Conic Hill is always a safe bet for getting a bit of height before it’s dark and I’ve always got enough kit in the motor for wee jaunts like that.
Balmaha feels more like a tourist spot than ever, it’s getting ever shinier and flashier, but Tom Weir’s there keeping his eye on it. I just hope he doesn’t see the same horrors unfolding as his friend and contemporary Bob Grieve does in the national park board room in Balloch as his portrait gazes down on the madness those folk in there put together.
The whole east side of the loch is seeing changes, Sallochy, Milarrochy and elsewhere have been developed and the hit and at the miss destination of Rowardennan I could see lots of folk eating and drinking through the lounge windows which was rather nice to see.
Not too far away Glen Finglas is now very visitor friendly, the Woodland Trust who I volunteer with at the Lang Craigs has put their corporate stamp there and made it accessible and pleasant.
I’m always going to have an inner battle with any of this stuff. I miss finding all these places I’ve mentioned unkempt and forgotten when I first got my driving license 30 years ago. Its selfish though, people bring money and possibilities for the future with them when places can be visited and enjoyed.
But as age grips me I am see things differently, I’m not going to be bitter and resentful as change chases me up the A82. I’ll just remember a comment from Tom Weir when he felt the changes that my generation brought to the hills when we mobilised in our cars back in the 70’s and 80’s. He said that he used his knowledge of the hills to find them as he used to know them. I’ve realised that I’ve been doing that with route choice and even my time of day. You can put as many tourist information signs up as you like, charge for parking, restrict this or that, but you can still slip past it all and the hills are waiting, same as always.