We arrived at the airport in Edinburgh mid-afternoon, but with all the time spent with the lost luggage situation, we did not get on the road until a few hours after we had planned to do so. This meant that on the way to Largs we did not get to take the little detours I had planned so that we could see a couple of the rocking stones that I had previously written about and wanted to see in person. Instead, we went directly out to the farm so that I could find the way in the remaining daylight. After we were settled in a bit, we went back in to town for dinner.
In the morning, our plans to drive over to Dumgoyne (Dùn Geòidhean) and visit the Glengoyne Distillery were cancelled in deference to our need to go shopping to get a few items of clothing. The outdoor temperature in San Francisco had been nearly 100 degrees when we left. I had worn only a thin cotton gauze shirt on the plane expecting to be able to pull a sweater or my jacket out of my suitcase when we arrived in Scotland. We stopped in Greenock and found a Primark store where I found a nice rain jacket and Marsha and I both found some warmer shirts, socks and underwear to last for the two days that we had been told it would take to get our luggage to us.
As we drove north on the A82 and the scenery changed from the outskirts of Glasgow to the rolling countryside, we felt ourselves settling in to the actual trip instead of dealing with the luggage nonsense. Our intention was to get as far as Crianlarich (A’ Chrìon-Làraich; “withered or little site”) and then have some lunch. As it turned out, it was a good thing that we hadn’t taken the time to go over to Dumgoyne because after stopping to take some photos on the shore of Loch Lomond with Ben Lomond in the background, we experienced something that I had never experienced in Scotland before: a traffic jam.
The A82 is a narrow two-lane road that has a lot of very tight curves as it winds alongside the northern part of the Loch, and for some reason we were there at a time when quite a few large lorries (trucks) were making their way in the southbound direction. As they came around the curves, all traffic came to a standstill to give them room to make the turns. One thing that can consistently be said about drivers in Scotland is that they are patient and polite. There was no horn-blowing or impatiently cutting in front of other drivers; everyone simply settled in to waiting out the time and staying as close to the left side of the road as possible in order to give the lorries as much room as they could. While we waited, we enjoyed a prolonged view of the Loch and lots of fresh air wafting over us through the trees.
Just north of Crianlarich is the town of Tyndrum (Taigh an Droma; “house of the ridge”), which is where we found The Real Food Café gluten-free and pet friendly with a lot of vegetarian items on the menu. We finished off our lunch of Vegetable Pakora & Minted Yogurt Dip for me and Homemade Spiced Vegetable & Lentil Burger for Marsha, Ginger Beer for both of us, and a slice of Courgette (zucchini) Cake to share, and were on our way again.
We had an appointment with David, one of the Rangers at the Highland Titles Nature Reserve, at three o’clock, but we still had enough time to take in the view and stop for as many photos as we wanted to as we drove up the A82. We passed Rannoch Moor (Mòinteach Raineach), Black Rock Cottage, and drove through Glen Coe (Gleann Comhann), and down the A828 along the shore of Loch Linnhe.
The Highland Titles Nature Reserve is located near Duror (Dùrar, ”hard water”) on the A828, just south of the town of Ballachulish (Baile a’ Chaolais, ”the town of the strait”). I have previously written about the Reserve here. We spent a few hours out on the Reserve with David; he found the two small plots of land that I had purchased for Kyle and myself a few years ago when he turned 25. Then, we took the buggy up the hill and found Marsha’s plot which is located up near the top of a hill overlooking Loch Linnhe (Loch Linnidh). Her bit of the land is located right in front of a beautiful birch tree. Liisa’s plot is also in this area, just a few yards away from Marsha’s. Then, we went to see the three rowan trees that Kyle, Liisa and I had planted on my larger, ten square foot plot.
During the past couple of years, Stewart, the Estate Warden, has been keeping an eye on the trees for me. Every now and then he sends a photo of them to me; he knows it makes my day to see photos of them in the changing seasons. Recently, he built a bridge over the little burn that comes out of the lochan right beside the trees. I was excited to see them again in person. After a few minutes of discussion with David about the green mesh that we had put over the saplings when we planted them, we agreed that it was time to take the mesh off. They are wee bitty trees that don’t stand much higher than the grasses and the heather that grow with them, but they are full and healthy. I was happy that we had freed them. A dragonfly landed upon my back as I was leaning over to take close up photos of them. It made me feel that they were happy, too.