Did you miss me? No post last week, which is a first for me, but things have been rather hectic on the film side. The good news is though, I did manage to get away with my best friends on an overnight hillwalking adventure a week ago.
Andrew, Pauline and I try to get away together at least twice a year, and our busy lives rarely allow us more than this. Over the Easter holidays we set off bound for the Arrochar Alps, organised by Pauline as always.
It is fair to say that both Andrew and I may be a little below par on the fitness scale, so spare a thought for our seasoned third team member, Pauline, waiting at every turn for us to catch up, listening to my moans and groans, or having to hurry us up in order to catch a train. Like reluctant teenagers we would regularly just giggle to ourselves in response. Poor Pauline.
The train station sits between the two villages of Arrochar, at the head of Loch Long, and Tarbet, on the shores of Loch Lomond. Having left the train we were faced with a wooden fence barring us from walking the woodland trail to Arrochar, due to the danger of logging activities. But we are seasoned hillwalkers, and laugh in the face of danger.
But it was Sunday, and no loggers were working.
A very pleasant couple of kilometers brought us out at the head of the loch and a view of, well, mountains covered in low cloud. It was a disappointment, as we had hoped to view the famous Cobbler, and summit the nearby peak of Beinn Narnain. The forecast promised that the following day would be clearer and brighter, so instead we headed north up Glen Loin along a forest track.
We were treated to views of various angles of the snow capped summit of Ben Lomond in the distance, with Ben Vane and Ben Vorlich (not the Lochearhead one I was reliably corrected) on our western flank.
The track was almost as good as a main road, but unfortunately that meant it was solid, and thus created a fair amount of pain in my damaged right toe with the repetitive force applied all the way along. This, naturally, fell on deaf ears of my "friends"
Up ahead was the gigantic front of Loch Sloy dam, serving the Loch Lomond-side hydro power station of the same name. As we ate up the kilometers, expecting to arrive at the dam at some point, I was unaware that we were slowly turning to the east. Eventually the track turned back on itself, and a few kilometers more we passed some distance below the dam.
Our plan was now to find a place to camp for the evening and so we headed south, past new born lambs skipping about the hillside and over the pass back toward Arrochar.
I could almost guarantee that the first spot we would stop at we would camp on. But our intrepid leader Pauline insists on scouring the local vicinity in search of that quintessential camp spot, only to always arrive back at the first spot. Confident that my bet was safe, both Andrew and I sat a while and chatted, watching the birds flit about, singing their song, and Pauline, bouncing and leaping from tussock to tussock, every further away, stopping a moment with chin in hand in contemplation, before heading to the next possible site.
Finally, we set up camp for the night, right where we had originally stopped.
Day two we all awoke with eager anticipation for clear tops and blue sky. Instead we had even lower cloud and murk. Packed up early in order to make the summit of Beinn Narnain, we headed off, much to my complaints that I thought it pointless going up in this, well, I can't repeat my comment here.
But Pauline, ever the optimist, drove the merry band on, and before long we were through Arrochar and on the path ascending toward our goal. If all else failed we would be treated to The Boulders of Narnain, Pauline promised.
We had dumped our heaviest gear, and Andrew and I agreed to share carrying the one rucksack with both our kit in. I was quietly delighted when he opted to take it on the way up, and I must have looked rather casual and reckless to others ascending the path, with apparently no gear. The mist kept teasing us, but eventually we accepted it was never going to clear, and so, as we stopped for a snack at the enormous Narnain Boulders, we took the decision to turn around.
But not before Andrew decided that more of a celebration should be made of reaching the boulders. He stood, with arms out in operatic style, and sang, in his baritone voice, as loud as he could muster, "THE BOULDERS OF NARNAIN!" holding "nain" for dramatic effect. What nearby walkers in the mist must have thought is anyone's guess. Not to be outdone, Pauline and I joined in, but with slightly less confidence than Andrew in wanting to look like a tit.
Very happy with ourselves, we descended to a local cafe in Arrochar for our reward, in celebration of our efforts and our musical prowess.
We shall return.