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Monday, 4 November 2013

Halloween in Ben Alder Cottage

Loch Ericht is a large freshwater loch running from Dalwhinnie in the North in south-westerly direction towards Rannoch moor. It passes the flanks of the Ben Alder-Benn Bhoil complex and the view along the loch is one of the better of the many good ones in Scotland. On Halloween Saturday several of us, led by Dave Henderson, set off from Dalwhinnie to paddle all the way down to Ben Alder cottage, a MBA bothy. Here is my GPS plot of the trip.
 Here, we set off on a grey day from the Southern end of the dam. No rain yet.
 This changed soon and it rained and rained with sleet at times.
 Here is one of the Robbie battling on. Snow on the hills.
 We reached Ben Alder cottage after 23 km.
 The good thing about kayaks is that they are load carriers: food, booze, coal, Halloween costumes, pumpkins and all that. So after a cold day the warm feeling spread...
 ... and everyone was bantering away, carving pumpkins, making food, jumping into the loch and/or dressing up as the male reproductive organ. Words fail to describe the following scene...
Anyway what happens in the bothy stays in the bothy. I had pitched my tent outside and it rained all night and strong gusts were working on the tent. We woke up to a cold morning with snow capped hills and intense autumn colours.
 A strong Northerly was blowing but soon Beinn Bheoil protected us from the worst.
 Here is Robbie below snow capped Beinn Bheoil...
 ... and here are Katie and the other Robbie.
 Mile after mile along the Northern shore...
 ... to pass the Disney-like Ben Alder Lodge.
 One of the last views back the long loch with the Ben Alder complex on the right shore in the far distance.