The pup and I set sail for Loch Benachally this afternoon. As per my previous post “Riemore Lodge and Loch Ordie” this is a special place for me. Growing up in Dunkeld my brother and I were sometimes treated to a fishing trip to Benachally. It is truly a wonderful place to visit and I set sail with the one intention of getting a Cuckoo photo. They seemed to be all around with calls emanating from every coppice and hillside. As we arrived I saw this Roe doe….
shortly followed by this wee herd of Fallows
We dumped the car and sure enough the Cuckoo calls became louder and seemed to be taunting me yet again! Elusive devils to say the least. On climbing the hill up we came across this Punky Ewe
and a wee wheatear, lovely birds….
Half way up, the vistas opened up to some really beautiful views
Lotl and Butterstone. Birnam hill in the background
By this stage, the wind had really picked up and the going got just that wee bit harder, but I wasn’t to be daunted as the Cuckoo calls were ever more insistent and I was determined to see one and hopefully get a picture. Not to be at this juncture, but I did see this wee Meadow Pipit (heaps of them around)
We climbed a bit higher and Duchary hill was resplendent to the west
That was to change however as the wind pulled in a rather heavy shower. The wind now felt like a force 10 and I felt as if I was getting sand-blasted by liquid ball-bearings, the rain/hail was coming horizontal and I had nowhere to shelter. Lord, it felt fantastic! Made me feel alive, quality conditions in most excellent countryside 🙂
Eventually we reached the loch and as you can see, the “white horses” are fairly jumping
This particular loch holds many happy memories for me, mainly because it was the last place my brother, father and I fished together. I have also a few tales that I thought I’d share
On a fishing trip with my dad, brother and Beardie collie (Floyd), we ventured onto the loch and I rowed us up to the west end where we had always enjoyed good luck as far as the fishing was concerned. About half way across, the resident osprey ventured above us being mobbed by a Peregrine, what a site. Two glorious raptors only 50ft or so above us. But better was to come, an RAF Harrier came flying across right above them. Now, to get that shot of mans technology and natures ultimate flying predators would have been something else, however I didn’t carry a camera in those days but the memory lives on 🙂 Anyway, across the loch I rowed allowing my dad and brother to fish either side as my line was trawling out the back. My dad hooked one, then my brother, 2 quality specimens of Brown trout I must add. On reaching the west bank, my brother and dog decanted onto the bank as dad and I settled down in the boat fishing about 30yds from the banking. Now, there was not a drop of wind and the loch was like a mirror, almost motionless. As we fished I looked to see if Smurf (my wee bro) was having any luck and saw the blackest rain cloud I’d ever seen heading gradually our way. As I said, there was not a drop of wind and the cloud was taking an age to reach us but the sky was getting ever darker, more ominous as the minutes ticked away. Sure enough it reached Smurf and Floyd first but it was the weirdest thing, the rain fell almost like a curtain ever slowly inching it’s way towards us. By this stage it was torrential on the bank where Smurf was and I’m not sure who was wheeking loudest, him or the dog! However we didn’t laugh for long as we realised we were in a boat with no shelter. In reality we could have out-rowed the shower as it was moving that slow but we decided to rough it out. As the rain reached the boat we realised what a bloody stupid idea that was as the rain felt like bullets and were the size of thrupenny bits! Needless to say we were drenched but it was one of those moments that you relive in your mind with joy and a bit of laughter
My best pal Steuart Ogilvie and I went to Benachally to do a bit of fishing. When we reached the loch, it looked very similar to the picture I posted, VERY windy, in fact more so. Again, we decided on the west end and pulled the boat out of the shed. Now the boat is bloody huge and a fair old weight but is brilliant in the water as far as fishing goes as it generally moves quite slow even without a drog. A drog is like an underwater parachute that slows the boat down when it is drifting. So, I lost the toss and had to row, that soon changed when we realised we were getting nowhere. So Steuart took one oar and I the other and we set sail. Now Steuart was built like a brick sh*t house door and it became apparent rather quickly we were starting to go round in circles due to the wind and Steuart’s superior rowing power. We changed tactics a bit and eventually got going. Now the loch is a fair size and it took us nigh on 45 mins if not more to get to the far side. We were slightly hampered by the bumble bees that kept landing in the boat for a rest as Steuart wasn’t too keen on them lol. Amazing creatures and we decided to think on our toes and use anything in our fly box that resembled a bumble bee, unfortunately no but we did find a few dead ones that might suffice. This idea, though being a good one, was destined to fail as every time we casted and started the retrieve, the bee fell apart!! Anyway, we had a really good day and decided that we better head back. It was only then that we realised that the wind had turned a full 180 and we had to row right back into the teeth of it yet again!!
Back to the walk! After deciding to head back we were walking along quite nicely when I saw this wee head pop up not far from me…..
…only for its mate to break cover just feet from us screaming its call of “goback goback”, to say we got a wee start would be a bit of an understatement!!! Talking of calls, the air was full of them, Curlews (love it), Oystercatchers and peewits (Lapwings), with the meadow pipits singing away it was lovely. Even the Cuckoo had started of its call again and must have thought about changing it to suit my efforts of photographing it, I’m sure it sounded more like “feckyoo feckyou”, dunno but I wouldn’t be surprised 😉
Further along I espied a large herd of Fallow on the hill
As I’ve said, this is a lovely place to walk and an elderly pair must have had similar thoughts as there was a stone immortalising their life and marking where their ashes were scattered, lovely.
Not far from this point I saw this Whinchat, brilliant. It’s only the second one I’ve ever seen.
Not only that, I’m sure that I saw a Ring Ouzel. It flashed towards the ground a wee bit in front of me and instinctively I thought it was a Blackie and didn’t bother with the camera, only for the bird to turn my way, flash his white collar and fly back into the trees, typical lol.
As we reached the lower part of the walk and neared the car I saw these lovely Primroses
And a rather cocky Oystercatcher
So we got back to the car and had a quick cuppa before heading home.
Oh………..did I get a Cuckoo? Yup though rubbish pic but still a Cuckoo nonetheless Rhona 🙂
So yeah, a good day 🙂