Thursday, February 22, 2007

"Walk" up the hill behind the Coylet

Two weeks ago I was taking a walk down the forest trail up the hill behind the hotel (I think the entire mountain is called Beinn Ruadh, which means "red mountain" - there's a lot of mountains called that over here, as well as Beinn Mor - "big mountain"). I was planning to go to Puck's Glen and hang around there for a bit as the weather was really nice - cool, but sunny. I never made it to Puck's Glen, for while walking along I got to looking up the mountain and thinking that it wouldn't be too hard to walk up it, as there were sections with no trees on them whatsoever, and it's that underbrushy growth stuff that makes it hard to get places. So on a whim, I started up the mountain in a section that didn't have thorny plants on it (there's a lot of thorny plants over here also).

I think I started up around 12:30pm. It was a good climb - the hill is steeper than you realize, or at least steeper than I am accustomed to being from PEI - and it tires you quickly going up like that. Within a few minutes of climbing I always find it hard to believe how high up I am.

So with several breaks along the way, by 2pm or so I was getting tired but thought that I was quite near the top. I paused for as long as I could as it was much colder up at that height that it was down in the forest at the bottom, and since I was sweaty I felt the cold quicker than I normally would. Also, having not planned to climb up a mountain I hadn't really dressed for cold weather, but it wasn't too bad.

Mountains being the deceptive things that they are, of course I was not nearly at the top, but almost at the top of a crest that, once I climbed over it, I could then see the seemingly vast rest of the mountain that I had to climb. I considered turning back a few times short of the top, but I made myself go on and felt that I was well rewarded by the views when I got up. By then I think it was getting on 3pm, so it was about 2.5 hours to get up. My legs didn't even feel tired for a few minutes while I was up there, owing to the view! So here's some pictures that I took.

This is the view over the hills toward the southeast where you can see where Loch Long (on the left) meets the Firth of Clyde (into back of photo and stretching to the right). The view of Gourock, where I take the ferry to to go to Glasgow by train, is just blocked by the hill on the right. If it looks as though you could quickly jaunt across those hills to the water, that's the deceptiveness of mountains again - I'm standing on a steep slope and the rest of them are quite steep as well.

This is Loch Eck, looking northwest. The Coylet is right on it's shores but not in view in this picture. You can see why we can't get television signals from this photo - we're smack dab in the middle of a very narrow glen that is primarily filled by loch.

Here you can see the Coylet Inn from above. Well, you probably can't actually see it very well, but you can probably see the caravan park that is the grouping of buildings in the middle. The hotel is just a small speck to the left of them separated by some trees along the road.

On my descent of the mountain (which took about 30-45 minutes compared to the ascent of 2.5 hours), I startled a bunch of sheep (I only "baaaa-ed" at them a few times!) and they watched me until I was out of their view, or at least until they were out of my view. There was quite a few sheep at the top of the mountain, with a fence to keep them to the upper regions. Seeing sheep over here always makes me feel a bit odd since I know that the farming of sheep is responsible for so many Scottish people having to leave to go to Canada in the 1700-1800's.
The sheep are standing in amongst some heather and grass, which became my friend when going down the hill as there were some sections that were really muddy (near streams) and I would have just kept sliding down if I didn't have handholds.

As you can see in this photo the sun is starting to set in the west (on the right), as it's getting on 4pm.

I've yet to put up my Ireland photos, but I'm working on that. The hotel phone line is now functioning again, and even the library seems to be liking Blogger now on occassions so we'll see how it goes.

No comments: