The Adventures of Captain Jayneway
Pucks Glen, Dunoon
After spending a few nights wild camping around The Highlands and seeing more of the beautiful country I love, I found myself in search of another wild camping spot, pointing more towards Yorkshire than where I’d been, because I would have to go back to Yorkshire in a few days whether I wanted to or not! Basically, I was in hot pursuit of somewhere else free to stay for the night. Who cares about the dreadlocks? It’s like being at a festival on wheels. I was looking for somewhere that offered more of what I’d been enjoying. Beautiful scenery is never difficult to achieve in Scotland, but finding somewhere with no other humans is a little bit more tricky! I’d fully grasped the fact that the road less traveled was best after tackling some hairy one-track lanes in the Hymer. I’d met several obstacles, like a logging truck for one, and had to clench my buttocks together more than once to tackle the situation. The reward was worth every expletive, when I found the most amazing look out point over Loch Awe, as promised, it was totally awesome. It was just me and my dog Chewie, in the van, in the middle of nowhere. A forest on one side and an epic view on the other, just how much closer to heaven can you get? So to hopefully enjoy something just as special I had a quick flick through the maps I had onboard of Scotland and looked for another loch that was not too far away, but the least likely to be on the tourist trail.
We passed through Inverary and headed north then south down towards Loch Eck. It wasn’t long before I was utterly amazed that we’d managed to hit the jackpot twice in two days. I couldn’t help but think, ‘Awe Eck it’s amazing’. Calling a loch ‘Eck’ probably means something in Gaelic, but where I come from it means, ‘oh shit!’ This place was definitely not a ‘oh shit’ moment. We had our own secluded spot in amongst redwood trees with a loch and our own private little beach on the doorstep. We had a wonderful day mucking about around the loch, we didn’t budge from the spot, there was no need. When we arrived the ranger was in the park and I had a great chat to him. I was warned about the Blue-Green Algae in the loch, even if he hadn’t mentioned it, there were signs up everywhere. This algae, which I was already familiar with, is caused by the run off of rainwater from the land. Along with the rain all the residue from the chemicals farmers use runs off too. The nitrogen and phosphorus used in chemicals farmers use runs off into lower land and lakes causing an over active growth of a normally naturally occurring algae which then completely blooms and takes over where ever it is present. The result of this is that the algae kills all the fish life, is poisonous to humans and can be fatal to dogs if ingested or come into contact with. This was a bit shit, firstly because Chewie loves a swim. But also because I hadn’t had a shower for a few days by this point and I could have done with jumping in the loch as well. At what point in the history of earth is it deemed acceptable to pollute the pristine lakes of this planet for the sake of agriculture? Don’t get me started.
So we spent a peaceful night in our beautiful place, Chewie did a bit of fishing in the loch, no algae present. He might be a handful at times, my one-year-old Labrador, but he is a constant source of entertainment. I’m a gypsy at heart and there’s nothing that pleases me more than to be so completely self sufficient with so very little. I was in the van that can! There were so many things to be absolutely grateful for. We now also had the blessing of a fridge to keep our stuff cold. This will be one of the greatest epiphanies of the trip because although I have had this van for four years, I’d never managed to quite grasp the concept of the three-way thing going on with the fridge, until now! The fridge will run on 12V, 240V and on gas. Yes I know all these things! I always remember Wildy getting on the fridge gas in Mission Beach, but that was slightly different. I knew the fridge was capable of running on propane gas, the same gas that fuelled my cooking hob, but could I get it to work? No! Not until I watched a YouTube video on my limited burst of 4G showing me how to ignite it! Boom! Oh My God, is there nothing you can’t learn how to do on the tube? I did the one man Mexican wave and was absolutely shooting through hoops. Never mind the chicken thighs, we have cold beer.
I digress. The introduction of this story leads me to the main point, the title. A hairy nuisance woke me at 5am, yet another rude awakening. This trip I hadn’t had one sleep in beyond 6am. Why? Dog. With a mouth that would make a sailor blush, I launched myself out of the hydrolic ‘upstairs bed’ of the van, knickerless and couldn’t give a shit-less and opened the van door to let Chewie the hairy pest out. I soon felt guilty for ejecting him so angrily, so annoyed at being woken up when I was having a lovely dream, but I followed him outside after I’d put some knickers on. The Scottish midges were absolutely rampant and swarms followed us as we went. Chewie was absolutely covered in them. Smidge to the rescue! I lathered both of us in that stuff and they all cleared off! We went for a walk along the loch. I hadn’t really decided what to do with the day. It was one of two things. Either go back to Yorkshire, I used to call it home… or we stay in Scotland for another night. Erm… Lets go for a drive down the loch and decide.
Life is like a series of ‘sliding doors’. I suppose I only liken it to that because of that film Gwinnie was in. But it’s true. Your life can change in a split second. I know that as well as anyone. But, taking that film as an example, you always have choices. You either get on that train by running your arse off to not miss it or you miss it by a split second, the doors closing as you try with every cell in your body to will the train to wait. Sweat dripping off you, as you watch the arse end of the train disappear into the horizon, knowing you’ll never be on it. The result of either action will change the course of your life forever. Sometimes not getting what you expected or believed leads you to what you should really be experiencing, as hard as the road may seem at the time. My sliding door for the day we’re on about was this. Either I packed up the van and headed south, or I stayed precisely where I was. I had unforced choices, my choice in this instance was not a hard one.
I’ve never been a procrastinator. If I want to go and do something, I will find a way to make it happen. Let’s go and see what’s down here Chewie lad. I cannot even put into words what Chew and I found just down the road from where we’d stayed in the free camping spot. Only a few miles down the loch, the place we found was absolutely out of this world. I am not exaggerating when I say I was almost in tears finding such a beautiful place. I was in utter awe. Pucks Glen. We parked the van up and came across the most prehistoric gorge, covered in moss and as we walked we encountered waterfall after waterfall after waterfall. It had rained heavy the night before and this just added to the absolute beauty of the place. The steam was rising off the trees and I was sweating along with them. My gob must have been agape for about 2 hours. Sliding doors? Sometimes you just need to go with your gut instinct. And by crikey, am I glad I went with mine. The iPhone photo’s will never on this earth do the place any justice… But will serve as a memory jog to undoubtedly one of the most gorgeous places on earth…
I will never forget this place… this train came along just when I needed it….
Keep on believing…
love Captain X