The day after lockdown restrictions lifted enough to exercise anywhere within a roughly 5 mile radius of home we walked to Dochgarroch and back by the canal. Only problem was it seemed like half of Inverness had the same idea. Social distancing was difficult, specially on the west side where in places the path is narrow and cyclists whizzed past from behind without warning. So for our next outing we headed for a local wee hill and didn't meet a soul apart from a chap in his 4 by 4 who spoke to us from a distance near to the summit.
The last time we were up Carn na h-Easgainn was with Kath Irvine. Kath first contacted me through this site and we subsequently spent some memorable hill days together before her life was tragically cut short on 28th May 2013, when walking alone in Torridon. I think what best sums up Kath is the day she found she had brought two left boots to climb Gairich, insisted we still go ahead and without any complaint wore the two left boots for the rest of the day!
Our first walk with Kath was 20th August 2011. I'll include some photos from that day in memory of her.
Heather in bloom
Kath and Moira at top (20th August 2011)
Trying out the facilities
Zoomed to Brin Rock (right) and Stac Gorm (left)
Faint outline of Moray Firth with Meall Mor on right
Back to 2020. We parked just before the gate with the cattle grid where there was ample room for our two cars.
Birch wood ahead
Meall Mor on other side of A9
Slight descent to the burn
Water level low after a dry April and May
Allt na Loinne Moire
Paddling pool for the dog
I don't know why it's called the hill of the eels but I told Keira to have a good look for eels in that water. She did have a look but she didn't find any.
What did you say it was I'm looking for in here?
Moira and Keira at top (1st June 2020)
My two walking pals
From our crowded tow path experience this was bliss. Sitting in sunshine under a perfect blue sky, with a pleasant breeze, no midges and surprisingly good views.... What more could we ask? Even the wind farm didn't look too bad.
Farr wind farm
Inverness and Kessock bridge
The only person we encountered was an estate worker in his landrover who called over to ask if we could keep the dog on the lead. I said yes of course, but I'd not seen any signs to that effect. He said there was a sign on the gate at the start which I hadn't noticed and on getting back checked to see. There was an acetate sheet on the gate with information in small print about the area, including the request to keep dogs under close control between April and August, which is grouse nesting season. Other ground nesting birds too but the grouse is the one they're concerned about in preparation for the shooters coming in August.
Loo with a view
Keira's recall is good but I did keep her on the lead all the way down (apart from 5 minutes when I let her into the eel pool to cool off) and she did not disturb any grouse chicks.
Loch Moy and another wind farm
In the spirit of avoiding virus transmission we agreed this had been a safer place to come than the canal. But we are in a privileged position to know about quiet places near to home and for those in inner cities it's not been so easy.
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