Hamish and I drove across to Balachulish on Sunday through what can only be described as stunning scenery with the hills covered in snow and the snow line all the way down to the tide line. The roads were clear of snow but the -10.5 temperature meant they required a bit of respect and we didn’t arrive until after 10:00. Loch Leven had been oily calm but a short chop coming from the north met us at Kintallen driven by a biting little wind.
The plan was for the West or Kintallen wall as the first dive, so gear on we were ‘kicking steps in the snow’ to get to the shore just west of the pier in order to get into the water by 10:25am. Vis was initially poor on the flow tide but getting away from the shore and closer to the tide line saw the viz rise to 6-8m. On a bearing of 310 degrees (or directly toward a green cardinal buoy) you fin out over a sandy shelf with a maximum bottom of 8m until you find glaciated bed rock and the edge of the wall, a black line with nothing below. A last chance to get your buoyancy right and then you launch off and descend past the usual suspects, the crabs, Peacock worms, sea lock anenomies (which were getting ready to spawn) , oysters and Queen scallops, chitons, cone shells, sponges and corals . Loads of variety to look at, an excellent shore dive.
Back at the car, getting the wet gear off was cold and the temptation of a bowl of soup and a beer at the Holly Tree Inn appealing so with the second tanks untouched we retired for an early lunch. Must be a fresh air thing but the soup was fantastic.
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