We slept surprisingly well the first night, even though we had a couple of adventures taking Biggles for pee walks. He’d insisted on downing a whole bowlful of water just before bedtime, and each time we took him out through the awning flap he managed to get himself tied up in the guide ropes as only a Bigglet can. He even had a short woofing outburst at someone emerging from the shower block, but it didn’t interrupt the spectacularly loud snoring coming from one of the tents so I guess no harm was done.
The next day was thoroughly action packed! It started out with a short trip to a chemists in Fort William, because an excessively chewy chocolate eclair had stolen one of the fillings from my teeth. We then drove to the Glen Nevis visitor centre (where I put my new temporary filling kit to use) and set out on the 8 mile long “Glen Nevis and Polldubh Falls” trail. The walk basically takes you right round the loch at the foot of Ben Nevis. The first half of the walk is stunningly beautiful but the path is narrow and there are a few obstacles to negotiate!
The walk starts as you cross a little suspension footbridge. Signs warn that it’s only rated for 5 people at a time, but it doesn’t say anything about Beagles.
The first obstacle – sheep!
Obstacle#2 – walk the pole, jump the stream or just plain get your feet wet. The choice is yours, as long as your Beagles agree with it!
Obstacle#3. At least it’s low enough to see over.
The scenery is worth all the effort though
And there’s plenty of fresh water for refreshment
..and for recharging Beagle cooling jackets
The halfway point of the walk is marked by the beautiful Polldubh Falls.
And if you’re brave enough – or dumb enough – the bottom of the falls is so deep you can jump into it from the bridge above!
The second half of the walk is a fairly typical wide forest walk. It’d make a pretty good course for a training run as much of it is uphill and Ben Nevis is almost always in view to the right, but it pales in comparison to the beauty of the first half.
Eventually we arrived back at the visitor center, watered and fed ourselves and our beaglets, then headed off on yet another adventure: the Nevis Gorge and the Steall Falls. Just as you start on the trail you see a sign cautioning you to wear appropriate footwear, and a warning that there have been fatalities in previous years. This didn’t bother me because I’m quite sure-footed, and it didn’t bother the Beagles because (a) they can’t read and (b) they enjoy trips to the vet, but it did bother Susan. She’s not keen on heights and her hip problem makes her feel unsteady on narrow paths. Nevertheless we ventured onwards, and the sight of small kids and wobbly pensioners returning safely from the walk served to put the warnings in perspective.
If the warning at the start of the walk doesn’t scare you, maybe the rock formations will. Can you see the skull?
Just take it steady..
..and keep a firm hold on your pooches, and you’ll be fine!
Suddenly the narrow rocky path explodes out into a wide flat valley with the falls just visible in the distance. The photographs just don’t do it justice; the terrain and scenery changed so abruptly I was instantly reminded of all those “hidden valley with dinosaurs” films I saw as a kid.
On your way to the falls you pass a cable bridge, which as far as I can tell serves no purpose other than amusement. There are plentiful opportunities for crossing the water using more conventional means, especially if you don’t mind getting your feet wet.
The falls themselves are the third highest in Scotland, and again despite trying my best I just couldn’t capture their spectacular beauty with the camera (although an Italian family that insisted on trying to get into every shot didn’t help!)
We were there quite a while. I think you could quite easily spend the a whole day there – it’s just so relaxing with the sunshine and the sound of the water.
Later that evening I got a few more general shots of the Glencoe area. When I got back to the caravan the pups were mostly in comas after such a long and stimulating day, and despite my best efforts to stay awake, I soon joined them.