I’ve never done anything but dream. This, and this alone, has been the meaning of my life. My only real concern has been my inner life. FERNANDO PESSOA

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Glen Nevis, Loch Nevis, Loch Morar

I camped 3 nights in Glen Nevis. The 1st day I climbed the Ben as I've related.

The 2nd day I took an easier walk up the glen. After the glen narrows you follow a delightful path next to a gorge, where the Waters of Nevis tumble over huge blocks of pink granite. This rocky, at times slippery path winds upwards through woodland. Sometimes it fords streams. You have to be careful crossing them - as there's a big drop on one side. Soon you've reached the top of the gorge and, once over the lip, you're deposited in a beautiful, broad valley with the Steall Falls, one of highest waterfalls in Scotland, revealed in front of you. The change in landscape is sudden and dramatic. The valley is enclosed by some of the highest mountains in the land - the Ben Nevis massif to your left, the Mamores to your right - but it's so wide it doesn't feel at all claustrophobic or intimidating. After the rushing water of the gorge, the silence and calm there is wonderfully restorative. I savoured the peace...

The 3rd day I went to Mallaig. I ate some take-away fish and chips on the harbour wall, sharing them with the seagulls...


... then took a small boat to Tarbet on the North Morar peninsula. The view across Loch Nevis was simply stunning...

The ferry stopped first at Inverie on Knoydart - a wild and remote peninsula wedged between Loch Nevis and Loch Hourn. (It only has one road, and this connects the two tiny settlements of Airor and Inverie - a dead-end in both directions. The only ways onto or off the peninsula are by foot or by boat.) Here box-loads of provisions were unloaded and a gaggle of walkers and wildcampers disembarked. Then the ferry chugged on up the loch to Tarbet, which was nothing much more than a jetty and a shed...




I left the boat...



... and made my way through a cleft in the hills to Loch Morar, less than a mile to the south. The weather was cloudy, with a few rain showers...



... but soon the sky cleared, and the rest of the afternoon was sunny and bright. I walked back to Mallaig along the northern shore of the loch...






Loch Morar is the deepest body of fresh water in Britain, with a maximum depth of just over 1000 ft. It also has its own 'monster', which is apparently glimpsed from time to time. Just as Loch Ness has its 'Nessie', Loch Morar has its 'Morag'. But I scanned the loch in vain for a sighting. The beast must have been in its lair, for the surface of the loch remained calm and unbroken. Eventually I came upon the ruined Chapel of Inverbeg, where I paused a while, and ate my sandwiches, resting my back against one of the old stone walls, the shoreline wavelets lapping gently at my feet...






8 comments:

Loren said...

Beautiful pictures!

jay said...

That just looks so peaceful! I can't help the traitorous word 'midges' entering my brain though! Bloodsucking insects always go for me, and I've learned to recognise locations where they'd be a nuisance!

It must be wonderful to be immune to them and be able to wander, solitary, in places like this.

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks, Loren - coming from you, that is indeed a compliment. I fear many of my pix are really just snaps, though. And I do need a more pixelated camera - which I shall get before too long. In the meantime I'll carry on with my tiny old Canon Ixus.

Jay, you've got it so, so wrong..! I'm just the same. Any biting or bloodsucking bug homes in on me from miles away. I was just fortunate on my recent Scottish trip that many early mornings and late afternoons were either breezy or rainy - which tended to repel the darling wee minibeasts. Nevertheless, I still ended up with bites - despite heavy dousings with repellent. It's the price one has to pay. Tou can't get to Paradise without a little suffering on the way, now, can you?

am said...

I've never been to Scotland but feel homesick looking at your beautiful photos. Exquisite detail. Thanks so much for these!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Beautiful country Robert - lovely pictures of it too.

gleaner said...

Beautiful pictures, looks very peaceful.

The Solitary Walker said...

It was indeed very peaceful and very beautiful, Bella. I really need a bit of peace and quiet. I could have easily stayed up there for much longer. But unfortunately I had to return to the hurly-burly.

Delwyn said...

Hi Robert

what a beautiful wild and untamed landscape.

Your pictures are stunning...

Happy days