Archive for Black Mount

Black Mount Bivvy

Posted in Hiking, Hills with tags , , , , , on December 23, 2016 by Jinja Coo

Drive up and down the A82 often enough and you soon realise that the views towards the Black Mount hills and the lochs in the foreground are a very popular stopping point for those with a camera. How often does does such postcard scenery coincide with a layby (some don’t even bother with the laybys)? Throughout the year and in all but the worst weather thrown at the place, there is no need to walk far to get a stunning view.

We headed into the area below the hills with a mind to catching up and enjoying a wintry bivvy somewhere with a lot of scenery but not too far to carry in fuel for warmth.

Like all trips on days selected months ahead, there were plan B’s in case the weather didn’t make this a good option, but thankfully they can wait for another time – the forecast bode well and was consistent for the days either side.

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That said, it did start misty and our destination was hidden as we walked in via a surprisingly good path, across an otherwise very boggy area. Occasional glimpses of the higher ground ahead of us and the nearest water to our side soon increased in frequency, largely clearing to give more extensive views by the time we met up with the old military road comprising part of the West Highland Way.

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A lone West Highland Way walker – perhaps there were others – passed whilst we were getting setup and voices we heard the following day suggested others walking the long distance route too.

Time was taken to get the tarp rigged so that our firebox and sleeping space would be arranged ideally for the long night ahead. Then it was time to relax and enjoy the surroundings. By now the mist around us was gone and only clung in pockets to the lowest ground in the distance, highlighting edges and bumps, which would otherwise have blended seamlessly into their surroundings.

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Darkness and temperatures fell together, but the fire kept us comfortable all night until we turned in with starry skies above us. We woke to a grey sky but views of the hills were clear showing fresh snow having fallen on higher ground through the night.

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Our route out was less direct, getting up close and personal at times with the bog, as we aimed to see more of the water in the area close up, but the lie of the land hid a lot of it from us. In such a flat landscape, even just a few feet higher up would afford great views and a route linking together the surrounding small hills (Beinn Chaorach and Meall Beag) should make an ideal outing with spectacular views over this much photographed landscape.

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Reflections on Loch Ba

Posted in Open Canoe, Paddling with tags , , , , on November 19, 2013 by Jinja Coo

A good forecast midweek had been deteriorating as the days drew nearer to a planned trip on Loch Ba on Rannoch Moor. However, the drive up was stunning, a starry sky brightening all the way and a full moon acting like a beacon, drawing me northwest through misty glens until it eventually set ahead of me. As I drove through Tyndrum the view in my side mirror caught my attention with the Crianlarich hills behind me poking through mist and the sun just rising above, gorgeous but I was too focused on getting up the road on time to get out and enjoy the view.

I had been planning to meet Chris who has paddled in the area with me here earlier in the year on Loch Laidon to explore Loch Ba and fulfill long standing intentions, but to my (nice) surprise it was not him I saw first by the car as I arrived, but another friend Sean, who I have not seen or caught up with for 20+ years.

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It was a bit more overcast than expected but still bright and we had a lovely light on the water, and in such an open setting with views of mountains all around us, it really was not disappointing at all.

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Soon the three of us headed of, at first through channels between islands, then across a bigger expanse of water. At times there was barely a breath of wind and the surface of the water had nice reflections of the trees, rocks and mountains in the distance reflected on it. Our destination was the top of the river draining Loch Ba in to Loch Laidon, the Abhainn Ba.

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Lunch here and a little play on the first section of the river for me, but I decided not to run the whole thing (next time!) as it would have meant Chris and Sean would have been waiting around longer, and of course, what goes down must come back up, which would entail hard work dragging the boat back to Loch Ba over 2.5km of heather and that didn’t seem appealing either.

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On the return leg, with arguably better views ahead of us, we stopped at Eilean Molach to explore this idyllic, tree and moss covered island which offers plenty of options for camping and easy landing on little sandy beaches. The only downside is the surprising volume of the traffic noise from the A82.

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Arriving back at the bridge, Sean got out and Chris and I decided to head up the river, pulling and scraping our way up small rapids, to try and explore the body of water lying closest to the Black Mount, Lochan na Stainge. It was not to be though, rounding a bend an ominous rumble suggested harder work ahead and sure enough a fall of about 1m height barred any further motivation in pursuit of this. Perhaps another day!

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This piece of water is still appealing to me and a loop involving a portage to somewhere else I paddled previously, Lochan na h-Achlaise, could be done with some portaging of boats. Maybe one to do when snow on the ground would make dragging easier, I do fancy a camp beneath the mountains there even though I know with the A82 so close, it will not be a quiet spot.