'Agree With Everything - Deny Nothing - Embellish All

Monday, June 09, 2008

A Gneiss Day Out

Ride the high road to the deep north beyond Ullapool and you'll come to Inchnadamph Lodge, a tranquil 19th century farmhouse B&B in leafy shade by a quiet loch. It's miles from anywhere but evening meals can be had in the hotel down the road, a branded monster of a hostelry that's undergone several extensions since the 1950s, none of them sympathetic.
A few miles up a rough track from here the western face of Connival, all dilapidated butresses and crumbling strata, broods above the glen. A stiff pull and some elementary scrambling takes you up to its ridge: then the gneiss sets in. Crisp rocks and volcanic boulders that crunch beneath your boots in a tone suggesting they're much smaller and lighter than they actually are. Fifty metres up the slope and you realise they're the best business an orthopaedic surgeon could wish for. Ankles turn, knees ache, hips scream across this volcanic minefield. At Connival summit the ridge to Ben More beckons: a half-mile switch-back of slabs boulders and shillies of the same gneiss that bludgeons your cartilege into unconditional surrender. But the view is a reward beyond price: the line of the Assynt mountains from Cul Beag to Quinag, enticingly distant, and linking them on the far horizon a blue line between heaven and earth that is the Outer Isles.


Blogger Lex Alexander said...

... and writing so fine I can see it all from this side of the pond.

10/6/08 12:09 am  
Blogger Nick said...

Lex, that is too kind by far. I'd trade it for being able to have written that post on RFK 40 years on . . .
(& no promises, but I'm hoping this marks a return to more active blogging . . .)

10/6/08 8:18 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Franklin was right; you were north of the Arctic Circle!

11/6/08 11:18 am  

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