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A Half n Half in Rob Roy's back yard

A Half n Half in Rob Roy's back yard


Postby DonnyW » Tue Apr 27, 2010 6:23 pm

Route description: Loch Katrine

Date walked: 24/04/2010

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Saturday was a funny day for me. It was one of those days I couldn’t decide what to do with myself. A stressful week at work had left me mentally drained and I was a bit depressed because my American friend who was coming to visit, had her flights cancelled because of exploding volcanoes. :(

It was a grey dreary morning so I moped around the house. Then my neighbour who is working on his house started hammering and banging on walls. I turned up the radio to drown out the noise but the music gave me a bigger headache so it was time to go out.

On impulse I grabbed the bicycle, strapped it to the rear of the car and headed for Loch Katrine with a vague thought of cycling the twenty four miles from Stronachlachar to the Visitor Centre at the east end of the loch and back again. It’s the first time I have had the bike out this year so wasn’t sure if I was fit enough because although it’s a tarmac road it is quite hilly.

There wasn’t a breath of wind on the loch at Stronachlacher pier
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It didn’t take long to get into my cycling rhythm once I remembered which way to push or pull the gear levers. I left them in the front “granny” gear and only played with the rear cogs until my legs started loosening. Breathing deeply I soon started to forget my problems as I soaked in the views.

The mirror reflects the islands at the west end of the loch
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A shoal of swans scratching the surface as they get ready to head north again
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This house is on the site where Rob Roy was born. This is the land he knew like the back of his hand and where he continually dodged his foes who tried to capture him. He also kept the stolen cattle here before herding them to the markets

Glen Gyle house in the heart of the Trossachs
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By the time I had cycled round the loch to Portnellan, my legs were beginning to ache. Cycling used different muscles that walking and my cycle muscles were well out of condition. I stopped for some water and to take a photograph of the old sheep sheds below Meall na Boineide. I started studying the crags and wondered what it would be like trying to get to the top. The line of weakness looked like it was to the right of the cliffs and dead centre in this photo.

The sheep sheds and crags of Meall na Boineide
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The thought of continuing my cycle round the loch suddenly vanished. There was only one way to see what it was like trying to clamber to the top and that was to do it. I hide the bike in the sheds and loaded all my camera, water and other valuables into a bike pannier which I lugged along with me.

The ever steepening slope
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Although it was steep it wasn’t difficult. I had to get into the burn and climb it for the last twenty feet ..but I kept hold of the pannier so it wasn’t a difficult scramble. Once over the lip of the burn..things eased and I stopped for a rest and I took this photo

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There were a few false summits on a wide grassy ridge before I reached the top of An Garadh which is 714 meters high. It offered a lovely view over to Stob a Choin with Stobinian and Ben More peaking through the coll in the background

Stob a Choin from An Garadh
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Stob an Duibhe at 727 meters is the summit at the end of the ridge. By now my arm was twice the length it was when I started the walk, because of the weight of the pannier and the way it had to be carried by its handle, so I headed back. I wasn’t out to bag any hills .. I was only out for a bit of exercise and some fresh air to clear my head. I had achieved that and felt a lot better in myself. The stress and depression had cleared with the grey skies.

The pannier with Stob an Duibhe in the background
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On the way home I stopped at Loch Arklet and snapped the Arrochar Alps behind the trees. Yup.. I was now in a good mood :-D

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Better still.. my friend arrives on Thursday and we are planning wild camping, hiking, boating and cycling.. I dint know where yet ..but you can be sure it will be as impulsive and as enjoyable as my "half n half in Rob Roy’s back yard" :D
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DonnyW
 
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Re: A Half n Half in Rob Roy's back yard

Postby DonnyW » Tue Apr 27, 2010 8:17 pm

It’s the lighting conditions that make good photographs and the atmosphere was very hazy on Saturday which is another reason I didn’t continue round the loch. Here are a couple of photos I have taken with better lighting conditions, just to show how beautiful it really is in Rob Roy land

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Re: A Half n Half in Rob Roy's back yard

Postby davetherave » Tue Apr 27, 2010 9:56 pm

Stunning photos there Donnie. Sounds like you just live for the outdoors. As always Great pics and report. :)
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Re: A Half n Half in Rob Roy's back yard

Postby FloozySuzie » Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:50 pm

This is my favourite walk report i have read so far, by quite a fair bit. :D
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Re: A Half n Half in Rob Roy's back yard

Postby DonnyW » Wed Apr 28, 2010 9:49 pm

Thanks again to all for your comments and for looking

Yup, there is no doubt about it Davetherave I live for the outdoors.
I don’t know why but Im one of those people who sometimes suffer depression. The best cure for me is to get into the countryside and walk till the naturally produced endorphins give me a high again. For my age.. I must be one of the fittest depressives on the planet :-D

Hi FloozieSuzie, Im glad you like the report. For me it’s about the journey and not the destination ..it doesn’t matter where I go, or whether I get to a top of anything. Its how that journey affects me that matters the most. Often it stirs emotions long after the walk is over. An example are these two paintings that were inspired a couple of months after I walked round Loch Katrine and when took these photos.

I hope my love for the countryside is reflected in my photographs and paintings.
Its what I live for and I enjoy sharing these moments with others of a like mind :D

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Thanks again for looking
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Re: A Half n Half in Rob Roy's back yard

Postby Alan S » Fri Apr 30, 2010 9:52 pm

Stunning stuff Donny i really enjoy your reports 8)
Loch Katrine is one of my favourite places and i much prefer the Stronachlacher side but the wife hates the road that leads to it so we tend to go to the more popular side.
Thanks for the photo of Loch Arklet,one of my favourite lochs :)
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Re: A Half n Half in Rob Roy's back yard

Postby monty » Sat May 01, 2010 12:57 pm

Superb photos and love your paintings Donny. :D

What an inspirational report. You go for a cycle and end up climbing a hill. Thats just great. your commitment and enthusiasm is amasing. Then you take some of the most atmospheric pictures I have yet to see. :D :D
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