Sunday, October 27, 2013


Noteworthy: The best campsite in the world, a patch of magic grass directly at the old fireplace, is dry, even after tons of rain. A decent, dry, if slightly hilly emergency campsite is a few steps directly behind, off to the east. Rain brings new streams to existence which make their way down to the beach and turn almost every square inch into swamp, apart from the BCITW. It is a very remarkable spot. Glad to know it's completely isolated. I mean, apart from the obvious land rover tracks just next to it.

The exit

Every loch has an entry and an exit. Otherwise it wouldn't be a loch. It would be a nightmare. Filling with water, overflowing, flooding the entire world with brown, stinking mud. Here the place where this horror scenario is narrowly avoided. It looks quite unspectacular.

We could talk a lot about fording, but my basic rules are: Fording is great, unless you drown. Then it's not so great. in October 2013 the water slightly further down from the exit is only knee deep. In the background, K, dressed all black, wandering into an uncertain future.

The valve

Not much has changed. The entire water level in the loch was slightly higher than before, who wonders after days of rain, but not much. The valve was maybe knee-deep instead of ankle-deep. For the record, here a particularly boring picture to illustrate the situation.
This picture, taken from the northeast ridge of Carn nan Gabhar, by default now my new favourite Munro, shows the entire loch from the north and the valve in today's world:

Contrast this with the aforementioned image from October 2005, taken from almost exactly the same spot. The entire coastline around the valve seems to have exploded in winter 2005-6. What the hell happened here? We have a right to know.


This time: with K, and approach from the south. Straloch is absolutely nothing. But the valley has trees, trees with foliage and stems and everything. Apparently, planting different types of trees is some kind of pastime in the Straloch are. We also discovered a tarmac road which ends at the lodge a few miles north and passes only three or five miles from the loch. Quite a significant discovery. The future of the painless approach is here. And involves bicycles, probably.

October is different. The ferns are red. The midges are gone, hell, all insects are gone. The rivers are full with water. The loch is much colder. My feet hurt from the water. And through night and day the rutting stag make truly despicable noises. Despicable, yet surprisingly easy to imitate, especially after a bad cold.

We slept like thirty out of fourty hours at the lake. There was a lot of rain. In the remaining minutes, we managed to climb Gabhar and do some research. A weekend well spent, I would say.