but this did nothing to diminish the splendour of the day.
A short boat ride took us to East Stoul our home for the next 36 hours
which we made our own as soon as we could.
Tents pitched we had a brew
or a lie down
admired the view and set off, our backpacks loaded with provisions for the day. The plan was to get up the hill and explore an area known as The Shealings which is a lost village of some 18 settlements on my map.
The route up was savage and we followed a gully for a while. Yours truly had a spectacular fall just as he was about to issue a be careful its slippy warning to the others. Battered and bruised I carried on manfully. No sympathy please!
En route we found an amazing bit of geology which was excellent in many ways, most especially as its the first time in numerous visits over 22 years that I have returned to base with a find that the legendary Tom McClean did not know about. This bacon stone as we called it was a true natural wonder and placed anywhere next to a road would have a hut next to it with some chancer selling tickets for the experience.
Onward we plodded fighting the heat, terrain and midges.
But it was all worth it for the spectacular vista
in every direction
and ahead we could just make out the lake where the lost village was to be found.
Obviously some of us needed to pose
or take the weight off our stomachs.
Pretty soon we were at the lakeside and found
two piles of stone. This was a major disappointment. A few bumps in the soil indicated more ruin from days of yore but nothing worth writing home about remained.
So the trek back began
with more posing
and more steepness
causing more sitting down
Back shore side we found this dreadful mess left by the local crofters who would be up in arms
if we left our campsite anything like their shearing station.
Suitably tired out evening meals were prepared
and firewood collected
for the roasting of marsh mallows.
Dog tired we hit our scratches, Spotty instantly asleep
the sunset wasted on him.
A peaceful night as ever in a small tent with a large dog.
Yours truly decided that action was needed to get the morning off to a good start
so set about waking the others
whilst enjoying the views
which were everywhere again.
Happy campers took some rousing
but soon they were up and posing.
Arty farty shots
of old tractors became a competition
as di who can stand the most manly way on the hike back.
We thought we spotted Haggis on these hills.
Finally we got back to base for tea and medals
the weather once again
Tonight we had Christmas dinner with all the trimmings including crackers
and once things had quietened down a beer. This beer we found on the hike, out of date by 5 years but we were pretty sure it would be OK and in any case we were desperate.
Sure enough you could have heard a pin drop as the ring pull was pulled, a reassuring pssssshhht sound followed by a perfectly clear amber liquid fizzing into three glasses. Yours truly had put it in a mountain stream for several hours so it was quite chilled. All three of us took hesitant sips from our glasses. No one died.