Wednesday, 28 January 2015
In the bleak midwinter - drinking in the view
We were really glad to paddle from shade into bright sunshine, although the temperature remained stubbornly below zero it just felt a bit warmer. The view across to the Glencoe hills began to open up, Bidean nam Bian on the right of this image is almost a miniature mountain range complete with ridges, summits, spurs and corries.
To the north of Loch Leven the Corbett of Mam na Gualainn rises almost from the shore and was in brilliant sunshine - it was a marvellous morning to be on the water!
My own view ahead had an unaccustomed element in the shape of a Flat Earth Kayak Sail neatly furled along the foredeck - of which more in future posts......
The prominent peak of the Pap of Glencoe ("pap" indicating a breast-like shape; the Gaelic names are very descriptive!) is one of those hills which has a presence much greater than its size would suggest. At 742 metres/2434 ft it's really an outlier of the grand ridge of the Aonach Eagach which walls in the north side of Glencoe, but it has views to equal most of the higher mountains and is one of the most recognisable of Scottish hills.
After a couple of hours of paddling in this amazing scenery we spotted a shingle beach with some convenient rocks in full sun - the vote for first luncheon was unanimous! As luncheon stops go, this one ranks in the first division for the superb view back across the loch to Beinn a'Bheithir......
.....we drank in the view as we drank our coffee; all of us so glad to be out paddling on this cracker of a day. We weren't the only kayakers to be enjoying a fine winter day either; our friends Duncan and Joan had been unable to join us at Ballachulish but had siezed the chance for a paddle on Loch Tay amongst some simply beautiful mountain scenery.
We packed away and left the beach, heading up the loch with dazzling views on either side. We knew that we'd paddle back into the freezing shade later on, but right now we just enjoyed the sunshine.