Thursday, 5 July 2007
Kinghouse Hotel to Kinlochleven-with a lighter purse
I Nearly fainted when I was given the bill. 50% of which was spent in the bar the night before last. Oh well,upwards & onwards to the cheap & cheerful hostel now. A gloomy start to the day,raining continuously up the "Devil's Staircase" so not in very good spirits, I couldn't even get a signal to tune into radio 4. I plodded on head down,watching my footing, I couldn't have looked at the views anyway, barely being able to see 20 feet in front of me.
As it brightened up I could see tempting views of Kinlochleven nestling in the corner of Loch Leven. It looked tantalisingly close, but then disappeared amid the trees as made my way down. The Blackwater Hostel was ideally located on the "Way" just before the village. The view from it, over the aluminium works, was not so attractive. Still, my "En Suite" room had no windows anyway. Now, bearing in mind I was paying for the top AND bottom bunk, I still got the Byrness hostel treatment "Are you the lady who wants the room ALL to herself?" Quite clearly, this was not the norm and one look in the huge school dinner hall style dining area made my mind up, I was dining out in anominity. I needed to check out what else Kinlochleven had to offer. "The Ice Bar" was a funky, happening place. In a huge converted warehouse was a cafe, a bar bistro, pool tables, a shop and two climbing walls, one was iced. Loud thumping, pumping music played through the speakers, clearly, I was too old for this and chose the pub.
Looking round the village I also discovered it had three churches,a bus that could take me to Fort William, and "The Aluminium Story" In the information centre, which also had a little library,was the story of Kinlochleven's history. The potential energy source from the Blackwater Reservoir was used to supply power to the aluminium smelter via huge pipelines. "Navvies" worked hard, in grim conditions, building these. They played hard as well,the little free time they had was spent in the bar of The Kingshouse Hotel, I'd just walked from, and some, apparently, never made it back over the top.