Hi ho, hi ho…Posted: October 2, 2011
Well, hello! Not sure where to start. This is my first attempt at blogging, so apologies if I put you to sleep. I’m going to use this to record my various wanderings in Scotland and abroad.
First on my agenda is a gentle stroll in Argyll, from Garelochhead to Arrochar.
A friend recently gave me a poem, and I think it’s appropriate to quote a little here:
“Afoot and light-hearted, I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me, leading wherever I choose”
I’ve previously done a lot of hillwalking, and consider myself experienced. However, it has been a while since I did any on my own, so it is with a little trepidation, and quite a lot of excitement that I am planning a trip to Arrochar.
Argyll has, until recently, been somewhere that I always travelled through, on my way to somewhere else. I remember when I first started camping and hillwalking with the Scouts, we would always come through here, heading for Glencoe, or the Black Isle. Now that I live here, I’m taken aback on a daily basis by the beauty of my surroundings. From where I am typing this, I can see the Gareloch (from the Gaelic for “Short loch”, “Gearr loch”, the Cobbler (Ben Arthur), and the shadowed side of Creagan Mhor (big crag), on the other side of Loch Long. It’s a blustery day, with the wind sweeping in billowing clouds from the west, and with a hint of the cooler autumn and winter to come. The leaves are turning the hillside opposite a burnt ochre, and the smell of leaf mulch is in the air again.
Strange and sobering to think that Britain’s nuclear warheads are stored just over that low hill, at Coulport.
Still, I’ve found the people in Garelochhead and surrounding area to be very friendly, and pretty welcoming. If I could just find a local class to carry on my Gaelic studies, I would be really chuffed. Another thing that tells you that you’ve moved away from mainstream Scotland is that some of the local signs are also in Gaelic. For example, the station here is labelled as “Ceann na ghearr-loch”, head of the Gare loch. Another great thing about this area is the number of long-distance walks that are close to hand. Within twenty miles are the West Highland Way, Three Lochs Way and Cowal Way. All through scenery of outstanding beauty.