This time last week, (Sunday morning) Nita and I were making our way along the West Highland Way between Victoria Bridge and Ba Bridge. You’ll remember perhaps that we walked part of this section of the WHW a few months ago when we went to walk Beinn Toaig. On that occasion the skies were as free of clouds as last Sunday, but the temperature was somewhat different with snow and ice on the mountains above about 600 metres. Our lunchtime spot that day was high up on Beinn Toaig and we were sat looking out over the lonely glen through which the Ba River flows. It has big mountains on three sides and is also the home of wee Meall Tionail, the craggy little hill sitting at the far end of the glen.
It was to this small hill that Nita and I made our slow hot way last Sunday. It really was hot too as we walked the hard rough surface of the WHW, even at nine o’clock in the morning, but the views out over Rannoch Moor and to the surrounding mountains were beautiful. Not surprisingly there were quite a few other folk out plodding their way along this famous path although to be honest, I didn’t envy them the prospect of continuing all day on this hard unyielding surface of the WHW. By the time we had reached the beautiful Ba Bridge my feet were already quite sore and I couldn’t wait to get onto the soft grassy path that leads up the glen towards Meall Tionail.
One of my plans for the day was to make some new recordings of water flowing through the various streams, but after this unusually dry period, even the Ba River had precious little water flowing in it. The last time we were here back in April 2012 all the streams and rivers were quite busy ……this time it was like they were all taking a siesta. But that said, we did in the end get some interesting and what should be useful recordings.
As we moved slowly up the glen we became more sheltered from the occasional breeze and it became hotter and hotter. It was idyllic however and so incredibly quiet and peaceful ….just the calls of birds, the buzz of insects and the trickles of water ….no human sounds at all. By the time we were at the base of Meall Tionail we decided it was just too hot to do the short steep climb up to its summit and instead sat with our feet cooling in the small stream flowing off the hillside. It had several little pools, into one of which Nita had plunged her feet. After a short while she let out a yelp and moved her feet, saying that something, presumably a frog, had touched her foot! She couldn’t see anything at first though but after several more minutes she saw the culprit ….. a quite large brown trout, who’s home the pool must have been!
The walk back was if anything even hotter and we took numerous stops where ever we found places with a hint of a breeze. We did get back to the car eventually, about ten hours after setting out in the morning and both of us with very sore feet, but it had been some day and it was great to get back into the Highlands again.