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Looking Good

This fabulous photo of the Ben and the Loch is by Dene Thomson.

ben

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It’s been a long cold lonely winter…..

A few signs that spring is grudgingly springing here in West Central Scotland.

Yesterday saw my first boat launch of the season. I just had a new steering cable fitted to the outboard. The motor hadn’t been run for about 8 months and I wondered if it would catch. On the third pull of the chord it fired up and provided me with a good morning’s spring boating.

Mind you I’m glad I went out at 7:30 because by midday, winter was setting in again.

I got some photos:

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I’ve got to admit it’s getting better

Yet more proof of spring developing.

The Ben last evening about 6pm:

No bad for a mini digital camera.

DSCF4250

Has spring sprung?

I gave the grass at Bigrab Towers its first cut of the year on Sunday. Well the clocks had gone forward to British Summer Time and although it was cold, it was dry.

I passed by Ben Lomond three times yesterday. In the morning this was the wintry scene:

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But by lunchtime, this rather more Easter like view greeted me:

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One can but hope.

I hereby tentatively declare that spring is here.

The Berries

Enjoying the second week of my staycation and finally yesterday was the opportunity to get the boat out for a whole day as the weather was promising.

Sometimes I think I have enough photos of Loch Lomond but I had the wee pocket camera just in case. I also took out the guitar and moothie. I have a solo slot at a gig on Friday and this was an opportunity to rehearse without annoying anyone.

I got my best ever view of a pair of ospreys as they accompanied me for about a mile on the journey north. They nest on the island of Inchconnachan. I got a superb view of them through the binoculars but unfortunately they were out of range for a decent photo.

En route to Inchlonaig island, I took this shot of Inchgalbraith with its ruined medieval castle.

Later as I strummed at the north end of Inchlonaig, it wasn’t long before I got another photo opportunity. The Loch Lomond Seaplane seemed to swoop lower than usual. I think I may have caught the pilot announcing “and if you look down to your left, you can see some eejit playing a guitar”

Inchlonaig means “Island of the Yew tree”. Yews are low, densely branched trees. Because of the long thick branches the wood was ideal for making bows, arrows and spears. Inchlonaig was the source of the material for most of the weapons at the Battle of Bannockburn and therefore probably the first centre of munitions production in Scotland.

One of the Inchlonaig yews (this photo taken on an earlier visit)

Many kings and dukes also visited Inchlonaig to go deer hunting.

The island is uninhabited most of the time although there is one holiday home:

When I say holiday home it has bars on the windows, no mains electricity, water or gas but it does have its own private jetty.

There’s another ruined cottage which you can see here from the shade of a yew tree:

Also on my walk I got this view of Ben Lomond


No need to go hungry either. The place is carpeted in blaeberries.

The wind had got up a bit on the way back so the wee boat (and me) were buffeted a bit on the way back to Balloch.

Still it was a rather excellent wee jaunt.

Scenic

I’m nothing if not predictable.

A day off.

Out on the boat.

Photo: AnElephantCant

We went to Inchcailloch which I have written about many times before.

We visited the ancient burial ground.

This is the grave of the Clan Chief of the MacGregors, Gregor McGregor, buried in the grounds of the 13th century church.

I can’t find too much information about Gregor MacGregor but readers may be more familiar with his nephew Raibeart Ruadh MacGregor – otherwise Red Robert but perhaps more commonly known as Rob Roy

Inchcailloch, along with the islands of Torrinch, Creinch and Inchmurrin form part of the Highland fault line. These are the latter islands photographed from the former today.

And on the way out, this was Inchmurrin with Ben Lomond in the background:

Glorious

There is nothing quite like a good walk on a clear spring day. Yesterday morning the sun was shining even though there was ice on the car windscreen.

It was a toss up between a walk and a canoe trip.

Having had nagging back trouble over the last couple of weeks, the walk was the gentler option.

I’ve written before about the climb at Ben Bouie. A forestry road takes you right to the top, where the views of the firth of Clyde and Loch Lomond are more than ample reward for the 1 hour each way walk.

It was a good day for photos:

View from the ridge. Greenock, Bute, Cumbrae and Arran.

You can just see Ardmore point on the left, Greenock straight ahead and that is Arran in the distance.

Only a few hundred yards from the point I took this, at the other side of the hill is the quite different vista of Loch Lomond:

Ben Lomond, Loch Lomond and Islands.

Inchmurrin, Creinch, Torrinch, Inchcailloch, Clairinsh and Conic Hill. Aka the Highland fault line.