Saturday, 26 September 2009

Lochewe, Part 2 of the Scottish Idyll

The next morning we said goodbye to Killin. We were heading for the far North West. In order to achieve this we had various options. To go up the West Coast. This would have taken a long time, and we would probably have had to spend a night en route. Go via Fort William - not sensible. So we went east to go west and headed down Loch Tay onto the A9 and up to Inverness. A little way north from there we turned north west and were at last into the mountainous wilderness which took us to the west coast. We arrived at Gareloch at tea-time, so stopped for a cuppa before the few miles on to Poolewe.

The Poolewe Hotel looks down the loch. We were in the annexe, with 2 bedrooms, a sitting room, a bathroom and a kitchen. Yes, you've guessed it, we were in a self-catering appartment on a half-board rate. Good if you can get it. G used the other room as a dressing room and we were able to spread ourselves in a lovely untidy manner. The food was of a very high standard and we ate far too much but really enjoyed it.
On Thursday, we went to the famous Inverewe Gardens, which were visible from the Hotel.

Half the Wall Garden, looking east

An ancient Eucalyptus tree, which had fallen and then grown upwards.

These are two of a number of pictures taken there. We went round on our own in the morning, had lunch and then I did the tour with a guide, which was interesting.

In the evenings we walked up the River Ewe, where there was always at least on person fishing.

Gareloch played a very important part in the war. The Russian convoys gathered there with their escort before heading out to the North of Russia. A terrible number of the men who sailed from here never returned. There was a submarine net across the mouth of the loch, from the north side to an island to the south side. On the south side there were a great many gun emplacements.

It is here that a memorial to the men who were lost was placed. Many of the buildings/gun emplacements are still there - somewhat dangerous now but chilling. The men who manned them must have been terribly cold in winter and bored, with no entertainment, no comfort, no luxury. They were not in danger but what they suffered was pretty bad all the same.

On the third day, we re-visited Gareloch, to walk down the peninsular and find the beach, beyond the golf course.

Here endeth the second stage of the holiday. The third should follow tomorrow!

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