Now that 2016 is in full swing and the excesses of Christmas and New Year are but a distant memory I thought it was time to blow away the cobwebs, dust off the hiking gear and go hunt us down some hills and snow.
Edinburgh has had an utterly depressing winter with rain, wind and endless grey sky days, so on Saturday we decided to escape the confines of the concrete jungle to soak up the spectacular Scottish mountain scenery by pretty Loch Lubnaig and hopefully find us some snow. The weather forecast for the region had given us hope that we might find a light dusting if we were lucky.
Consulting the Walk Highlands website (my hiking bible) I’d picked us a trail up a modest wee mountain called Beinn an t-Sidhein. The beinn looms majestically over the pretty village of Strathyre which sits within the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park.
We arrived in a cold and wintery Strathyre and found it had been snowing – yippee. Our trail climbed steeply, up through magical Narnia esque woodland (no lampposts or fawns spotted) and when we emerged on more open hillside it was clear that more snow, as in MUCH more snow was fast approaching, contrary to what the weather man had led us to believe!
The steep hike in falling snow set the nagging, safety conscious voice in my head off on one. It kept telling me I was going to slide right off that hillside if I climbed any higher. Then I remembered there was a little parcel in my rucksack that I’d collected from the post office earlier that morning. Inside were a pair of Kahtoola Microspikes. I popped them over my hiking boots and instantly I was as sure footed as a mountain goat. I tried not to show just how smug I was feeling as I could see Mr G was quite obviously impressed and envious at my well timed new purchase. I pretended not to notice as he slipped around like Bambi on ice.
We quickly gained height, despite the snow and after a short time we reached a fine viewpoint. It was beautifully dramatic standing there on the hillside watching Loch Lubnaig and the landscape below us disappear, as heavy snow clouds rolled in. I absolutely love snow and the magical light it casts. I lovr the muffled sound and stillness. The crisp, crunch underfoot and the feeling of being cocooned like there’s no one else on the planet.
The Wee White Dug was in his element as snow isn’t something he’s seen much of during his time on this planet. He charged around like a lunatic sniffing out scents, rolling around with his legs in the air and raced uphill like a Westie possessed.
After a while we decided to turn and retrace our fast, disappearing footprints back downhill. Snow bring my inner child out with a vengeance, transporting me back to the snowy winters of my childhood. The fresh snow was just too tempting for me to resist so I made snow angels as Mr G looked on bemused, his inner child nowhere to be seen! Apparently he’s never made a snow angel before – like ever!
I must confess I’m a terrible wife – it hadn’t escaped my attention that Mr G’s descent from the hill wasn’t proving to be quite as effortless as mine, thanks to my new microspikes. I secretly enjoyed watching him slipping and sliding, cautiously downhill.
We play this game in our marriage where I suggest he buys useful things like microspikes for example. Things that will make life easier and safer for him. The game generally pans out with me benefitted greatly from my new purchase, while he insists he doesn’t need said item.
Past examples of this are when he didn’t need hiking boots for a holiday on the Isle of Mull then slipped in a muddy puddle full of tadpoles whilst wearing unsuitable footwear. I sniggered on the sly for a good hour afterwards.
Come to think of it there seems to be a footwear theme emerging here, as another example springs to mind from a holiday in Nice, back in 2010. I’d bought a cheap pair of beach shoes called Skippers as it was a pebble beach. Mr G didn’t need a pair as he could walk fine on pebbles – apparently! Watching him hobble painfully to his sun lounger then off to the Skipper shop in a rage 5 minutes later was hilarious.
So I’m placing a bet here on Mr G being the proud owner of some shiny new microspikes any day now.
All in all it was a really enjoyable walk and one we’ll definitely do again in summer – hopefully with sunshine and some amazing views. It’ll take some to top the wintry beauty of this day though.
We finished our fun day out with lunch at the dog friendly Lade Inn at Kilmahog. Their hot coffee, homemade soup, warm toasted baguettes and roaring log fire were just what we needed after our snowy adventure. The wee dug warmed his tummy by the fire as we tucked into lunch. We both agreed that the highlight of lunch were the delicious chocolates (made by the chef) which came with our coffees – to die for!
Back in Edinburgh later that evening we unwound over a couple of glasses of wine and decided that one wonderful snowy day simply wasn’t going to be enough, so we made plans to track down more snow the next day.
I didn’t think we’d be able to top the beauty of this day out but I was wrong. That’s another story though and I’ll share it with you soon.
Until next time ……….