An early start to catch the ferry and enjoy a perfect transfer across to the mainland, contrasting starkly with the experiences of recent days with ferries being disrupted because of the weather.
As previously the journey northwards, in the early stages, was glorious and uplifting with perfect light bathing the glens and their woodlands , bringing alive the autumn colours to maximum effect. Later, cloudy conditions and some rain brought a different contrast to the wide open landscape around Spean Bridge. Despite this the "Commando Monument" above that hamlet stood out proudly amidst that "wild" basin, its fresh scarlet and white wreaths from the Remembrance Services of yesterday gleaming in the failing light, a testament to sacrifice and courage. I was alone in my "pilgrimage" which somehow, in itself, brought a particular poignancy to the occasion. Previous to that the peaks of Ben Nevis and the surrounding hills had stood dark and foreboding above Fort William, clothed in cloud and , yes, I'm afraid to mention, copious amounts of snow at their highest extent. Later, views of Loch Ness were limited due to darkness descending quite quickly. Finally, arrival at Kirkhill, in the real darkness of an impending winter's night, with temperatures going down and frost already hanging in the air.
As is often the case on this journey, the amount of bird life in evidence was minimal. I'd perhaps expected an obvious presence of Redwing and Fieldfare, but there was none of either!