Over The Top
At 7am Rory gave us a lift to the top of the Hydro Road where we had walked to the previous day. He hadn’t been up this road for a long long time. He recalled how years ago he and Dad had been up here stalking and, with a beast sighted and in shot, Dad had turned to him saying, “OK, did you remember the bullets?” That was a good day for the stag.
When we got out of the car and looked back, Dalmally was invisible under a thick blanket of cloud. Mist was swirling all around the peaks on each side of us but we were in a little clear patch. We waved goodbye to Rory and made for the first marker post on the hillside above. Mist blew back and fore over the top and then halfway up enveloped us completely. At the top we looked down into Glennoe also blanketed in mist with odd peaks sticking up like islands. Down we plunged through a sodden landscape of mist and burns and bogs and waterfalls. Because of the mist we didn’t pick up the quad track we had used on previous occasions. It was a long 3 miles down to the edge of Loch Etive. But, when we got there the sun came out and we ate lunch by the shore and had a rest.
Only a short rest though because all too soon Dad was ready to move on. We followed the road along the loch towards Inverawe. When you are walking you notice every undulation in the road ahead and suddenly become acutely sensitive to hills. Half way along we looked up and there in the west were the hills of Mull looking blue and lovely but also very, very far away.
At Inverawe we treated ourselves to a tea and it was strange being inside after so many hours out. The waitresses recognised Dad from the Oban Times article and asked if this was us doing the pilgrimage walk. People have been so kind to us.
We crossed the river Awe by the suspension bridge and joined the track that leads into Taynuilt past the old Iron Ore Furnace and on to The Visitation, our parish Church. After all that Fr Fraser wasn’t in but Jesus was, so we said a prayer and lit a candle and walked to the main street. Mum was on support driver duty today and found us a couple of miles up Glen Lonan. By then my toes were so sore that I just took my shoes off and walked the last bit in my socks. We met a couple of local ladies out walking. They also recognised Dad and stopped to speak. I was a bit self-concious I was in socks and hoped they didn’t think it was some hard core penance I was doing.