With our changeable weather you have to grab the sunshine when you can, so yesterday I decide to visit another area that as a young man I spent a lot of time hill walking, and later cycling, Loch Ard. In those hillwalking days we would take the bus to Aberfoyle and walk to the Loch Ard youth hostel, if the weather was kind we would skip the hostel and head up the Ledard Burn, ("burn" Scots word for stream) and pitch the tent there. This was a good starting point for making your way to the summit of Ben Venue. On those visits Friday and Saturday nights would be spent at the Altskeith Hotel, which would be the meeting place for hill walkers, climbers and cyclists. The nights would be filled with guitars strumming, singing, laughter and loud chatter, until the proprietor threw us out. The hotel has since moved a bit up market and is now The Altskeith Country House, no doubt catering more for tourist with money, rather than walkers and pauper cyclists.
Loch Ard, just before Kinlochard.
The Loch area in general hasn't changed much, delighted to note that the road surface is much better than my last cycle up that way. I stopped at Kinlochard and enjoyed a bite at the beautifully situated tearoom, The Wee Blether ("blether" Scots word for friendly chat). Many, many years ago I would come up here with an inflatable dinghy, and take my kids out to the little island in the loch, Eilean Gorm, there they could run wild, and live out their fantasies among its rocks and trees. On the island there is also a fisherman's bothy, (Scots for a small hut or cottage, especially one for housing farm labourers or for use as a mountain refuge).
Beautifully situated tearoom on the shore at Kinlochard.