Friday, 6 October 2017

Glenfinnan to the sea

It's been a while. I had a feeling that blogging had died, but by popular request (OK, 2 people), I thought I would give it a go again.
Back in July there were 3 days when it didn't rain. I took the opportunity to do a classic round trip from fresh to sea water. The Glenfinnan Hotel gives an easy launch spot for Loch Sheil. It also gives the only practical car parking in this tourist hot spot, for a small fee.
You don't have to go far to get away from the crowds, and a short evening paddle took me to a pretty campsite. I didn't see much of it, as the midge density was extreme. Entering my tent involved airlock procedures that Tim Peake would recognise from his space walk expeditions

 In the morning I had to get on the water quickly to avoid the beasts. Next stop was Eilean Fhianain for a visit to the ancient burial ground. Centuries old headstones are mixed with very modern ones, and the ancient bell, said to be a thousand years old, still rings clear. It's a place for contemplation.

This trip begins in a mountainous trough, opens out into a broad strath, then winds down a lovely river to the sea. I don't have many pictures of the in between bit, unfortunately. The river exiting Loch Sheil finishes with a significant drop into the salty water. It was low tide when I arrived, and I hummed and hawed for a bit before deciding I couldn't be bothered portaging this. A short blast down a powerful grade 2 rapid ensued. I rather wished that my head was protected by something more than a sun hat.
It felt good to be back in the briny, but shortly before exiting Loch Moidart a strange sensation came over me. A bizarre sense of unease came out of the water, and I wondered if I was having a panic attack. My head began to beat alarmingly. As I progressed along, I finally realised that I was being assaulted by the enormously powerful bassline of some music.
Turning a corner I found, on a remote and inaccessible beach, an industrial size generator and a loudspeaker that was about 3 metres tall. It was playing rap, so I didn't approach too closely. How and why it was there, I don't know.

I stopped early at a lovely campsite that will be well known to paddlers who use the area. Glorious turf and a glorious view. I pitched my tent for the view, rather than for shelter. This was a mistake as a wind direct from the north pole blew up.

There was a brief burst of colour as the sun set.

An early start in the morning allowed me to reach Arisaig in time for the train back to Glenfinnan. Harry Potter's engine was there when I arrived, with a host of muggles surrounding it.

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