Sunday, 8 November 2009
The Steeple,Cnoc Coinnich,Beinn Reithe and Argyll´s Bowling Green.
At long last a shift to the other seaboard! Yee ha! Best sunshine to the west.
So,parked at the large car park by the waters edge in the small village of Lochgoilhead.O.S. map 56.The first car of the morning as it was just after 9.30am.
Stepping out the car we cast four shadows this time.Myself,Alex ,our pal Gavin and wee dog Millie.
We set off up the hill past the public toilets on a cracking morning. Clear, still, warm in the sun,chilly in the shade.Driving up yet again a full blown inversion effect lay over Loch Lomond and its many islands and yet again we drove straight past with me howling, trying to climb out the window of Alex´s car.
Yet again you will just have to imagine dear readers what a photographer of my ability would have captured if allowed five minutes of finger work on a small nearby hill as we zoomed non stop past this tree covered golden archipelago rising out of a sea of drifting cloud.
As it turned out we needed all the time available but I was still gutted as perfect inversions like this are rare indeed for the Sunday snapper. To drive past two in the space of a month is beyond words!
So, up the hill we go following a well made path towards the Steeple.A steep little peak looming above the village.
On the way up we passed a bunch of kids abseiling down a hanging slab of rock,this being a popular spot for outdoor groups to train.
Managed to get a picture above them of two different types of outdoor pursuits as kayaking was going on down in the bay below.
The path ended at this crag leaving us to find our own route to the summit slabs.This peninsula is also known as Argyll´s Bowling Green,a sarcastic tribute as there is hardly a flat surface anywhere.They may not be the highest peaks but they are hard going and very up and down.
This may explain why I arrived on the summit of the Steeple 20 minutes later while Gavin and Alex, who had been deep in conversation topped out on a different lesser peak nearby.It was a fair drop between them so they never made the effort to come over for what was after all just a satellite peak.
Next up roller coaster contours led to Cnoc Coinnich which had a near vertical ring of small crags round the summit.It was the steepest way up a hill I´ve had for some time.On top we admired the views.Snow coated hills to the north,sparkling waters of the Firth of Clyde and islands to the south.
We were treated to the sight of Gavin throwing a yellow ball over the edge of the slab for Millie to fetch.No hesitation on her part running down steep ground,half Jack Russel, half grey squirrel.
I for one didn't fancy coming down this same way and opted (with Gavin and Millie) to exit off via a deceptively gentle gully to the west while Alex took the direct route off the edge hands in pockets.When will I ever learn about gullies?.
After a few steep awkward detours on grass ledges we found Alex off in the distance ahead.He waved and we lost sight of him until the summit trig.He looked smug as its not often he gets ahead by this much and was well rested.Took this pic of him and trig.
Even better views south from this hill.Coulport and Faslane prominent as was the chimney at Hunterston power station.
It was getting quite late by now and the sun was sinking low so we lost no time zooming straight off this summit towards the loch weaving a zigzag line through the dank conifer forest to find a path, the purpose made balcony trail (mountain bike or walking route) which led back to the village.A much nicer path exists low down along the lochside but its now getting overgrown as this one takes over and less people use the original route via Beach (a house). Pity as its a better walk up the hill I think.
We got back as it was getting dark to a lovely reflection of twinkling lights around the loch.
A smashing day out with good company.Nuff said.
PS: Alex is in Spain this week. Lucky bugger! He,lll be back Sunday.No doubt with tales of epic proportions.