Monday, 20 September 2010

Loch Hourn ... first impressions

I have spend a life time working around mainland Scotland and know most parts pretty well, but for some reason never paid much attention to the Loch Hourn area? Perhaps it was because the magnificent Isle of Skye was not much further down the road that I seldom ventured over the high pass of Mam Ratagan into Glenelg and beyond to Arnisdale and Corran at the end of the road on Loch Hourn. I now wanted to find out if I had missed anything by not spending time in the area.

The steep climb over the Mam Ratagan pass was a little disappointing and I took no photographs. The mist was down and I saw nothing of the terrific views towards the Five Sisters of Kintail and Loch Duich. I was much luckier almost two years earlier when I last crossed the pass and took this panorama by joining three photographs together. I felt it was the only way to do justice to the scene in front of me.

I switch the cars headlights onto full beam during my misty crossing, to warn others of my presence on the steep, twisting single track road. There was no need as I never saw a soul. As I dropped height the mist started to clear revealing .... a miserable looking sodden landscape.

My mood and the clouds seemed to lift a little in the village of Glenelg when the rain finally stopped for a few moments.

Then everything closed in again as I caught my first glimpse of the outer basin of Loch Hourn. I had read that the name Hourn may be derived from the Gaelic meaning of Loch of Hell. I wasn’t for arguing over that translation on that day.

I parked up for the evening in a lay by overlooking the loch and managed to cook my dinner between the showers. I tried to look on the bright side of things. At least the wind was keeping the midges away and the forecast for the morning was to be bright and breezy. There was no sunset to photograph that night. It just got progressively darker.

The following morning, things looked a little brighter as I drove into Arnisdale for the first time in my life.

Looking over the bay I started debating with myself whether the wind had died enough to allow me to inflate my inflatable.

A few moments later a ferocious squall turned the loch from Hell into a sea of white froth in mid channel as the rain rattled horizontally displaying a double rainbow in the bright but breezy weather.

I stopped debating with myself and put my boots on. I decided I was going for a walk instead.

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