Friday, 24 October 2014

A Walk to Glendrian

The forecast suggested we might have a few sunny intervals this morning so, having not had a good walk for some days, we set off for Glendrian, a deserted village in a beautiful setting in the middle of the peninsula.

This picture looks from the gate through the Ardnamurchan Estate's deer fence towards the township.  The stone houses, in today's grey conditions, were hardly visible, strung out as they are along the top of the grassy hill in the middle distance.

After days of rain, the land is sopping wet, so we veered off the track that runs from the Kilchoan-Achnaha road to climb and then follow the low ridge of Druim Liath, on the assumption that the top of a ridge would be relatively drier underfoot.  It also gave us a view the other way, back along the Kilchoan road, with Creag an Airgid to the left.

We then followed Druim Liath - liath means grey or blue - eastwards until we reached the banks of the Allt a Choire, one of the many small burns which cascaded off the steep ridge to our right.

We saw several hinds, escorted by this stag.  The rut continues, as does stalking on the Estate.

We then turned and followed the Allt a Choire downstream towards Glendrian, heading for the fording point where the burn crosses the Estate the track.  Shortly before this, it began to rain, not the sort of  passing shower of the forecast, but serious, heavy, and very wet rain.  The picture shows one of several beautiful falls and cascades along this section of the burn, something we would usually stop and enjoy - but not in those conditions.

From the ford we made our way back along the track to the car, faces into the wind and rain.  In the picture, which looks back towards Glendrian, the falls we passed are clearly visible towards the right, with the green fields below Glendrian to the left, and lots of rain everywhere.

Satellite photo, courtesy Bing Maps, shows the route we followed.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Passing Pigs

One of the joys of living here is that one never knows what is going to come trotting past one's gate.  These piglets were in hot pursuit of their mother, who was heading down the road in the direction of the shop with a very determined look on her face.

Advice Sought

For some time we've resisted buying one of the many wireless weather stations available which provide a digital display indoors, mostly because the wireless anemometer and wind vane system we had didn't survive the Ardnamurchan weather, but also because several weather stations attached to local houses have also failed.  Instead, we've stuck to cheap and simple machines such as this rain gauge.

Being simple, they survive the terrible weather that can be thrown at them.  About the highest technology is this maximum and minimum thermometer, sheltered from rain and direct sunlight in a sturdy wooden box.

This machine is our pride, made from length of wooden dowelling, a plastic drawer handle, a nail, a piece of flat plastic from an ice-cream container, and odd bits of wire and tape.  It's survived several gales of force eight and above.

The data is collected at eight in the morning and eight at night.  With the evenings drawing in, this is done by torchlight.  The results are tabulated on a chart.

The one thing I sorely miss is knowing the time and strength of the maximum gusts during a gale.  I'm therefore, reluctantly, looking at buying a Davis Vantage Vue, not least because there are two others on the peninsula which have survived the weather.  However, what I really want is what I used to have, a cup anemometer and wind vane machine, so I can go on using my trusty low-tech instruments for all other purposes.

Does anyone know of a wireless or wired cup anemometer and wind vane system that's rugged?

Wednesday, 22 October 2014


We took the bus in from Kilchoan to Fort William this morning to pick up our car which had been recalled by the manufacturer with potential gearbox problems.  There's a new driver for the Shiel bus, Martin Ellis, who has taken over from the long-serving Gordon MacKenzie.

In Canada - very justifiably - they make a big thing of 'the fall', but the journey back along the side of Loch Sunart would have rivalled it - if only the sun had been out and it hadn't been raining the whole way.

Yesterday's northwesterly gales have given way to strong southwesterly winds.  The two Kilchoan creel boats, Alasdair MacLachlan's Emma Maria, left, and Justin Cameron's Harvester, haven't seen much business.  They're currently moored at Port na Croisg, near the Nadurra visitor centre.

During the morning the peninsula had some heavy rain, with 16mm falling in the space of three hours.  This is Camas nan Geall, but in many places the fields were waterlogged, and the burns were in spate, while, a little further down the road....

....we found two lochs at Loch Mudle, one of them on the road.

The forecast is for the southwesterly airstream to dominate our weather until next Tuesday, so there's plenty more Kilchoan sunshine to come.

Halloween Event

With the Kilchoan Hotel under new management, and new faces behind the bar, it's good to see that they're entering into the spirit of the season.  Rachael Kidd says, "We'd love people to come dressed up for the occasion, it would make the night. We'll be playing scary music and have horror films on the projector, and the chef will be creating something tasty with pumpkins."