Tuesday 29 May 2012


30c and too hot to be on land. We put the canoe into the loch at the bottom of the garden and slide  gently along the waters edge
our house, poking out through the trees. I was impressed, it seems to stand on its own, but we do have neighbours on either side, just hidden from view
It's a privilege I know to have all this at the end of the garden, and we are very aware of how fortunate we are
 upside down trees slip by as we meander towards the head of the loch

and we look down into a silent beautiful cool underwater seaweed world
the loch is tidal and the tide is just about to turn and head back out to sea
the river runs into the loch at Clachan - a tiny hamlet consisting of one or two houses a church (in the picture) and a farm
last week I peddled to clachan
this week I paddled - no, that wouldn't be true. I was 'paddled' - if one can say that? I just sat in front of the canoe taking pictures
Here is the paddler. We get as far as we can go. I get out of the canoe and take more pictures
We bought this Canadian canoe more than twenty years ago. It's been brilliant, great when the children were younger, and now great when we are children! The water was only about 2 inches deep at this point but I slipped getting back into the canoe and sat down in the water with a bump!
we turn round and head back home. The tide is with us but the wind has picked up slightly
noisy Oyster Catchers take off 
 and a seal pops up to see what all the fuss is about - he was extremely camera shy.
home comes into view and we just need to struggle back up the garden. I need a shower and some dry clothes! But it was a perfect way to spend a very hot and sunny morning 

Sunday 6 May 2012

On the level

We have some friends coming to stay in July. She is very happy to walk, but would rather walk on the level.     
We go in search of level, which isn't so easy here in the highlands
We decide  here would be good.  The river Gruinard is just six miles long and is a salmon fishing river.
Salmon do swim uphill and jump up waterfalls, but I think they'll be able to just cruise along here - so will our friends, hopefully
The path undulates with only little ups and downs.
The Salmon have lots of bends and corners to swim round
At times we leave the river behind, but we stay on the level, more or less
Streams criss cross the track on their way to join the river
It is so beautiful and big and empty - not a soul (nor salmon)  in sight.
Flowers I can't identify. It looks like a sort of eye bright with lettuce leaves. I've searched the wild flower books but can't find anything like it. It's very tiny and I have to lie on the track to photograph it.
I hear my first cuckoo somewhere in those trees
Just us and the river
It rushes and gurgles. It's crystal clear. 
At times the track turns into a pond
 and I'm glad I wore my walking boots.
Just round the next bend and we must come to the loch
One or two rowing boats - for the fishermen we think.
completely deserted
The river flows out from Loch na Sealga
This is so incredibly beautiful and peaceful
I can see a common sandpiper feeding on the opposite shore through binoculars.
This is stunning. Every view point is magical
and nobody here
I realise later I've seen this loch before from a different vantage point. Two years ago I took this photo looking down on Loch na Sealga from Cadha Goghlach on An Teallach. We won't bring our friends up here - it's quite a lot of  uphill from what I remember!
On the way back to the car, I feed a crumb of my shortbread biscuit to some very tiny tadpoles in a puddle. They would probably rather have had a chicken leg or something, but they gathered  round in a sort of feeding frenzy. They really were very little and I wondered their chances of survival should the puddle start to dry up
My dear husband has learnt to deal with the time it takes while he waits for me to feed tadpoles, roll around on the path with my camera and generally faff about.
This was a lovely walk. Level, beautiful, sunny, interesting and a little step into what  remains a wilderness area. Maybe not so much with the rowing boats!  but once beyond loch na Sealga it really does become very remote.
We are taking a journey down south this coming week, to see friends and family. We have a birthday party to go to, and I'm determined to spend a day in Brighton - just for the contrast!
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