Monday, November 05, 2012

From mountain to sea...and into the soup!

The Canadian Rockies? Maybe the Swiss Alps?
It's bonnie Scotland.
A "recce" is all about exploration and information gathering...which is what this sojourn in Scotland, with the brief upcoming sortie back to our old home in Lahr, Germany, is all about. Despite my being born over here, and having returned on a number of occasions, the past month has opened our eyes up to the claim that Scotland is the "outdoor capital of Europe". It's easy to see why.

Ben Nevis - highest in the British Isles at 1344 m.
Scotland has everything for countless possibilities for adventure, from mountain to sea. Folks like Ian and Douglas, who regularly share wonderful images and commentary on their blogs, are proof positive of that. We're most appreciative to both for dropping by here with a thought or suggestion - we've been following up.

Shades of awesome.
The relatively short drive from Fort William, at the foot of Ben Nevis, to the coast is like a banquet table filled to overflowing with tempting possibilities for land and sea-based activities. The mountains are simply amazing - especially when dusted with an early November covering of snow. To be sure, elevations are misleading. It's forgivable to make the mistake and think that Ben Nevis, highest in the UK at 1344 m, is not really such a big mountain. We lived in Banff for five years where the townsite elevation is 1463 m. This is an example of "apples and oranges" - comparisons can be misleading. Our little home would have sat over 100 m in elevation above the summit of this Scottish mountain.

Ben Nevis is an immensely impressive mountain and worthy of the greatest respect. Despite the numbers of folks who reach the top each year, achieving the oft-hidden summit is not an activity to be taken casually or without significant preparation. The route, especially in bad weather, is fraught with danger. Sadly, many discover that, each and every year.

The landscape - a kaleidoscope of constantly changing colours and textures.
Driving to the sea in just over an hour, reveals the dramatic landscapes that would have been familiar to the Italian born, "Young Pretender", Prince Charles Edward Louis John Casimir Sylvester Severino Maria Stuart - perhaps better known (and abbreviated) as Bonnie Prince Charlie. Having only one given name, I find Charles' full "appellation" most impressive!

Taking the train to the coast is another option.
The South Pacific? No, it's still Scotland. 
As a venue for sea kayaking, this area and around the Sound of Arisaig, on the rugged west coast of Scotland, is stunning. The white sandy beaches are gorgeous and the coastal seascapes breathtaking. Having read about this area and the nearby Glenuig Inn on Ian's blog, we needed to go there - and, at the very least, imagine having our boats here. As the Lovin' Spoonful's song suggests, what a day for a daydream!

The island of Eigg, seen from Maillaig.
Sometime we'll return, and launch the narrow boats in this magical place. In the meantime, there was still an opportunity to get into the "soup" - but this time it would be in the warm and cosy environs of the Inn.

Butternut squash, homemade bread and a cup of strong coffee - a most acceptable alternative.

Into the soup - simply delicious.
Coffee at the Glenuig Inn, on the Sound of Arisaig.
From mountain to sea...and into the "soup", butternut squash that is - pretty sweet.



  1. It looks totally breathtaking and a lot like home really. I think hiking on the open mountains though would be much more enjoyable than hiking here in amongst the trees.
    Glad you are having a wonderful time exploring.

  2. Hi Duncan and Joan, I'm so glad you're enjoying the "recce", and especially glad that you enjoyed Glenuig/Arisaig and that the sun shone for you. Next time you return, make sure you bring your paddling clothes - we can sort everything else!

    Kind Regards

  3. Hi L, there really is beauty everywhere. The small differences are always a treat and here distances make everything so much more accessible. Driving a 1000 kilometres at home, to get to the ocean, only gets you from Calgary to the coast. The funny thing is, we Canadians don't think twice! :)

    Hi Ian, there's been lots of sunshine in Scotland! We've been very fortunate with weather and really haven't been rained out since the downpour and floods of a month ago. We'll see how November pans out - I'm optimistic! :) Duncan.