Posted by: christinelaennec | February 16, 2014

A jaunt to Balmaha

This weekend has been very unusual for us!  We had some unexpected company arrive on Friday evening, refugees from a snowstorm that closed the roads they were hoping to take.  This was a blessing, because our company included a dear friend of the Dafter’s from Aberdeen.  They stayed for two nights, and although the Dafter needed to rest quite a bit (due to her ME/CFS), there was much laughter and even some face-painting.

Our friends left after lunch this afternoon, and – unprecedented event number two – Michael and I left the Dafter (resting in bed and surrounded by glasses of water, snacks and supplies) for over three hours.  We drove out of the city and into the countryside.  We ended up in the tiny village of Balmaha (pron. BALmaHA), on the shores of Loch Lomond.  It was a cracking day!

Looking at the Campsie Fells from a hill above the village of Balmaha, Loch Lomond, Scotland.  16 February 2014.

Looking at the Campsie Fells from a hill above the village of Balmaha, Loch Lomond, Scotland. 16 February 2014.

We climbed up a hill called “Craigie Fort,” where we had beautiful views to the East (above) and to the West (below).

Looking across Loch Lomond to the West, from Craigie Fort above Balmaha.  16 February 2014.

Looking across Loch Lomond to the West, from Craigie Fort above Balmaha. 16 February 2014.

Although I have been peering at the map, I’m not entirely sure the names of the mountains that we were looking at.  Can anyone elucidate?

Balmaha is part of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.  The large car park in front of the visitor centre was packed!  It was a beautiful day – clear and crisp.  There were lots of families with young children, and not a few European tourists.  (I was amused to hear French teenagers in the bathroom say “Attention à la dame!” – “Let that lady past!”)

The trees are starting to show signs of spring.  I love seeing the pink blush on the birch trees, a sign that their sap is rising.  There are a lot of larch trees in the forests in Scotland.  They look as if they have been afflicted by some terrible disease, but they’re just having a winter nap before they put out new shoots in the spring.  I was amazed by how many cones were on the tall fir (?I think?) tree.

The forest at Balmaha, 16 February 2014.  Larch, a Douglas fir laden with cones, and birch trees below.

The forest at Balmaha, 16 February 2014. Larch, a Douglas fir (?) laden with cones, and birch trees below.

It was just wonderful to get out into the countryside, breathe some fresh air, and see the snow-covered hills.  The tearoom was chock-a-block with a long waiting list for a table, so we went to the post office instead, and ate our snacks outside on a bench.  Such a lovely afternoon!

I hope you’re all well, and not too afflicted by the very strange weather we’re having this winter.  My heart goes out to the poor people in England and Wales, some of whom have been flooded for nearly two months now.  It seems to be a winter of extremes everywhere.  When you get out to the hills, you’re reminded that our delusion of control over our environment is just that.  Our family has been so grateful for our many blessings, including clean water, heat and electricity.  Take care!

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Responses

  1. What lovely scenery! wow! xx

  2. You’re right, Christine – there are, indeed, hints of spring already. What a beautiful place you were able to spend the day – I’m so happy that the weather cooperated for you. I hope the Dafter is doing well as the seasons change. ❤

  3. What beautiful photographs. I love that area so much, we often go a day trip to Loch Lomond and it always impresses. I’m glad you had the good fortune to go on such a beautiful day and perhaps its a sign the dafter is also making baby steps of progress too that she felt confident to be on her own for a period of time. x

  4. Lovely photos….Here in Texas, we have also had an unusually cold winter. I’m still posting about my recent holiday to Scotland.

  5. what a lovely post! I almost feel like I am there with you in the crisp outdoors. Sounds like you had a lovely weekend all round.

  6. What a lovely way to spend a few hours, although a pity about the stowed out tearoom. It’s great that there’s that scenic beauty so close to Glasgow.

  7. How lovely a weekend you all had!

  8. Beautiful view. So glad you were able to get out with your husband. Strange weather all around!

  9. Wonderful scenery! And such a joy to be out in it.
    I think I agree with tearoomdelights: “a pity about the stowed out tearoom” – although I’ve never met the expression “stowed out” before. I know I agree with your (olden days?) expression: “It was a cracking day!”

  10. Glad you all had a lovely weekend. I thought Loch Lomond was beautiful the many years ago I visited it. Send me your address so I can post the book to you now that you are settled in.

  11. What a beautiful place to spend the afternoon! It does do you good to get away to see some new scenery and get some fresh air. I do love to explore new places and seeing these lovely pics gives me that feeling of getting out to explore. It does look so much like the Pacific Northwest, but with castles. 🙂 xo Karen

  12. Try this address

  13. Thank you all for enjoying our afternoon out with us!

    oldblack – I think “a cracking day” must be a Scottish expression, a current one. Not American, I don’t think… hard for me to know sometimes now!

    Karen – yes indeed Scotland is a lot like the Pacific Northwest!


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