“I’m going to the highlands at the weekend.”
“Lovely. You’ll be looking for a nice loch shore walk then.”
I went to see a physiotherapist last week. He tells me that I’ve done some damage to my Achilles. No hill-climbing until the summer. In the meantime, I have to stand on one foot with my eyes closed. Not all of the time, fortunately.
So – whilst most members of our annual Highland get-together were braving what looked to be fairly tempestuous conditions on the Tarmachan ridge, I was heading for a ‘nice loch shore’ path. I had good company in my infirmity: S was struggling with a dodgy knee and appreciated an opportunity to share a gentle stroll (and also, perhaps, the chance to hit the bar a little earlier than the others).
Having been dropped off in Killin, we followed an abandoned railway line down to the loch. In the trees beside it we saw tree-creepers, and in the leaf-litter a solitary toad.
The morning had begun very wet, and it still looked very black over the hills to the North, but directly overhead there were gaps in the cloud and blue sky beyond. We were even blessed with a little sunshine. We sat for almost an hour over a brew, sharing our passion for accumulating books, putting the world to rights and watching a cormorant, curlews and golden-eye.
The path back towards Killin, boggy in places, followed the river. Downstream of the confluence of the Dochart and the Lochay I’m not sure whether it retains one of those names or if it has already become the Tay, which it will be when it flows from the far end of the Loch at Kenmore.
With the sun shining and dark skies behind, the bare trees were looking very fine, and we paused awhile to take lots of photos.
Situated in Killin village, the falls of Dochart are well worth a look. From the road bridge I found that I couldn’t really do justice to the falls, even with my camera’s widest zoom, and wondered how a pancake lens would have coped.
From Killin we walked back to our accommodation at Suie Lodge in Luib, via the old Oban to Callander railway line. The first section has been converted into a footpath, part of the Rob Roy way, but even after that had turned to head into Glen Ogle, the disused railway bed made for easy walking with fine views and gentle slopes and just the odd fence to be straddled.
Sadly this was the last of the blue sky for quite some time. Rainbows and heavy showers were now the order of the day. We kept hoping that a long enough gap between showers would allow us to get another brew on the boil, but the chance never materialised.
Platform at Killin Junction.
Eventually, thwarted by a missing bridge over Luib Burn, we diverted down to the road for the last kilometre or so. As we arrived back the weather began to brighten again, but we opted to sit by the log fire in the hotel bar and steam gently whilst sampling some of the hotel’s selection of bottled real ales. It’s hard work this convalescence malarkey!