West Highland Way: Glencoe Mountain to Kinlochleven

September 4, 2015: We pack up and leave our cozy hobbit house at Glencoe Mountain Resort to diligently start down the trail finding the air chilly, but the weather generally pleasant.WHW_Day7-1100155eSeems as though we are in the middle of nowhere and here appears The Kings House, which is thought to be one of Scotland’s oldest licensed inns, originally built in the 17th century. It is called the King’s House because British troops were lodged here following the Battle of Culloden in 1746. Coffee, please!WHW_Day7-1100195eThe challenge today will be the Devil’s Staircase which was named by General Wade’s road building soldiers who were lugging materials up and down it all day. ~ Wikipedia

WHW_Day7-1100218eIt’s a long hike with several switchbacks, but really not a terribly strenuous hike so far.

WHW_Day7-1100224We finally reach the top and the views are spectacular today with clear skies all around.

WHW_Day7-1100230ecrThe Love Rock comes out of my pocket for a little fresh air and is perched on a cairn at the top of the Devil’s Staircase.

WHW_Day7-1100288eBlackwater Hostel is named after the Blackwater Reservoir and is our home for the night after a little more than ten mile hike.  Nice drying room and kitchen with dorm type rooms containing cozy bunk beds. From a camping perspective, the name does not sound desirable to me since waste water is called black water. It’s not the case here, though.

WHW_Day7-1100293eSign on the side of the hostel warns dog owners to keep their poop in a group or the Paw Patrol will take action.

WHW_Day7-1100284eWe find ourselves at the Tail Race Inn at the end of the day to take advantage of their advertised special prices on meals. All eyes are NOT on us as Scotland is playing Georgia for the Euro 2016 soccer qualifier and local patrons are glued to the TV screen. FYI ~ Scotland lost.

Video below shows highlights from day seven. I was able to video the Grand Canyon Girls as they skipped across a stepping stone bridge. We have observed that they are like mountain goats when it comes to rock scrambling. One has hiked down and up the Grand Canyon nine times and the other has hiked the Grand Canyon five times. They are a couple of tough hikers with strong legs and determination.

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All in a day’s work… Gypsy style

A day in the life of a Gypsy:

Pace the area going up to the famous Segovia aqueduct monument and show your saddest eyes.   Approach a tourist who happens to have a kind heart.

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Now, bring out your prettiest shawl and wave it in front of tender-hearted Randy. (Meanwhile, I am gesturing and shaking my head) No! 

Bonita y cuesta 10 euros

Muy bonita! 8 Euros…

No, gracias.

Siete Euros… muy, muy bonita.   Randy agrees to purchase the pretty shawl and takes out a 10 Euro, but she says she has no change.  No problemo, she offers two scarves for 12 Euros.  Randy goes for it and gives her 12 Euros to purchase two shawls. His reasoning:   But she has such sad eyes and needs business.

We get back to the hostal and look in the bag, only to discover she has switched the really fancy scarf for a scarf that is not as flashy.  The old” bait and switch” trick.

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Hey, that’s my fancy shawl she’s trying to sell!   It’s a living, I guess…

Yes, Santa, I’ve been good!

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Mr. Smiley shares a tender moment with Santa.  It is interesting to observe the many reactions to the bearded gentleman in the red suit.  While this little guy is pleasantly amused by the encounter, some children scream with fright while others are puzzled by the whole experience.  To each their own.

I Look but Do I See?

As we approach this busy holiday season may we take the time to drink in the sights, feel the warm glow of family and appreciate life.

It’s Photo Friday and I’m STILL obsessed with eyes…

Why do the eyes seem to express so much emotion?  Is it the contrast?  Connection to the viewer?  Combination of other facial features with the eyes?  A social/physical trait to deepen the communication process?  Hmmm…

Canon 5D Mark 2 ~ 70-200 Canon IS L lens ~ 2.8 ~ 1/300 ~ 1000 ISO ~ Photoshop CS5 ~ Kubota Actions

It’s Photo Friday! “The eyes are the mirror of the soul.” Yiddish Proverb

Eyes speak volumes in a photograph.  The photo may appear soft but if the eyes are sharp the world is a happy place…