Brecklet trail- with too much imagination

Route: Brecklet Trail, Ballachulish

Date walked: 26/07/2009

It's so short and simple a walk, I told myself. Hardly deserving of a trip report...

So I decided that I must write one :D

This walk is perfect for me because when I arrive at Ballachulish my 31st waking hour has come and gone- so it goes for me on the overnight flights, never can sleep- and the remaining hours of daylight are reduced to three or four. So as soon as I get my keys from Diana I make for the Brecklet Trail with the idea of expending what little remains both of the daylight and of my energy in one wondrous effort.

The start of this walk is at the tourist info centre. Even more conveniently for me, it started from Parkview B&B's front door, across from the shinty field. I stumbled toward the field with the zombie gait of overnight-flight road-hypnosis induced exhaustion, and thankfully there was no torch-wielding crowd to take notice of my distinctively horror-movie presence. A game was in progress.

A lengthy pause here provided me my first shinty experience… and, wow! A jumbled onfield crowd of leaping bodies and flailing sticks, this way- and now that way- duck, run, cover… swing! Two men were laid out by errant blows in the minutes I watched. Is it a penalty they earn for concussing the other team members, I wondered… or is it points?? :shock:

Now that’s what I call a sport! I lingered much longer than I’d intended, and even so I was reluctant to leave. Henceforth, American football will lack something of its former intensity to me. And I am possessed of renewed relief that my oldest son’s interest lies in the calm, docile game of basketball. As for me, there shall be additional shinty match attendances in my future.
At the visitor’s center I crossed the road and entered the gate at the quarry’s entrance, devoting some minutes to stroll the path around the lochan, beneath the walls of unwanted slate, admiring nature’s impressive efforts to reclaim what she once possessed.


Mel and the council have had signboards erected to tell the history of the quarry and those who worked it. A cheer from the shinty crowd rose in the distance, but I had the quarry all to myself.
The warm air was perfectly still, the lochan reflection a perfect reciprocal image- beautiful, peaceful, serene…

Which is to say, the place was the Grand Gate to Midge Hell.

I spat an insect out, waved my hand in front of my face. Clapped a hand over one ear- dear god, did one just fly into my BRAIN????! Is such a thing possible? Better to keep moving, and save enjoyment of the quarry for another day.

Preferably a day with a stiff breeze.
Quarry lochan, with silent overseer Sgorr Dhearg:


I climbed trail above the quarry, each step revealing better views over the village, the slate, loch Leven, exposing more and more of the area’s guardian hills, up to the very best view on offer, along with a picnic table nestled improbably against the hillside as the track branches off into the trees.


Hungry after the meager airplane fare, I had contemplated use of this picnic spot as I’d set out but thoughts of stopping at the co-op for snacks had been quickly dispelled by the knowledge that had I gotten comfortable here, rested and fed myself, there was nothing substantial below that might stop me when I nodded off, slipping from the low wooden seat to commence a tumbleweed roll back down toward the quarry. While I have often thought that I’d like to see the end of my days occur in a place of immense natural beauty beneath a stunning sky; this was somewhat inconsistent with the circumstances and timeframe I’d had in mind. So no picnic here for me, this time. Onward into the forestry.

Beneath the trees, my steps slowed. I looked to the left, glanced to the right. Thick walls of trunks guided me along the shadowy path, and I kept my feet moving, my ears tuned for any sound that fell discordant with the natural rushes and rustles of forest, but there was none out of place. I had been awake too long, and over stimulated, and I’ve likely heard too many tales of women walking alone in the woods that did not end well… my imagination bounded ahead of me, expecting the headless horseman to appear at the next turn:


But for all that, it was a nice little trek through the trees, and the path emerged into beautiful greenery and ruined cottages backed by fading sunlight before angling downward into what was, for me, the highlight of the walk (though I am easily delighted by simple things): a winding path through woodland, crossing over small burns along the way and chased by the plash of waterfalls- near at times, distant at others but ever present.



At the bottom, the path deposited me on the road, and from there it was a short walk through a lovely part of the village, past cottages with red and purple blooms spilling from window boxes. Circuit completed, I returned to my room, splashed a little water on my face, and decided that hunger prevailed over exhaustion to the extent that I could allow myself time to grab a bite before releasing my hold on consciousness.

So the hour added up to: an energetic sporting event, a stroll through history, a table with a view, spooky woods. Ruins and lively waters. Quite a lot contained within a short, simple little walk. I slept then, and refueled my imagination for the next outing.

And there you have it... not so much a 'trip report' as a rambling account of my impressions of Scotland. Not certain they really belong here- if not, then I apologise for the out-of-place post! The rest are being posted on my Facebook in case anyone's interested. Ta!! :D


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Location: Washington DC
Interests: Writing; walking & ogling mountains; saving Princess Zelda & battling Supermutants.
Activity: Hill Bagger
Pub: Clachaig
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