Stretching the legs…..

As you will have noticed, there has been a slight blip on the blog front recently….. that can be put for the most part down to a troublesome computer.   Anyway, I’m back in business now, so, at long last….. a blog.

On Carn Chreag

On Carn Chreag

As I look out of the window now, it’s a grey overcast scene, but for the most of the last week, ten days, it’s been really good weather here in the west of Scotland….. and I’ve been making the most of it.  Being both school and bank holidays, there have been a lot of people down on the harbour side here in Irvine and so it’s been important that I’ve been at my studio.  I’ve certainly had a lot of visitors which has been good and as this has been the run up to the Open Studios Ayrshire event this year, it’s been a good way of promoting that too.  Of course, having my studio open to the public is nothing out of the ordinary for me …when I’m working, the door is always open and visitors are always welcome to call in and see what work is on the go.  However, taking part in an official Open Studios event like this, is very good publicity for me  and I’ve been delighted to get involved and be one of the 47 studios open in Ayrshire over this coming weekend Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th April.  It should be a good event and of course, for many folk it’s the only time of the year when they open the studio door.   If you’re not doing anything else this weekend why not visit some of the many artists and craftspeople taking part this year.  You can find full details by visiting: www.openstudiosayrshire.com .

From the summit of Beinn nam Fuaran

From the summit of Beinn nam Fuaran

But, fine weather is not just about working and being in my studio.  I just had to get out in the hills and we managed three walks in just eight days …which was pretty good for us.   We’d started out by taking a day in the Pentland Hills near Edinburgh, (see my last blog), then a very gentle wander up Meall Odhar near Tyndrum last Tuesday.  Finally with the forecast set for almost cloudless skies, we decided we’d have to do a longer walk on the Friday.   I’ve wanted to reach the top of Beinn nam Fuaran, a steep grassy hill that rises to just over 800m but is somewhat tucked out of the way.  In the guidebooks they suggest it can be walked as part of a big circular day taking in five hills in total but I’ve always felt that this would just be a slog with no time to enjoy your surroundings.  So then, over the years we’ve visited these hills individually or in pairs, but Beinn nam Fuaran has always been a little out of reach.  This time however, I was determined to reach its summit…..but not before a good breakfast!

We timed our drive north so that we arrived at the Green Welly in Tyndrum just as they opened their doors at 08.30 and were second in line for coffee and bacon roll.  They really do make an exceedingly fine and well filled bacon roll at the Green Welly.   A five minute drive back down the road took us to a small car park just off the main road on the line of the West Highland Way.  As the crow flies, it’s just over 9km from the car park to the summit of Beinn nam Fuaran but there’s quite a bit of ascent and descent in between.

The air that day was really clear despite the bright sun and the big hills with their splattering of snow, looked especially fine. Streams rushed down the hillsides, full and busy from the melting snow above …it was really quite idyllic.  We did pass a few people on the long crossing between Carn Chreag and Beinn nam Fuaran ….but they had their heads down and were I think doing the five hills in a oner …..best of luck to them …we were going much slower!

We had to descend to about 400 m before the steep pull up to the summit of Beinn nam Fuaran which we reached just before 15.00.  It was well worth the effort, (even the cramping legs on the last hundred feet up the hill).  The views were really big and there was no noise except for the wind, an occasional passing insect and the call of a Raven circling overhead.

Below Ben Challum ....evening light

Below Ben Challum ….evening light

In all honesty we were running a bit late and there was the definite possibility of us finishing our walk in the dark …but what the heck.  As it turned out, we got back to the car about 20.45 and there was still plenty of light.  We even made it back to Tyndrum in time to get some chips and coffees before the chippy closed …so what more can you ask?!  What a day….

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