On Monday morning we relished the thought of finally being able to leave our car park camping site in Kinlochewe. We had had a very convivial Sunday evening with our visiting friends but now it was time to move on to Cannich at the foot of Glen Affric. Our journey was about 60 miles and would take about 90 minutes. I planned to leave at about 11:00.
Guillaume had other ideas. We hooked up and one brake/rear light failed to function. Out came my tool kit. Never travel without a tool kit if you have a caravan. You may not be able to do anything to fix a modern car but caravan technology is not modern, frequently breaks and can be fixed, if you’re lucky.
I removed Guillaume’s right light cluster. The bulb looked good. The contacts, however, were not living up to their name; they were not in contact with the bulb. I fiddled with the contacts, gave a spray of good ol’ WD40 and refitted the the light cluster. rear and brake lights OK but now the indicator failed. Unbelievable! I removed the light cluster again and cleaned the indicator contacts. I refitted it all. Indicator OK but rear and brake light not working yet again. Bother! I removed the light cluster for a third time. Again, the contacts on the rear light were adrift. The securing mechanism, plastic spring clips, was not securing the contacts successfully. I used a matchstick to wedge them apart and secure them more firmly. Isn’t high technology great? I refitted it yet again – my screwdriver muscles were beginning to ache. All lights on. An hour late, we hit the road.
The other thing that hit the road for the 60 miles of our journey was my 12S (supplemental) plug – that’s the one that powers the interior caravan features, like the fridge and lights. I’d clearly forgotten to refit it in all the frustration of fixing Guillaume’s rear light cluster three times. It was ruined. Bother again!
After a calming drink and lunch, we used the essentially pleasant afternoon to forget ruined plugs and to scout out a likely location. The campsite owner was kind enough to point me to one walk in particular which did a loop around Dog Falls and included Coire Loch. I was surprised to find that Coire Loch was specifically mentioned in the Smallshire/Swash dragonfly guide as being known for Brilliant Emeralds, one of my few missing UK species. Hmm?
The road up Glen Affric is one of Scotland’s beloved single track roads with passing places, though not quite as frequent as those we’d become accustomed to on the single track roads around Poolewe and Kinlochewe. The road is 10 miles long. We had to negotiate only the first 4 miles to get to the Dog Falls car park. Mercifully, the parking ticket machine (£2 for the day) was not working so parking became free.
The walking route began gently enough and then headed uphill. It continued uphill. I couldn’t quite imagine a loch/lake in this generally very sloping terrain. The route began heading back downhill, around some turns. Further down and around a few more turns we finally saw a very attractive looking piece of sheltered habitat, Coire Loch. Mr Campsite had referred to it as a lochan; whatever it was it was delightful.
We descended and the path got close to the edge of the water – close but not that close. To get really close, where the footfall became very boggy, one really needed Wellington boots. We were clad in trainers but I did try a few tentative steps onto the squishy moss beside the water proper. It remained overcast and this was just a scouting trip. Picking my way via small trees, which don’t grow on the boggiest areas, I got to lochan-side. For a while nothing moved but then we did spot what looked like a a couple of Emerald dragonflies.
There’re three species of Emeralds possible in this neck of the woods. I thought what I glimpsed looked quite bright but we’d need another chance to be definite.
We’d need better conditions and a lot of luck, too – Emeralds do not perch readily.