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Old 19 April 2015, 05:32   #1
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Leaving for Loch Leven

For those not familiar with Loch Leven.. it is a narrow sea loch some 8 miles in length and less than a mile across at its widest point ..and only a hundred meters at its narrowest point. It is set among some of the most scenic mountains and moors of Scotland. Steeped in the history of clan warfare ..the small village of Glencoe nestles on its southern shore line.

I had some business to do in the area.. so packed my small Seago inflatable in the boot of my car.. and also loaded my bed and car camping gear..then headed for the wilderness once again.



The majestic mountain of Buachaille Etive Mor stands guard on the southern approach to Glencoe... and on my way to the sea loch




This must be the most photographed mountain in the whole of Scotland..especially from the River Coupall...



But it is only one of many that you pass on the southern approach to Loch Leven ... Creise stands proudly..over 3000ft above the lonely Kings House Hotel



Glencoe is named after the valley formed by the Three Sisters of Glencoe ..the mountains on the south.. and the Aonach Eagach mountain ridge to the north. These are some of the most challenging mountains to climb in the UK.



It was in this dark glen that the Clan MacDonald were slaughtered by their neighbours the Campbell clan ..in 1692. The MacDonalds who lived in the glen .. were hosts to the Campbells..offering them food and shelter when the dark deed was done... which made it all the more sinister.

Passing through Glencoe you finally reach Loch Leven..where I intended to have my first SIB outing of the year.




But before putting SIB to water .... I had a couple of hurdles to cross... to be continued.
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Old 19 April 2015, 05:52   #2
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Nice!
Look forward to the next instalment!
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Old 19 April 2015, 05:59   #3
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Quality as usual I've walked the ridge from aonach mor over the Chancellor & the crazy pinnacles, stunning. We've also walked up the aqueduct from Kinlochleven to the reservoir at the top, very very special. Keep it coming.


.....sh1t happens.......
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Old 19 April 2015, 06:58   #4
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Thanks for looking in guys..hey you did well doing the Aonach Eagach ridge Dave..its the hardest of our ridge scrambles.. apart from the Cuillin ridge. Very enjoyable if you have a good head for heights


Now that I am in the promised land and retired.. I like to think my life is one long adventure. Even in winter I still head for the wilderness when the weather allows..only its not for SIBbing..its for Clambering. I enjoy the hurdles of Scotlandís Mountains. They are there so why waste them by ignoring them ? Hopefully you guys can be patient and tag along for this update..I will get to the SIBbing shortly. Its all part of this adventure.

There is a lot of snow left on the eastern slopes of Scotlands hills..and its still very cold at night..so my boating adventures are kept short..while I clamber the hills to keep warm. I had the mountain of Creise in my diary for a while..so arrived at the Glencoe Ski resort at lunch time on Thursday ..and got my boots out.

To get to Creise..I had to first clamber up Meall a Bhuirdh..another 3000ft high mountain. Its the one the Glencoe Ski centre is on. I didnít take the chairlift..as Im a purist and walk to the tops of my hills.





There is still lots of snow and skiers around..even is mid April..so its been a good year for them.




I kept well off the ski slopes by rounding the mountain to the north where its too steep to ski. Finally I got to the top and enjoyed a view looking over Glencoe towards Ben Nevis..the UKís highest mountain at over 4000 feet



I didnít enjoy the view to the west quite so much. I saw I had to descent 700ft then clamber up an intimidating steep snow clad ridge to get over to Creise.



The snow was solid so time for crampons. In true Gurnard fashion .. when life gets tough..I donít look at the big picture..I just focus on the first few feet in front..and in no time at all I was on the top of Creise.





And surrounded by a sea of mountains ...





Who needs to go to the Alps..when all this is at my feet.. an hour or so drive from my house.





I got back to my car around 8pm..just in time to make some supper..then fall asleep in the car. I was sound within minutes..dreaming of SIBbing on Loch Leven in the morning. I was happy as I had crossed my two hurdles.

To be continued with the SIB next...
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Old 19 April 2015, 08:47   #5
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Old 19 April 2015, 09:11   #6
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Thanks for looking in Ian..its appreciated.



I awoke at 7am to the forecasted blue sky. It was still below freezing as I ate breakfast sitting on the tailgate of the car. Condensation had frozen solid on the car windows. Its the reason there is still so much snow around and why I have been in no hurry to get the SIBs going this year.

Once the windows cleared.. I drove the last few miles down Glencoe village and Loch Leven. The water reflected like a mirror on the crisp windless morning.





It was still too cold to think of SIBbing but I knew in a couple of hours ..things would start warming under the morning sun..so I took a look around... before going for a coffee in the village.





From the cafe ... I looked across the water to the little island of Eilean Munde. Its memory from past visits motivated to get the SIB on the water





So I drove round to a layby where I normally launch the seago SIB. It is in the middle of no where so Im not bothering anyone..and no one is bothering me.





Moments later the SIB was inflated and in the water ... I was now getting quite excited at the prospect of the first boat journey of the year..so everything was just throw into the boat.





A couple of tugs on the outboard and ... nothing happened ?
Thats when I remembered I had to switch on the petrol. Yup..my old memory can be a bit forgetful at times. Fuel tap on ..another couple of tugs ... and I was off.. heading for Eilean Munde.




In my haste to get underway ..I didnít attach my home made spray dodger. Half way across and a couple of the larger waves splashed over the small diameter tubes..soaking my trousers and left around a litre of water in the boat. I knew I should have fixed the spray dodger before going..but I can be a little impatient at times.





I landed on Eilean Munde and promised myself to attach the dodger...but first.. I was going to visit my ancestors.



To be continued....
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Old 19 April 2015, 10:41   #7
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Before I take you to visit my ancestors.. its worth expanding on the Massacre of Glencoe in 1692.



It was in a bitter winters morning on 13th February that the Campbells awoke in the hamlets of their hosts ..the MacDonalds..and put them to the sword. Those that escaped..headed for the high hills. The survivors huddled in the bitter temperatures of the Lost Valley..hidden deep in the Three Sisters range of Mountains.

It was minus 16 degrees C when I was last there and took this photo..so have some understanding of their plight. But the weather was far worse..some tried to scale the walls of the valley..to escape into Glen Etive.. but few survived the journey. Those that waited in the valley ..were turned to ice.






Even today..many MacDonalds have difficult relationships when they meet Campbells. This sign.. although in jest .. as the owner is no MacDonald.. shows there is still feelings. Its on the front door of the Clachaig Hotel in Glencoe.



Rather than letting me witter on about the massacre...best let the Corries tell the story in ď Cruel is the Snow that Sweeps Glencoe"




To be continued...
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Old 19 April 2015, 11:51   #8
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The little island off Glencoe Village is no ordinary island. In the 7th Century .. St Fintan Mundus who travelled from Iona ... built a little chapel on the Island. The last service was held in July 1653. Many of the bodies of the Murdered Macdonalds are believed to be buried on the island..including MacIain of Glencoe.. the Chief of the clan.


I try to make an annual pilgrimage to the little island.. not because I am a MacDonald..or even a Campbell..but because I enjoy visiting. I love our history as much as I love our landscape and seas. I feel involved in the past when I explore these places.



For me..our history lives on ... like the mountains that surround the loch..



There is no public boat to take visitors to the island..you must have your own boat..or be a dead MacDonald or other dead Local Clan member ..if you want taken there. Local people are still laid to rest on the island. Its a place for reflection and honouring past lives.





I couldnít help but notice some MacDonandís crypts were open..perhaps the inhabitants were still out on the snow covered hills..looking for their murderers. With that thought ..I felt it was time to leave.




I went back to my boat and fixed the spray dodger to the SIB..


Then did a tour of remembrance round the island ..before heading off to explore more of Loch Leven. Although I had a tear in my eye..the dodger kept my trousers dry.



To be continued...
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Old 19 April 2015, 12:11   #9
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Another great read gurnard your love for the land you live in is reflected in your words and photos I look forward to your stories keep um coming mate.

Cheers
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Old 19 April 2015, 12:35   #10
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A great read Gurnard.

Many thanks for sharing with us.

I understand your feelings for the land, history and sea - reflects my own thoughts for our own wee island across the sea.

Keep them coming ...
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