The area of Glen Clova was my very first introduction to the Scottish mountains. Situated just one hour away from Dundee, my school friends and I used to rattle up here in our beat up cars at the age of 17, to spend nights drinking cheap beer and sitting in wet tents pretty much oblivious to the beautiful surroundings. Whilst I’ve somewhat moved on from those days (thankfully), you can see that whilst time changes for us, it never does for the weather, as this recent loch brandy glen clova weekend with Lynne, Liam and Catherine demonstrates.
Our accommodation for the Friday and Saturday night was the Glen Clova hotel bunkhouse, situated to the rear of the hotel. The hotel itself was originally a drovers’ inn dating back to the 1850s. The bunkhouse buildings used to be barns, where the drovers cattle would be sheltered from the inclement weather. I remember them, prior to them being renovated to the current bunkhouse status as where the hotel would hold it’s annual beer festival. I also remember it was always freezing. 😉
Lynne and I took a half day from work last Friday to travel the 4 hours by car from Glasgow to the bunkhouse. The weather was sunny and extremely warm. We also had a fantastic lunch here in Culross on the way, somewhere I’d been meaning to take Lynne for a while.
On arrival at our accommodation, the late afternoon / evening sky was filled with high fluffy clouds scattering beautiful shadows all over the glen in the fading sunlight.
Liam and Catherine arrived just a few minutes later, after us. For dinner, Liam had brought his delicious home-made red pepper soup and as I mentioned in this post I made a huge fresh pot of my chorizo and lentil stew, completely forgetting to take any photographs! The rest of the evening was spent catching up on our chat over a few glasses of wine. 🙂
Well, it was forecast and this was the view from opening the bunkhouse door on Saturday morning!
After hearty bowls of porridge, several pots of Assam tea and our packed lunches made up, we all put on all our wet weather gear ready to brace the elements. Catherine and I are seen here modelling the gear and we are available for hire for future wet weather gear modelling assignments. 😉
The route we take up and around Loch Brandy is shown above here in this google map snippet and more specifically detailed in this website.
A lot of the hill climbing and walks we do around Scotland can involve further car travel to the start or access point from the nearest accommodation. Fortunately, this walk starts directly outside our bunkhouse door, and begins ascending through an old forest.
I’ve got to say the rain was pretty bad. Although I’ve walked in all weathers, so I’m less bothered by it, it can seriously put you off going out. It was at this point (and I think you can see that from her expression) that Catherine decided to call it a day, opting for a cosy bunkhouse room and her book instead.
Once we get through the forest we leave the tree line behind us to an even more exposed bleak scene. Now, not only are we dealing with rain, it’s horizonal lashing rain too!
But, as you can see with Lynne demonstrating here, there’s nothing for it but just to put your head down and keep on going.
The last time I did this walk (which was probably about 10 years ago) this man-made path didn’t exist. In fact, what used to be here was a pretty boggy, hard to walk on sheep track. Due to the amount of walkers now doing this route the path has been upgraded which makes the ascent to the loch a lot easier.
Liam, seen above still in good spirits despite the soaking!
I didn’t stop too often to take pictures, like I normally would. Preferring to keep my hands dry and warm within my waterproof. So I missed a shot of the loch, before we started this climb up the right shoulder, but you get the general idea eh?
Selfie at the top! 😀
This is the view looking down from the left shoulder, having navigated in near zero visibility conditions (don’t do this without a map and compass!) all the way round. You can see the path we walked that comes up to the foot of the Loch. The man-made path stops at that point. So this is what the original path used to look like, that I mentioned earlier.
Of course, as forecast, the rain actually begins to ease off in the afternoon, during our descent, down the same path we came up on! Wet and looking forward to a hot shower and cup of tea, we pretty much run down the path back to base.
I’m pretty sure all three of us enjoyed the walk. At least, we got out and we completed what we came here to do, albeit in extremely wet conditions. But as I’ve said before, our weather is that unpredictable that you just need to put a brave face on (and some waterproofs) and get on with it. Otherwise you would never get out there.
There was one last thing that we definitely came here to do. And that was to eat in the Glen Clova hotel, well known for it’s excellent fare! I can say that we earned every mouthful of our delicious food.
When I’m out at a restaurant I like to go for something I eat rarely now at home, probably red meat. I also like to make sure I eat local produce, if it’s available. See above the amazing local rack of lamb with red berry jus and seasonal vegetables. You can bet it tasted every bit as delicious as it looks!
Lynne had the venison burger, also locally produced and freshly made in the hotel kitchen. I’m not one who is big on chips / french fries, but check out these bad boys served up above. I couldn’t resist in having a few myself!
Looking forward to August, we’ve a weekend planned to climb Ben Nevis, the U.K’s highest mountain at 1344m (4408ft). We left it a bit late to book accommodation in a bunk house that we could all stay in, so we’re doing our own thing regarding where we are staying. Lynne and I will be taking the tent and camping at the Glen Nevis campsite, just at the foot of the mountain. It’s probably a brave decision to take, going by the weather I’ve shown you here, but hey, it’s always a challenge isn’t it?
And as always on a Thursday I encourage you to pop on over to Amanda’s blog, Running with Spoons, to check out what’s going on over there, and I’ll see all you folks next week for a new recipe! Thanks for reading and have a great weekend. 😀