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Loch Morar in the rain and goodbye to Tess

Loch Morar in the rain and goodbye to Tess

Postby dogplodder » Mon May 15, 2017 11:53 pm

Route description: Loch Morar to Tarbet, Bracorina, near Morar

Date walked: 14/04/2017

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I've a heavy heart writing this as last week we said goodbye to our black lab Tess, faithful companion on 75 Munros and more lower hills than I could possibly keep count of. Her last classified hill was a Sub 2000 in October but this walk along the shore of Loch Morar is the last in which she'll appear in a WH report.

It was the final day of a week's holiday with my son's family in Morar. We'd had mixed weather but not enough to keep us in - dressing the kids for the beach looking more like kitting them out for the ski slopes! The idea was floated of doing the walk to Tarbet and taking the boat back, but when we thought about it we knew that with a 3 year old in tow and threatened rain we were being over ambitious. So we settled for walking part of the route only and seeing how things went.

We parked at the end of the road at Bracorina and set off along the path signed for Tarbet.

The kids love holding the dogs' leads and the dogs are happy to oblige



A fortnight before the holiday we'd taken Tess to the vet about bouts of coughing which I thought might be connected with a lump in her throat and which I feared would be serious and mean the end of the road, which at her age was something we were steeling ourselves for. But the vet said it was just a fatty lump and since she was looking bright, wagging her tail and still enjoying her walks it wasn't that time yet.

We followed the path along the shore of this loch, apparently the deepest in Britain (a claim I previously thought belonged to Loch Ness) and which like Loch Ness boasts a monster - not Nessie but Morag. We didn't make too much of the monster story to the kids who were busy having adventures along the way, which involved playing hide and seek with the dogs. All good fun despite the dismal weather.

Pebble beach and good for throwing stones in

Chapel of Inverbeg


The chapel was built around 1780 to replace an earlier one on an island in the loch. The plaque illustrates how much more populated the area was in those days compared with now.

If this was the original jetty it might have been busy on a Sunday bringing folk to the chapel

Conveniently placed flat-topped stones in front of the chapel gave us a good picnic spot with a view of the loch. But the previously fine rain was now steady rain so we decided to turn back and head for the swimming pool in Mallaig. The 3 year old got a seat on her dad's shoulders and dropped off to sleep with her chin on the top of his head.


By the time we reached the cars the rain had stopped and we even had a little sun on the way back along the loch.

So that was Tess's last Walkhighlands walk. Finding a growth in her mouth last week I knew it was a tumour. The vet said he could remove it along with half her jaw and give her chemo but it might already have spread and at 13 we couldn't put her through that, nor could we let her suffer any longer. So we had to say goodbye to sweet gentle Tess.


There's no doubt she would have been in pain during that last holiday but never once showed any irritability with the children - nor has she ever shown any aggression towards man or beast since we adopted her from Labrador Rescue nearly 12 years ago. She was also a great companion on the hill, always staying close and never a problem around livestock.

Since this is her last report on WH I'll include some snapshots from her walks on the hills along with our other rescue lab Jack. Tess had excellent recall so I took her on the hill several months before I took Jack, who had no recall when we got him and had a strong hunting urge which took a lot of work to curb and contain!

Tess's first Munro - Sgurr na Ruaidhe (June 2006)
January to June 2006 047-large.jpg

Lochan na h-Earba (May 2008)

The princess and the clown on Beinn a' Chlachair (May 2008)

They were asked to do a sponsored climb for the Rescue they came from so I suggested Ben Nevis, which we worked up to, gradually exposing them to rougher terrain, and when the day came they behaved impeccably and took it in their stride without getting sore feet.

Ben Nevis (July 2008)

An Teallach (June 2009)
Hillwalks 2009 076-largel.jpg

Mullach Clach a' Bhlair (May 2010)

Stob Coire Eassain (July 2010)

When my friend Moira broke her ankle on the way up Beinn Mheadhoin we were airlifted to Raigmore, dogs and all. I was relieved and proud of them that day as the crew said they often have problems with dogs but despite the terrible noise from the rotor blades and not having ear protectors (which we did) they were no trouble at all.

Loch Avon - with Moira a few hours before the accident (August 2010)
Hillwalks 2010 013s-large.jpg

Beinn Dearg, Glen Tilt (August 2011)

An Coileachan (April 2012)

Beinn Eighe (May 2012)

Beinn Airigh Charr (Sept 2012)

Sgurr na Sgine (Sept 2013)

Beinn a Charainn (August 2014)

Beinn Loinne (October 2015)

She must have been in pain these last few months but she still enjoyed her walks.... and wagged her tail right to the end. She was a dog in a million and we miss her.
Last edited by dogplodder on Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Loch Morar in the rain and goodbye to Tess

Postby Mal Grey » Tue May 16, 2017 6:56 am

Looks like Tess had a wonderful life with you. I'm sorry for your loss, she looks lovely.

Canoed along this shore recently, calling at the chapel, a very well built ruin.
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Re: Loch Morar in the rain and goodbye to Tess

Postby jamesb63 » Tue May 16, 2017 8:09 am

Lost my old Lab just over a year ago and still miss her , :(
but she definetly had a great life with you and left plenty memories :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Loch Morar in the rain and goodbye to Tess

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Tue May 16, 2017 8:26 am

Wonderful memories of a very remarkable companion. She was a very lucky dog to have such an interesting and exciting life. I am sorry for your loss.
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Re: Loch Morar in the rain and goodbye to Tess

Postby Beaner001 » Tue May 16, 2017 8:40 am

Awfully sorry for your loss, I really enjoyed reading your reports as a newbie Walkhighlander and in fact they gave me a lot of advice for taking my two into the hills so for that I say thanks :clap:

Aye she looks like she had a fine life with you guys

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Re: Loch Morar in the rain and goodbye to Tess

Postby tweedledog » Tue May 16, 2017 9:54 am

So sorry to hear about Tess. A lovely set of pictures; what a fine looking dog she was.
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Re: Loch Morar in the rain and goodbye to Tess

Postby wally » Tue May 16, 2017 10:06 am

Good post, sorry about the loss of Tess, but at least she had a good, long and happy life with you. We lost our dog a few years ago and still miss her. She managed the climb 180 Munros with us and we have lots of happy memories of her. :( :(
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Re: Loch Morar in the rain and goodbye to Tess

Postby jacob » Tue May 16, 2017 10:10 am

You brought tears to my eyes, as I had to let my Flemish shepperd go four years ago after a unwinnable battle against degenerative mylyopathie. And I still ache.
Strength to you.
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Re: Loch Morar in the rain and goodbye to Tess

Postby litljortindan » Tue May 16, 2017 1:41 pm

Well done you and Labrador Rescue -can't be any better life for a dog than being out on the hills.
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Re: Loch Morar in the rain and goodbye to Tess

Postby mrssanta » Tue May 16, 2017 1:54 pm

what a lovely tribute to a beautiful girl - the picture of her wise patient labradog face is beautiful.
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Re: Loch Morar in the rain and goodbye to Tess

Postby Hillbeback » Tue May 16, 2017 5:04 pm

My heart goes out to you knowing exactly how you will be feeling. I lost my black lab (Wee Jessie) a few years ago at nearly 13. I still miss her terribly. It helped that my friends had 2 labs that l could give cuddles to. Life would be strange without dogs. Not sure we could cope. Always enjoy reading your posts. Take care.
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Re: Loch Morar in the rain and goodbye to Tess

Postby satkins » Tue May 16, 2017 6:01 pm

What a marvelous tribute to a great companion, sorry for your loss.
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Re: Loch Morar in the rain and goodbye to Tess

Postby Andymac75 » Tue May 16, 2017 6:54 pm


Nice report.sad report.

Tess looks like she was a lovely girl.

Godspeed to your absent friend :)
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Re: Loch Morar in the rain and goodbye to Tess

Postby apollo0815 » Tue May 16, 2017 7:28 pm

My deepest regrets from germany, too. Since we have a 14 year old male Munsterlander/Setter Mix who still thinks he is two in his head, I do understand you very well.
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Re: Loch Morar in the rain and goodbye to Tess

Postby gammy leg walker » Tue May 16, 2017 8:44 pm


I'm so sorry to hear of your loss if there's any saving grace you gave Tess a wonderful life
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