Saturday, June 15, 2013

Tempted by "Brandy" and beyond...while my kayak gently waits.

It's all uphill from the trailhead in the magnificent valley known as Glen Clova.
This blog has drifted a very long way away from any sea kayaking this past while. Especially, considering that the North Sea is just fifty short metres from the laptop's current coordinates. (For folks who love detail, it's British Grid reference NO 64202 40640. Yes, just took the course so finally understand where we actually are on a map!)

Meanwhile, my kayak back in Canada gently waits. 

The hike up to Loch Brandy is always a temptation. The tiny, perfect mountain "lake" is impossible to resist. Yesterday, we fell prey to its beneficent spell once again and extended the route over to and around another liquid jewel in the mountains...Loch Wharral.

It's all uphill from the trailhead parking lot at the charming Glen Clova Hotel -  snacks help.

Joan, pausing to refuel...and just take it all in.
The loch itself is a textbook example of a mountain corrie. The dark, still, and deep waters seem to spell...m-y-s-t-e-r-y. 

Loch Brandy.
Continuing up the steep "trail" above the loch rewards all the effort and energy expended with a breath-taking panorama. 

Pausing to take it all in, time seems to slow down...until there is only the "moment".

Time stands still.
We crossed paths only once with others, a young couple from Switzerland.

There is something about the feeling of "aloneness" in this land that is so very appealing.

Following the waypoints, plotted the night before, the route continued over the high moorland plain and through heather, sturdy grass, and some rather enjoyable boggy patches. Gotta love that..."sinking" feeling!

The second mountain corrie, Loch Wharral, appeared. It was also time to enjoy a spot of lunch...

A lunch of bread and cheese and water...simple and sufficient.
...and count the last remaining patches of winter's residual snow above the glistening waters.

Weather can change quickly in these exposed elevations and on the descent back to the valley, a strong chilling wind suddenly blew through. A stone grouse butt offered a moment's shelter from the prevailing wind - an additional layer of clothing and a toque restores cosiness.

Just as the map had promised, a footbridge was there to facilitate an easy crossing of an enthusiastic little stream.

Old bridge connecting a Land Rover track.
The next anticipated footbridge wasn't quite as apparent. (Even the best topographic maps need occasional updates.) I thought Joan might offer an "interesting" photographic opportunity - but she forded the "burn" without incident. ;)

That was way too easy!
For whatever reason, we tend to kayak and hike alone for the most part. We know very well, however, that a deep and profound source of richness in life is in the connection with others, even in those occasions that are brief and serendipitous.

As we hiked the last three kilometres along the single-track B655 road to the Glen Clova trailhead, we happened upon a lovely, older gentleman, his daughter, and his son-in-law. He had just caught sufficient trout for a hearty supper, and seemed quite tickled when we asked if we could take his picture. It was such a brief conversation, but there was a connection and a shared warmth.

Clearly, even these brief but meaningful encounters with one another, offer strength and affirmation to the human spirit.

A smile that comes from the heart.
Back home, my kayak gently (and bravely) waits. Of course, he gets regular visits!

Soon he will be on the water again.

Thanks so much for coming by.



  1. Beautiful...take it the water is a little cool for swimming?

    So where is that British gentleman who opens doors for women...taking a pic while your sweetheart tackles the stream on her own...what a guy. LOL

  2. Great stuff Duncan! The beauty of the Angus glens and the hills they access is that it's mostly quiet. the hills are fairly greening up too - they where still under continuous snow cover when I left. The year turning......

    Kind regards

  3. Haha! Always important to be at the ready for a good photo op, L! I actually offered to tell Joan where the stepping stones were but with the wind blowing as it was, I guess she didn't hear me. ;) Always appreciate you coming by. D.

    Thanks for that, Ian. Yes, it's been very much like summer for the past month, both here and in Cumbria. There really hasn't been a single day of rain! I hope you find similarly inviting weather for paddling and hill walking upon your return. Warm wishes. Duncan.

  4. Small correction to my last response: There was what amounted to a "sun shower" on May 29th while we were in Perth. And there were also some showers last night, while we slept. So yeah, Scotland still seems a lot like "Camelot" to me. :))

  5. I've never seen this blog as a strict kayaking blog Duncan. I seen it as a example of a fine balanced life (which included the perquisite of paddling!)Life's to short to be a "er" of something only; really enjoying the posts keep em coming!

  6. Thank you, Lee, I appreciate your thoughtful words. I think you're correct, life is MUCH bigger than any one passion. To quote you, life's "A whole bunch of Ings". :) Warm wishes. Duncan.