I try to get out every other day for a walk and I try and do a long one at least once a week. When I say long, 25km plus, into a remote area where I can look at that conditions and see the seasonal changes.
Last Wednesday I decided to head for Loch Avon via Glen Derry, Loch Etchachan and over Ben Mheadhoin coming off the north east side down to the east side of Loch Avon. A reasonable walk but I also took my bike to Derry Lodge, cutting off 10km in foot, so in total about 34km, with 970m ascent.
With the forecast saying the cloud was to lift through morning and wind really light, I knew I was in for a good day. I was only 10 minutes into my cycle along Glen Lui when I heard the call of an eagle, looking up and stopping my bike it was not that far from me, soaring around the trees just beside the path up to Clais Fhearnaig, confirming it was going to be a good day!
As I walked further up and through Glen Derry the noticeable change that struck me this time was the colour of the juniper, the green shoots seemed to stand out more against the brown of the heather. Passing by I like to pinch a piece in my fingers and smell the gin and tonic!
I stopped at the Hutchison hut for lunch before heading up to the loch and beyond. I could've sat there all day, with the place to myself and taking in the views and sounds in the sun, sheltered from the breeze. The only sounds being the cackle of grouse and the creak in the roof from the warmth of the sun.
Loch Etchachan seems to be a prime spot for ptarmigan and with my 200mm camera in hand I was pleased to pick up a couple of good photos on my way up the hill. As you travel up the hill the views of the loch really open up, as do the views over the whole area. And when you reach the flat spot you can really pick out the mountains far and wide. I passed the barns (granite tors shaped by the wind and ice) and headed over to the north side to get a better view into Loch Avon, enjoying every step.
My walk back took me close to the Fords of Avon refuge, past the Dubh Lochan and through the Lairig an Laoigh, back to Glen Derry. I picked up my bike and nearly rode over an adder on my way back which would've spoilt fantastic day!
I'm out walking most weeks, contact me if you'd like to join one of my longer explorer walks or look at my event calendar.