On Friday as we traveled North-West, the rains came and did not let up. Our plan to camp near Loch Fyne had to be abandoned, but we decided to have a day out anyway. We went into Cruchan, the hollow mountain – a hydroelectric scheme that was built inside Ben Cruchan in the nineteen fifties. Sadly, no photos from there as since 9/11, there has been some reluctance to let people take photographs inside working power plants. Suffice to say – the tour left lots unseen, and what was shown looked very much like a Bond villain’s lair.
But beyond that was Inveraray, a small touristy village that would be in good scenery if the mist had not closed in a little and the colours muted.Though the odd splatter of bloom provided colour against the whitewashed houses.
However, some places look better in the lashing rain. Textures stand out. There are fewer tourists, and the woods stand waiting.
We headed for a garden on the far shore of Loch Fyne that A had visited a year before, Ardkinglas. There was no one in the kiosk on the way in, nor anyone in the garden but us the entire time.
It was a beautiful place, managed but not manicured, full of rhododendron blossoms hanging like powder puffs, and moss and yellow- leaved skunk cabbage (which, D informed A and I, does indeed smell of skunk), a river, old stumps grown over with lichens – all hazed over, all damp and tentative in the late spring.
And this small respite from the rain, a hut full of poems and snippets about trees:
And further along the trail, the tallest tree in the UK, at about 64m in height:
and the widest tree in Europe:
both Firs of some sort, and just sort of there, standing stoic. Us the only witnesses.
I’ll leave you with one last picture of a fairy-like pool, with an odd looking tree in the middle of it. It sums up the mood of Ardkinglas quite well I think. A place to be read on a rainy day. A place hat can bear the weight of a thousand glances and still have something more to hint at below the surface.
We stayed on Friday night at A’s flat, in a lot more comfort than we would have been had we tried to set up camp in the downpour. We spiked out all hopeful the next day to the East Coast. Tomorrow, I’ll post pictures here of our second adventure of the weekend – and a completely different landscape.