Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Rain storms on the roof of Scotland.

We landed on an inlet on the west side of Eilean Balnagowan in Loch Linnhe to take advantage of a break in the rain. After an excellent luncheon, we set off to explore the island. A great deal of the hillside was covered by dense growths of brambles, which we thought would puncture our dry suits.

It was easy enough to cross the little isthmus that joins the two halves of the island. We emerged on a grassy bank behind the east beach. It Seems that the east beach belongs to the geese and the west to the gulls. The two species seemed to respect a line of demarcation that ran through the spine of the island. We saw no border disputes.

I have searched the Internet and a library of books but there is little mention of Balnagowan. Even the usually reliable Hamish Haswell-Smith dismisses it with a single mention in a sentence about a view to Ben Nevis. The only sign of antiquity was a low circle of moss and grass covered stones. It seem that poor wee Balnagowan was one of the few Scottish islands not to have been blessed by the presence of a resident Saint. Still, the staff of seakayakphoto.com have now enjoyed an excellent luncheon there!

With a following wind and gentle seas we made speedy progress across the mouth of Cuil Bay and up the coast of Appin.

Rounding a low point near Back Settlement, we gazed across the Loch to the shore side settlement of Onich and the mountains of Lochaber behind. In the distance the foothills of the Mamores were streaked with snow and disappeared into the clouds. Above their summits, lay the unseen roof of Scotland, Ben Nevis 1343m.

All the while our course was gradually bearing eastwards and as we approached Rubha nam Moine (Point of the Morass) more heavy rain showers came our way.

We were well past Rhuba Moine before the skies cleared again. I always think it is worth bringing a camera, even in bad weather. Clouds are very photogenic.