It's been quite a while since last posting and there are lots of days in the narrow boats, on the waters around Vancouver Island, still to share. Maybe sometime. It was good to be home for a visit, we knew the Scottish boats would wait patiently for our return.
Speaking of return, your scribe has been back in Scotland and the locum at St. Margaret's for a couple of weeks, but my paddling partner is still in Canada for another week or so. Joan's UK visa arrived from Her Majesty's Passport Office, the day after I left Vancouver on the big blue KLM jet(s), bound eventually for Edinburgh. There are tremendous advantages to having dual citizenship, not the least of which is the freedom to travel back and forth at will.
So, since I'm not "allowed" to paddle without my partner, and can't get the Valley Étain onto the MTKTV (Moderate Terrain Kayak Transport Vehicle) racks easily anyway...what to do? Hit the trails, of course. On this day, it was a quick trip up to one of our favourite hill walking destinations, Loch Brandy. It's that marvellous mountain corrie at nearby Glen Clova, a jewel of a lochan. In Canada, we would call it a mountain cirque.
It doesn't seem to matter what the weather is like up there, it's simply lovely. The rain pelted down, the wind blew, and the mist came and went, but the rain gear and the delicious isolation made for a perfect adventure. It was a grand day out.
Taking shelter behind a stone grouse "hide" (I think that's what it was), I lay on the soft heather and marvelled at the landscape, made dynamic by the movement of the liquid air. It was the perfect place for lunch, in the company of only a few sheep. The distant and eerie roaring of a red deer stag, Britain's largest land mammal, was carried by the wind, to this little place of respite.
Even the loch would mysteriously vanish...and reappear before my eyes. There was a "mystical" element to it all. These are, however, the Scottish highlands, the depth of their history and associated legend is palpable.
The plan had been to complete the high circuit, over the top of Brandy, but the visibility was very poor, sometimes non-existent...and there was no one else on the mountain. I would be content to leave it for another day.
It's so easy to be alone in these craggy hills...but not lonely.
It's such a special place...
...one last "sip", and it was time to descend to the trail head.
I miss my paddling partner, but she's enjoying some additional "pal" time back home and I'm really happy about that. Soon, we'll be back on the water together...and undoubtedly sipping the occasional "Brandy" - corrie blend. :)