29th April 2008
The narrow road that carries just a few curious tourists and probably more photographers down Glen Etive to the Northern tip of Loch Etive follows the course of the river for about 14 miles.
After a good start at Glen Coe I had high hopes that the Glen and Loch would provide food for the senses this morning.
I can never resist a stop at the falls at Alltchaorunn and the light was a little more directional than the previous day so I took a few shots before moving on downstream.
The water level was slightly higher and the shorter exposure perhaps depicts the rivers force better but I still prefer my earlier shot.
As I approached the loch I could see a fine haze had settled over the scene softening the colours of the distant mountains.
The head of Loch Etive is an atmospheric place that has an interesting history.
There is an old jetty and boathouse near the outflow of the River Etive that was once the landing stage for steam boats sailing from Oban and connecting with a carriage that took visitors to Glen Coe in the Nineteenth Century.
I suspect the only people that now care about the repair of this station are the photographers who visit this lonely spot and a few walkers that shelter from the rain in the boathouse from time to time.
I have been visiting this place for twenty years or so and can trace the age of my negatives by the dereliction of the jetty. In another twenty years I wonder what will still survive.
I met another photographer here that had just managed to drop a flash unit into a stream.
I couldn’t help but wonder why he was carrying a flash for landscape photography, but I wished him an improvement in his luck as we parted.
I’ve heard it said that “Etive” means “little ugly one” from a Gaelic Goddess associated with the loch.
The only mythology I can recall about the loch is that Deirdre of the Sorrows is supposed to have lived near here in exile according to Longas mac nUislenn. Since Deirdre was reputed to be a woman of wonderful beauty I doubt if it can be from the same story.
It is worth remembering though, that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and places like this glen that I find so wonderful, were once considered hostile and forbidding places by the travelers that had to make their way here.
Perhaps this lonely old pine, one of the last of it’s kind here, can remember such dark days.