I had taken Friday as a holiday with no real agenda in mind other than to get the hell away from the office. On the night before departure I found myself staring at my collection of maps. Not open maps mind you. They remained closed on a shelf, I pulled them out reading the spines and the back. On one of them, the name Kinlochleven popped out. “Of course!”, I keep telling myself to visit there. I’ve never been and there was a hike I always wanted to complete nearby.
So I left Glasgow on a sunny Friday morning, not too early as I wanted to avoid rush hour. It was a holiday weekend, so the roads were going to be busy anyway.
I shot up the A82 and passed Loch Lomond, Glencoe and into Ballachullish for some supplies and a quick visit to the tourist information for some inspiration. I set off across the metal bridge and down the northern banks of Loch Leven.
Although I’d driven over and past this loch for years and years, I had never explored down its shores. It turned out to be weather made for exploring with a near cloudless sky.
I pulled over and ventured down to the shoreline, taking some shots with my old Canon AE-1 film camera. The views back across to Inverse and Glencoe beyond were awesome with Creag Dubh towering above everything and the Pap of Glencoe looking resplendent. I returned to the car and shot a little time-lapse only for it to capture a huge military transport plane flying low over the loch. A remarkable piece of timing on their part. You can see for yourself in the video at the end of this post.
I continued on down the loch side, stopping and starting, finally making it into a small car park in Kinlochmore with the signpost for Grey Mare’s Waterfall. Now, there are a few Grey Mare’s Tail waterfalls and I was unaware of this one until I took the short forested walk to the site. 400 metres later I was shuffling along some wooden planks that had been bolted to the rock face. These were part of a larger via ferrata system that worked its way up and around the cliff face to the top of the waterfall. There was no way I would attempt that on my own!
I made do with the pebble covered spit of land at the base of the beautiful cataract. A slight spray was coming off what I assume was a smaller fall of water than usual as there had been no rain for almost a week. I took photos for myself before a couple arrived to break my isolation. They requested I take their photos, which I was happy to do before they left me alone again.
It was now early evening and I took a drive into Kinlochleven before aiming for Fort William for something to eat and edit some video I had shot on my phone.While I had good internet in the Grog and Gruel, I searched for details on the hike up to Sgùrr Eilde Mòr, a walk which I had been thinking of doing for a while. It looked like a long one, but what else would I be doing tomorrow?
By 11 o’clock in the evening I was back on the road with a coffee, looking for a lay-by to pull into for the night. It was a short journey back to Kinlochleven and by the time I’d pulled out my sleeping bag and opened my laptop for some editing, my eyelids were dropping and I was soon out like a light.