An oft-abroad friend had waxed lyrical about a spot in the lower highlands called Loch Tay, and so it’s there to which we point our trusty steed as we leave the sheep-dotted fields and tidy urban sprawl of Edinburgh. The countryside rapidly increases in prettiness, as we pass by escarpments adorned with ancient-looking rocky buildings that might well have simply emerged from the surrounding rock. A particularly-impressive tall structure looming over the surrounding plains we discover later is the William Wallace (a.k.a. Mel Gibson) monument*, and we later wished we’d taken a closer look.
* There is, believe it or not, actually a statue of Mel Gibson there, apparently. Would I make that up?
We pass through some picturesque oak and birch woods, and stop for a moment to investigate a stream tumbling through a little gorge, before pressing on into the village of Killin, beside the sprawling River Dochart that spills over a rocky bed and under a beautiful arched bridge, surrounded by bright green foliage. We jump out for a wander around, past the quaint watermill and over the stone bridge which, half way along, grants access to the island-based Clan McNab Burial ground.
After a quick change of clothes we press on alongside Loch Tay and turn up the mountain, headed up to Ben Lawers. We pass through dense, dark pine woods along a tiny narrow, bendy road before emerging, blinking, onto the bare moor beyond with sweeping views over the loch.
The scenery grows even more spectacular (and our breath grows increasing indrawn) as we ascend further, great rocky outcrops surrounding us, until we arrive at our destination, a wild-camp beside a reservoir, loomed over by a rocky mountain. Nettle nimbly descends the rocky track down off the road and, well chuffed, we settle in for the evening, rocking gently (and sometimes not so gently) in the wind howling down the mountain.