Monday, 22 May 2017


Weekend in London to see Twelfth Night at The Globe, managed to get a bit of walking in around town and to and from tram stops.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Wessenden Reservoir

Distance: 12 miles
Ascent: Weather: sunny, showers later
Tufty ducks, mallard, wren, swallow, tiny hairy caterpillar, pied wagtail, Mr Squirrel.

After a lie-in, we were ready to set of at about 1pm! We went up to the A62 car park near Brun Clough Reservoir, with the plan to simply walk along the Pennine Way for a while and then turn back.

There were a lot of people out enjoying the day, and we saw curlews and pipets, plus something small and pale with a toowit call that will probably never be identified.

We had lunch by the stream above Blakeley Reservoir (big fish splash, type unknown) where there were lots of people carrying big rucksacks. Rob had his new rucksack dribbled on by a dog but lunch survived.

Walking along the track up to Wessenden Head Reservoir, we noticed people up on a higher path and decided to come back that way. This was a narrow grassy path that led around the edge of the hill, joining a wider track near to Holme Bank Wood, which was very pretty and had a little stone bridge. We met some lively little lambs at Rams Clough, where a narrow walled path led us down to the the main track.

Very dark threatening clouds gathered as we headed back up towards Black Moss Reservoir, and I got to try out my new coat . It's blue.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Warland Reservoir

Distance: 17 miles
Ascent :
Weather: warm and sunny

Setting off from the car park up by the aerial at about midday, after a late night and morning spent on not fun stuff (work), we decided to go along from Hollingworth Lake and up to the Pennine Way and back.

It was quite windy as we got out of the car, but we soon warmed up and the going was dry underfoot, even though it had rained last night it has been very dry of late. There were plenty of meadow pipets flying and, higher up, a small airplane pulling an election banner for George Galloway. Good luck with that..

Crossing the M62 at Hollins Farm, we followed Pennine Bridleway along to Hollingworth Lake, stopping for tea and sandwiches at a handy bench. After a slight change of plan, we decided to go through the small nature reserve at Cleggs Wood and along the canal at Littleborough, heading up to the Pennine Way at Warland Reservoir.

Along the canal we heard a very noisy pheasant, saw a heron and lots of Canada geese, some of whom hissed, and some fluffy goslings. A couple of chaps were fishing, one of them asking us if we had seen any of those big carp, as they'd not had any luck and had only seen bream. Must remember google this when we get home.

We did see some goldfinch, what was probably a great tit, an enormous rhea with two little rheas, a donkey, a few llama, goats, chickens, swallows, sandpiper, mallard, ringed plover and curlew.

At Warland Reservoir, it turns out that they are doing work on the embankment and the path has been diverted around the back along Stony Edge. It wouldn't add much if you were walking the Pennine Way, but added almost two miles on to our walk because we had to go practically the whole way around the reservoir to get south.

It was a lovely evening and we had good views from Blackstone Edge and over the moors on the way back.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Loch Bad an Sgalaig

Distance: 4.8 miles
Ascent: 280m
Weather: warm and sunny
Heard cuckoo, saw pipets, crow, bee, bogs aplenty
Bogs: tastic
Feet: wet

We crossed the road from the carpark, where there's a little bridge and a hut with some walk information,  including slightly worrying news that two of the footbridges are now gone. Undeterred we set off. The walk started through the newly planted native forest (trees now 30 years old and looking fairly well established) along a stony track that led up gently, under unpronounceable hill (Meall a Ghlas Leothaid) towards unpronounceable river (Abhainn a Gharbh Choire.)

The route along the river was wet, following posts passing a couple of waterfalls and heading into a small gully which was quite steep on the other side. Thankfully the bridge was intact and functional when we reached it. Had lunch on a rock at the bottom of the waterfall.

The path continued wet and muddy around the shore of Loch Bad an Sgalaig, then headed up through a gully back to the rocky track.

Back at the cottage, we sat out in the sunshine and watched the birds in the loch. Red breasted mergansers, possibly red throated divers and the now familiar gannets.

Dinner in Millcroft Hotel, complete with vension, scallops,  cranacon,  Glenmorangie, Glen Scotia double cask from Campbelltown.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Inverewe and Loch Fiion

Distance: 12.5 miles
Ascent: 450m
Weather: warm and sunny
Cuckoo, pipets, wheatear,  skylark, mallard, golden eagle, stonechats.

Late morning at Inverewe Gardens, where the rhododendrons, azaleas and anemones were in fine flower, followed by lunch in cafe where international tourists sampling local beer.

From carpark at gardens, walked through the nature reserve towards the village and then took the path out towards Loch Kernsary, very pretty and rocky. Meeting the track we turned left up the track through Kernsary Forest to Fionn Loch, passing Bad Bog near to Loch an Eilin. A distant golden eagle was spotted,  amongst mostly small birds.

We returned via the track to the farm and then carried on towards the River Ewe (at the end of Loch Maree) along the tarmac lane. The river becomes more visible as you get closer to the village. We then had to walk back to the carpark, it was quite late by then and the shops were closed, no ice-creams for Robs and Helens,  but we did have a bit of a sit in the wildlife hide,  seeing some greenshank and oystercatchers.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Whale Watching to Shiant Islands

87 miles boat trip in Orca 1
Skippered by a dour Yorkshireman
Seats very uncomfortable after 4 hours at high speed.
Amazing experience.

We saw:
Minke whale
Black guillemot
White tailed (sea) eagle
Grey seals

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Fairy Lochs

Distance: 14.8 miles
Weather: warm and sunny

Fairy lochs, fairy mallard, roe deer, heard cuckoo, wren, golden eagle, small fish, Highland coos.
We walked from Strath to the harbour in Gairloch, calling in for additional bottles of water and boat trip information,  before taking the Old Road (now forestry track) to the road junction to Shieldaig. 
The road is single lane with passing places, with a flower edged stream with little fish in it.

Near the hotel, the path heads up on to the hills, a little rocky mostly dry but obviously one that is usually very wet. Especially on the tops near to the memorial site to the crashed WW2 plane and towards the loch. The aircrash site is very poignant, also stunningly beautiful.

We crossed the boggy moorland (that was relatively dry) between the lochs towards Loch Braigh Horrisdale,  where I attempted to inhale water, saw a wren and then a golden eagle. And then another.

The walk back to the road was mostly spend scanning the skies for more eagles. Did see a deer's bum.
A couple of beers and dinner at the Old Inn were most enjoyable,  before walking the two miles back to the cottage, calling in at the shop for disappointing milk.