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Published: September 6th 2009
Foyers first fing
After a dark night I awoke in a room with a view
Well, it's been a long time since I wrote a blog, or at least it feels like it. Apart from a brief trip to New York for work at the end of March, I've had a long summer of no holidays and work, work, work. Still, as autumn nears and the nights draw in, it's time for the holidaying to begin.
First up was a quick trip up to Scotland to do some walking, being a bit fond of the old mountain vistas it was nice to get a chance get out of the flatlands and get some scenery.
Destination was Foyers on the east side of Loch Ness, where my friend Maureen has a house complete with a cute dog to walk, what could be better!
Being super eco-friendly, I took a plane up to Inverness enjoying my first ever internal flight in the UK, seemed a bit strange to fly and end up in the same country and landed at the nice little airport of Inverness. Naturally, it being a Saturday night, we passed on the fun of the nightlife in Inverness and headed off to stock up at the local supermarket. I finally got the sense
Red red rowan
You can make jam with these, one for Ray Mears perhaps.
that I was in a slightly different country when the announcement came over the tannoy at 9.55pm to warn us that if we wanted to buy any alcohol, we had to go to the checkout before 10pm, I was slightly taken aback and pegged it off to the nearest till.
A shortish (well, might have got a bit lost) drive in the very dark dark we arrived at Foyers where I was introduced to the delightful Corrie, slightly crazy but a very sweet dog.
Next morning I awoke to a lovely view from the window looking out towards the mountains near Loch Ness and felt ready to do my best Ray Mears/Bear Grylls/Survivorman impression and take to the hills. The plan was to take Corrie out for a bit of a stroll and do a short walk around Foyers and go up the hill behind the village. We set off through the woods and found the first of many heather clad lochs. Corrie had a nice trick of whacking the back of your knees with a stick, I soon learnt to walk behind him, crazy dog.
I had been mocked the previous day for having a compass/whistle key
A wee loch
It's a damp country, I think the expression is 'boggin'.
ring bought for my adventures in Tibet. I’d only bought it as I’m a bit of a geek, but as we walked through the forest we heard a loud whistle, apparently this is a well know rescue technique, so it seems my whistle isn’t so stupid after all! Of course we didn’t really know what to do, so we whistle back and yelled but didn’t seem to get much response. Turns out it was a seeker deer making the noise, just as well as we didn’t really try and rescue the distressed animal and walked on. Seems that they have been responsible for many a false alarm for mountain rescue, apparently it’s 6 short blasts on the whistle if you need help, one to remember for the future. Still, there would be time to play the heroes the next day.
Walking on, we made a bit of a wrong turn and accidently took an extra few miles detour via the small village of Inverfairgaig. Sadly we hadn’t packed many supplies and were considering the options of wild berries and mushrooms for lunch. Finally a few hours late, we made it home in time for some roast venison, mmm, Bambi
Waiting for someone to throw his stick, he looks very cute!
Day two and time for another walk, this time over the loch and up Meal Fuar-mhonaidh (no, I don’t know how to say it either). A peak of 699m, not quite as fair a distance as we’d walked the day before but as it was up quite a lot, it was a bit more tiring but at least this time we’d packed enough food to last a day or two. The weather wasn’t quite as hot and sunny as those left behind in London were experiencing, but we had great views over the loch towards Foyers and up towards Inverness and the sea. It was a bit ‘boggin’ (or ‘squaddy’ if you are from Lincolnshire) allowing me to practice my balletic leaps over the wet ground, luckily I managed to stay upright and dry.
Finally as the peak was close the weather closed in and the rain started, spoiling the alleged views over some Munroes. So we headed back down just in time for the weather to clear up. Having gotten to the hill a bit late we were the last to leave the car park and headed home. As we drove along the road a
View from the top #1
First glimpse of Loch Ness, worth hacking through the bracken.
woman jumped out in to the road to wave down the car, looks like we were going to get a chance to rescue someone afterall. Some young German backpackers had got in to a bit of trouble and one was rather sick, so we squeezed them in the car and drove them to the nearest town, what heros!
Final day and time for one last walk around a local estate and up another hill. Seems you can roam pretty much anywhere in Scotland, so there’s none of this ‘get orff my laaand’ business which is rather good. Of course, when we got to the top the rain started again, I could possibly be jinxed!
Ah well, it was all good exercise, Scotland is very pretty, just like Wales but bigger (as I suspect New Zealand is or any other mountainous region really) back to the big city to round off the summer with a bit more cricket (see how I sneaked in some Ashes pictures here for all the Australians out there). That’s all folks, off to Japan in October for a non-mountainous adventure (oh ok, I’ll be sneaking in Fuji).
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