So much beauty out there

August 10, 2010

The West Highlands

Filed under: All,Dear Diary,Travel — Josh @ 5:50 pm
Tags: , , ,

Last weekend, my flat was hosting a hen party for the best friend of one of my flatmates. While I said bravely that I honestly didn’t mind sharing my flat with 16 drunk young women, I was gently persuaded that heading off for the weekend would be better. So I spent the last weekend in the Highlands, around Loch Ossian. Here’s what happened:

Arrived at Corrour station on Friday evening. It is supposedly the most remote train station in the UK (it doesn’t even have road access) and, most relevantly for me, has a very short platform that happened to be next to the opposite end of the train from the door which I was waiting by. I had to career down the length of the train, no doubt to great amusement of everyone else on it – at least the ones who didn’t get clattered by my rucksack along the way. Then it was a mile walk to the hostel, on the banks of Loch Ossian. It was a lovely setting. The hostel is in deer territory, and it was suggested that if visitors were “very lucky, they might see a stag or two”. A refreshing change from Edinburgh, where one usually seeks to avoid stags.

The hostel itself is very modern, with cutting edge eco-technology. That technology is not however sufficiently cutting edge to power a fridge or showers.

On the Saturday it was a really nice day, and I set off for a walk round the loch. The guide I had was written in typical British understatement, saying that it was a “rewarding” walk that “might be interesting”. It also said that some of the route might be “a bit wet”, by which it meant you’d be ankle deep in a peat bog. I started off trying to leap neatly from one dry patch to another, before realising that it was pointless and charging straight ahead. Having circumnavigated the loch, I headed up the hill opposite, Bheinn a’ Bhric (easy for you to say) from where I could see Loch Trieg.

To plagiarise myself – unfortunately I always skip passages in literature that describe landscapes so my vocabulary is inadequate for describing the views. But they were dead good, like.

Next day, took the train to Ardlui, by Loch Lomond. One detail reminded me how out of the way I was – the stations still have litter bins. So fuck you, terrorists, the people of Corrour and Ardlui aren’t scared of you! But Ardlui and Loch Lomond were much less out of the way, Ardlui had a marina, which spewed out power boats and twats on jetskis to despoil the setting. Still, Loch Lomond is difficult to spoil properly. There was also the Ardlui Hotel with a bar looking out over the loch, which was very pleasant. One caveat, I drank 2 pints there, and in that time the hotel music played This Is The Life by Amy McDonald, four times. If one of the staff goes mad and slays seven with a hatchet, I know where I’ll be laying the blame for pushing them over the psychological edge.

Back by Loch Ossian then, but now the wind has dropped and suddenly the midges are attacking, coming down in a swarm of biblical proportions. I feel like saying, seriously take my first born, but spare me from any more bloody midges. In other plague news, there were also lots of frogs, but they weren’t much of a problem.

Then, Monday back to civilisation and a shower. Mmm.

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