Thursday, 8 September 2011

Thursday 8th September

I’m starting in reverse tonight while the recent event of my evening meal is still fresh in my mind. I had a most excellent Indian meal, equal to the one I had last year in Kirkwall, Orkney, with my friend John Needham. What is it about Indian restaurants in Scotland! I started out the only customer on the second floor but within twenty minutes every table was taken. I had an excellent Balti and Paswani Nan and a glass of wine, and had change from £25.
On the subject to food, I omitted to say about last nights offering. Having got into a whisky ‘tasting’ session with my new Dutch friends, I realised I had not eaten. We had discussed various likes and dislikes, but was surprised they had not tasted Haggis. It just so happened the pub menu offered Haggis. It was an unfair bet really - not many people I know like Haggis, and my Dutch friends were no different. I got to eat it all.

So, what did I do today? I met Angus the Ranger as planned on a lay-by on the B8008 near Morar (not as remote as it sounds). He had prepared two O.S maps for me detailing some short walks, one around Loch Morar, and another nearer to Mallaig. He was then off to see his consultant in Edinburgh to discuss his recent medical results. I whished him sincere best wishes, and hoped the outcome would not be as bad he imagined.

I walked a shot distance around Loch Morar, then drove to the second site he had given me. This was a kilometre walk along a gritted path flanked by peat bogs and marsh land, but lead eventually to Loch an Nostarie - another picturesque Loch surrounded by stunning green Munros.

Further on, Mallaig, the harbour port for the ferry to Skye, is quaint, but not over interesting. What was interesting were the Silver Sands, a small sandy bay near Morar - a match for any Mediterranean coastline. (see today’s pics)

After hearing the 12.55pm weather forecast for tomorrow on Radio 4, I brought forward my trip to the Aonach Mor cable car ride. Travelling over 3000 mtrs by cable car, or gondolas as they prefer, and not seeing anything because of bad weather, was not an option. The fifteen minute ride allowed me to see some wonderful scenery called the Ben Nevis range. The only disappointment was the wooden ski facility at the top; reminiscent of a motorway service station.
One popular pursuit there is extreme mountain biking. The guys (and girls I assume) load their bikes on the back of the cable car, and cycle back down along specially designed routes which vary in difficulty, much like the snow runs.
I would very much like to see the whole area again in the winter, when all around me the lush green will be transformed to white.

Tomorrow I head further inland, into the heart of the central highlands, the Cairngorms National Park, where I hope to see some signs of wildlife. I have yet to see an eagle, buzzard, stag, otter or even highland cattle.

Also I get to see my first of four Blas concerts - bring it on. . .

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