Never ones to resist a road trip, Mr G and I decided to book a last minute, overnight stay in Onich to celebrate Valentine’s Day. The village of Onich hugs the shore of the picturesque Loch Linnhe in the Scottish Highlands. We’d convinced ourselves that we’d be mad not to go away given the excellent hiking trails to be found in the area. So, last weekend we bundled into the car with the Wee White Dug and headed to Onich through rain, snow and finally sunshine – don’t you just love Scottish weather!
I’d already chosen our hike for the day. A 10 mile, round trip which was part of the final leg of the West Highland Way. It would take us along an old military road, which sits in a rugged, remote valley. I’d become fixated by photographing the ruined croft at Tigh-na-Sleubhaich. We parked at the village of Kinlochleven on the banks of Loch Leven, and set off along the signposted West Highland Way route. The scenery got more breathtaking with every step, as we climbed steeply up and out of Kinlochleven. As the views opened up Loch Leven looked spectacular stretching out below us.
He makes me laugh, as he often stops at viewpoints and stares off whimsically into the distance, as if he’s taking in the scenery.
As we neared the 5 mile mark of our hike Mr G was getting as twitchy as a bag of frogs. I knew he was angling to conclude our walk and get back to the hotel to watch the 6 Nations Rugby which was on TV. I feigned ignorance! He began to mutter about the blasted ruin being nowhere to be seen. I was undeterred. Nothing gets in the way of me and a good ruin. It turned out to be worth the effort. It was beautiful and poignant, sitting there abandoned in that stunning, remote valley. Rusting old farm equipment lay nearby, hinting at a way of life now lost.
Even grumpy Mr G seemed to be subdued by the beauty of the place. He happily snapped photos, and for a couple of minutes he forgot all about the rugby.
As we began our return journey the wind got up and it blew a hoolie throughout much of our 5 mile trek back to Kinlochleven. Apparently, if I hadn’t been hell bent on extending our outward walk by an extra 10-15 minutes to see the ruined cottage we’d have missed the wind! Go figure – 5 miles in 10-15 minutes. Clearly Mr G has no concept of how much ground you can cover in that short time.
As we neared the end of our walk and descended towards Kinlochleven, the Devil’s Staircase looming behind the village caught my eye. It struck me that I must be some kind of Valentine’s weekend masochist, as I remembered my last visit to Kinlochleven. It was for Valentine’s weekend 2015 to climb the Devil’s Staircase. Oh how I cursed my way up that hellish, steep path.
We finished our hike with a well earned lunch at the MacDonald Hotel in Kinlochleven. It was dug friendly, with a roaring log fire and views to die for. It also had chips and chilli on the menu – perfect comfort food after a long hike.
Later that afternoon, at the Lodge on the Loch, our Onich hotel the Wee Dug got his reward. A toasty, tummy and snooze by the roaring log fire in the hotel lounge. I enjoyed a nice glass of wine and a mountain view. And Mr G? Well, apoplectic with rage to find I’d booked us into a hotel with a TV free residents lounge he’d flounced upstairs with a bottle of beer to watch the rugby on the small TV in our room. I shouldn’t laugh, but I really enjoyed my peaceful Mum and boy chill time.
We enjoyed a nice, relaxed dinner in the hotel restaurant that evening, and the boy was allowed to join us. The service was friendly and the food good.
Next morning, before breakfast we took the boy out for a walk and were treated to a gorgeous pink sunrise over Loch Linnhe. Very apt seeing as it was Valentine’s Day.
Until next time ……….