thanks for sharing your adventures on the forum. I know more is to come but had to say it.
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Old 19 April 2015, 17:40   #13
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Fascinating thread - excellent photos. The reputation of the "crooked mouthed" Campbells reaches as far as here. As one of the "crooked nosed" clan, my family recall the Campbell's double dealing...
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Old 19 April 2015, 18:36   #14
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Leaving for Loch Leven

There are still Macdonalds around these parts that won't associate with Campbell's.

"Never trust a Campbell" has been muttered a few times after a beer or two.

Cracking thread as usual Gurnard.
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Old 20 April 2015, 02:34   #15
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Thanks again for looking in guys..much appreciated.

I confess that although Im an old git and tend to keep neutral in politics.. I do recall another dark winters night in November 1975. I was enjoying one or three pints of the “Black Gravy” with some local worthies in the George Hotel, Inverary. The craic was good and everyone was enjoying themselves.

Suddenly the bar door burst open..and someone on the street shouted in... “Come quick.. the castles on fire !!”

Just as quickly ..the population of the bar muttered “Let it Burn”.

I enjoyed another few pints that night. Even the bar scrounger seemed keen to buy a round.. to keep folks talking.


For those who may not be so familiar with Scotland and its clans.... Inverary Castle is the home of the Duke of Argyle.. Clan Chief of the Campbells.



SIBbing will be continued soon...
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Old 20 April 2015, 03:36   #16
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After my tour of Eilean Munde ..I started on my eastward journey .. following the full length of Loch Leven. My outboard engine is a 3.3HP Mariner 2 stroke and is as ideal size for the slat floor Seago. I just keep it on one third throttle and the boat bobs along happily at a displacement speed of around four knots.





Soon I was passing the campsite on the edge of Glencoe village. I have stayed there in the past and it is a lovely campsite..with its own slipway to the Loch. The mountain in the backdrop is Bidean Nam Bain.. the highest mountain in Argyle. I have clambered over all these mountains many times..many years ago. Some folks are reborn bikers in their second childhood..Im a reborn mountaineer.





Loch leven is surrounded by stunning mountainous scenery. Although it looks idyllic..and it was on Friday.. I still knew the weather forecast was for light winds of 4-5mph gusting to 8-10mph.


If you are new to small boats.. dont be fooled into thinking the sea lochs of Scotland are safer than the open sea. The waves form short steep slopes and gusts can come whistling off the mountaintops and funnel through the glens very quickly. Friday..all was calm..and my home made spray dodger kept my trousers dry in the short sharp 6 inch wavelets





For those who enjoy stopping for lunch..there is a very good Seafood Cafe ..with moorings for customers..on the northern side of the Loch. Im on a diet..plus too stingy to spend that kind of money..unless its my birthday.. so I only took a photograph of it for lunch.





I was now approaching the narrows of Caolas Nan Con which are approximately half way along the loch. The tide was on its last hour of ebb so the water was flowing towards me like a fast river of around 5 or 6 knots. It was also assisted by a good deal of fresh water snow melt running off the hills.





The SIB slowed down in the fast current..so I opened the engine to 2/3rd throttle. I created lots of froth at the back of the boat..for little extra speed..but I got through the narrows nae problem. If wind is against the tide on the narrows..it can be a far different story at this point ..and my small SIB can struggle to get through on spring tides.. oh... and the spray dodger is not enough to keep my trousers dry.




To be continued...
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Old 20 April 2015, 04:10   #17
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Brilliant photographs and fascinating commentary, when is the tour guide coming out
More please
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Old 20 April 2015, 05:24   #18
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Thank you for taking the time to write this! Always a brilliant read!
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Old 20 April 2015, 06:59   #19
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Thanks again guys..and I enjoy writing about my adventures.. no one listens to me at home.

Normally.. I post one update per day..but as I intend heading off again tomorrow.. I wanted to finish this tale today.


Once through the narrows.. there is another campsite. Its mostly for tents and the shore access for boats is not a slipway.. but I do see small ones getting launched there at times. I have never stayed at this campsite..but I normally see lots of folks there.


Fishing in the narrows can be good..for them small silver and very tasty fish ... that I wont mention.



The loch then open into the upper basin. The reason there is a fast flow in the narrows is all the water in this part is trying to rush though the small gap




Looking back..gives some idea of the distance travelled. My journey started at that distant mountain .. way beyond the gap.




It clouded over as I approached Kinlochleven..which is the end of the loch. A river then continues into the village..but it is shallow and full of snags.. so not a place for a SIB. The mighty Mamore mountains look magnificent as they surround Kinlochleven.




Kinlochleven was once a very busy industrial town due to its aluminium smelter which employed around 700 people who lived in the town. It closed in 1996 and now Kinlochleven is a sleepy wee tourist town now. The old pier where the ships came to load and unload the ore and aluminium stands silent. Im certain large congers live in the deep depths beside the pier..but Im too scared to target them..last thing I want is a 3m conger flapping around in my 2.7m boat. I get a lot of mackerel here in the season..oh..and some more silvery things I can’t tell about.





I was feeling a little cold after sitting in the SIB all morning and early afternoon ..so I landed..had a bite to eat..then lay down on a huge granite slab. The sun had warmed it slightly..so it felt like a warm night storage heater. Any tourists that may have observed me..would think I was some strange reptile..heating myself in the sun.





Feeling warmer again..I headed back to the start of my journey and played with my fishing rod. I never caught a thing..but I wasn’t too interested either...it was now 4pm and I wanted to go see another famous MacDonald.





I landed and packed the boat into the car and headed for Fort William. I stopped at MacDonald’s and had a burger while I plugged the IPAD into their free wifi. I wanted to check the weather for the next day. The forecast was for wall to wall sunshine and light winds.



I parked up the car and had a good nights kip .. dreaming of a special end to this adventure.


I will tell about that in the final post to this tale ..coming soon.
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Old 20 April 2015, 08:21   #20
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I guess some of you may think Im mad..
Saturday was a perfect day for SIBbing..wall to wall sunshine ..warm.. light winds ... and I chose not to go out in my boat.

Instead I opted to finish the week’s adventure by clambering up a steep stone staircase





It went up... and up ...





And up..but the views kept getting better and better... I could see for miles....





Then the staircase disappeared beneath the snow..but it didn’t stop me ..I just kept going up...



And up....





A small white man indicated that I was almost there ...





Looking back..Fort William was like a toy town.. over 4000ft below me ...




Although it was a frozen waste land I was walking on... I felt on top of the world ...





I had just clambered up the highest mountain in the UK.. Ben Nevis.





I have stood beside the cairn and observatory a dozen times in my life.. but I have never seen the view from the top before..its always been clouded over.

I hope now you can understand why I chose clambering ..rather than SIBbing on such a beautiful day.


Not bad for a 60 years old guy.. three mountains over 3000ft and a sea loch SIB ..all in three days work. That is a good adventure in my books.. any day !


Of course.. there is always someone who does it the hard way ..but I didn’t envy them.. I did it that way over thirty years ago..and lived to tell the tale too.



Thanks to all who read my wittering words..and especially to those who commented. I sincerely hope you all have good adventures this coming weekend.. whether it be SIbbing ..Ribbing..clambering or whatever you enjoy doing.. stay safe.

And although Im leaving Loch Leven alone for now.. I will return with more tales of The Gurnard..soon enough.
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