Snow like icing sugar and boiling water

100214_scotland_095 Decided not to go on any climbing expedition today. After yesterday’s exertions, Isaac and I felt that a day of journeying might be more appropriate, help us to recharge ourselves. And we’re glad we did, even though i always feel a little guilty if I am not up the nearest lump of rock, and especially so when, like this morning, there was beautiful sunshine and bands of clouds to look above. But no matter: we made our choice and headed off towards FW at 9.30 ish.

The wonderful thing about our trips up here is that we get to a turn in the road and say, “Hey, let’s go there… ever been to Kinlochleven?” and so we headed east along Loch Leven to the small town at the head of the loch in sunshine and ice. My photos seem to have been overexposed and so I can only describe in words that the backside (south) of the Mamores looked magnificent in their snow and sun. Unbelievable. Huge, remote and towering over the small town. I haven’t been there since 1989. 21 Years! I feel dreadfully old. That’s a lifetime away (well, for someone who’s 21 anyway).

We didn’t stop but sped off to FW and straight up Glen Nevis. It’s no use: I can’t not go there. The tree and rock were still there (of course), but we got caught behind a slow outward bound bus. Keener Club, I am told they were.

The single track was icy with a warning telling us to no go there, so we ignored that and went there. Then got to the top, looked back at Sgurr a’Mhaim and Stob Ban and Mullach nan Corrain and my heart melted, unlike the snow. Then straight back down the glen to Nevis Sport, a huge lump of cake, a chat to L, and a tour of the town centre (ending with Morrisons and Ellis Brigham (bought a survival bivvy: feel happier now). Then, off towards Oban. Stopped for lunch by the Sound of Shauna or something like that. Beuatiful: green lowlands, white highlands. Water in between. Isaac and I decided we could live here as older people (like me), but not younger ones (like him). What would he do for friends! Where would he go. I would be fine with broadband (if they have it here…!) but nothing for young people. We talked about gardens and how I would be happy with a simple apartment: no desire for gardens. And with this scenery, who needs even a window box?

Got to Oban and went round and out: like a big FW Isaac remarked. Brought out some vague nostalgia about John Parkes and Dunstaffnage. I never went there, but it seemed to loom in my head. 20 years ago. 14 since I left. More age.

Then off to the A85 and Glen Coe. Via, it turned out, with a prescient leap, Glen orchy. The most wonderful small road i have ever driven along. Towards the end it got snowy which sort of slowed me don, but, boy o boy, what a road to drive. Narrow, undulating and twisty but never much doubt that nothing was coming because the hedges were clear. What fun!

Then up onto Rannoch Moor again, and the transformation was utter. What yesterday had been green low down and white above was now all white. All frozen in white snow. Even the lochs were snow covered. And the clouds were lying low with the peaks above them. Never seen such beauty up close. The world was transformed and the view in all directions was a mixture of white, hinted green and blue. I hope it all lasts until tomorrow and Thursday.

The back to the hostel. And the usual evening astonishment at the social graces of some people, or even their plain domestic capacity. Some geeks don’t seem capable of understanding the nature of a gas v. electric stove. Whilst others have never mastered the finer points of boiling a pan of water. It’s a good job I am perfect.