With such lousy weather and a limited amount of things to do in Aviemore, we decided to leave a day early. We packed up and checked out of the resort and drove out of Aviemore.
We followed the main road round to Pitlochry then turned off and drove over to Loch Tay. About halfway down the side of the loch we came to a sign pointing off to the right saying Glen Lyon¹ so we turned off and followed the narrow road which wound up through a narrow tree-filled gorge and emerged in the beautiful and rugged Glen Lyon. We drove slowly up the Glen whose steep, U-shaped sides and many shimmering streams were amazingly like Glen Lyon at home.
At the head of the Glen, we turned left and drove up a steep grassy valley with a rocky stream running down the floor. Halfway up we stopped for a cup of tea at a set of stone sheep yards built on a flat area of ground. Sheep grazed amongst the bracken on the hillsides above the yards, their calls echoing around the valley. A stand of pine trees have been planted on the left-hand side of the road.
The road became steeper as we climbed higher and eventually we reached a saddle at the head of a small man-made lake. There was a cairn built amongst the heather on the saddle so we stopped there for photos and enjoyed the view out over the lake to the hills on the far side of Loch Tay. The sun was brilliant above us and the strong, cool breeze carried with it the fresh smell of the hills – of heather and grass, rocks and water, and the elusive and evocative smell of the sheep dotted about the surrounding land.
Beat and I had a quick look at the concrete dam holding back the lake: much of the water for which emerged from a tunnel in the side of the hill, probably leading down from another lake higher up. We dropped rapidly down off the hill then and came out on the edge of Loch Tay at the foot of the hill called Ben Lawers, then carried on down to Loch Lomond where we booked into a B&B in the town of Balloch.
¹Glen Lyon is a famous High Country sheep station on the South Island of New Zealand.