Commando Memorial

>>  Monday, July 15, 2019

The Commando memorial is at Spean Bridge just outside of Fort William.

It was put here because it is on the route from Spean Bridge railway station to the former Commando Training Centre at Achnacarry Castle. Arriving prospective Commandos would disembark after a 14-hour journey, load their kit bags onto waiting trucks and then speed march the 7 miles to the training centre in full kit with weapon, weighing 36 pounds. Anyone not completing it within 60 minutes was immediately rejected.

There was an enormous downpour as we got there and we sat in the car waiting for it to pass over.  I was in a lot of pain and fairly glad for the stillness.  The weather seems to change rapidly around here and as quickly as the rain came in it was gone again.

It has a marvellous view of Ben Nevis.  The snow in the picture is not quite the top, which stayed firmly in the clouds.

There is also a lovely memorial garden with so many photos and mini memorials to fallen Commandos.  One man arrived on a motor bike as we were there clearly having travelled a very long way.  He placed a tribute in the garden and on the memorial itself and ask someone to take a photo of him doing it.  A promise he had made to someone kept.

Rainbows kept coming and going and there was a lady there with a very professional looking camera.  I pointed a rainbow out to her and asked if she'd seen it as I thought it would make a lovely photo.  "I'm here a lot" she said curtly.  I noticed later she looked rather upset in the memorial garden and I was sorry I had spoken to her and sorry for her.

 It was a moving place with stunning views in the distance.  It would be bleak in bad weather.  You can see why the area would be used for training.

And just before we left there was a brief break in the cloud to see (almost) the summit.  I'd been up there, I was rather proud.


Steall Gorge, Waterfall and Beyond

>>  Thursday, July 11, 2019

So when I woke up the next day my back was in a bit of a state but I thought that walking might help it provided it was a gentle amble.

I ditched most of the weight out of my backpack and we set off.

To be immediately faced with a danger of death sign, but there was a chance of seeing a golden eagle so I pressed on.

 The path was hard going and a scramble in places over the waterfall and stepping stones
 But the views were good.

 The sheer scale of this is hard to describe but can you see the very tiny people in the foreground?
We carried on a way past the waterfall
Oxford University Officer training Corps built a bridge which I was very grateful for given my track record of river crossing with out a bridge!

We stopped about where you see the path run out on here, had a sandwich and walked back again.
And then drove into Fort William, went to a tat shop to buy the obligatory "I climbed Ben Nevis" fridge magnet and badge

Ate an evening meal.  People are so friendly around here, a man on the table next to me offered me some haggis off his plate to be sure I got a proper taste of Scotland!

And then my back gave up completely (not haggis associated!)
It really was a hobble back to the hotel and I was on all fours trying to undress and crawl into bed.

The next days planned mountain really wasn't going to happen.

We needed a plan B.

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