Friday, 30 April 2010
Wednesday, 28 April 2010
Monday, 26 April 2010
Saturday, 24 April 2010
As we neared our objective, the view opened up to the south, across the woodland that leads down to the Sonachan, and across the valley to the tiny crofting hamlet of Achosnich. The islands of Muck and Rhum lie in the distance.
Finally, we looked down into a sharply-defined valley which cuts south, coming out at the Sound of Mull some four kilometres away. This has formed along the line of a fault which runs radially out from the old volcanic centre. And in the bottom of this valley nestle the woodlands of Gargh-dhail.
Thursday, 22 April 2010
Ardwalkers (Ardnamurchan Walkers) began about four years ago when six friends got together to do some serious walking round and about Ardnamurchan. The original six were John and Philippa Dove, Dave and Jenny Kime and John and Sandra Evans. In later months the were joined by numerous other keen walkers who go out on their trips each fortnight. To celebrate the one hundredth walk a trip to Eigg was arranged and on Tuesday 13th April a group of sixteen very cheerful folk traveled to Mallaig and boarded the Calmac ferry to Eigg. Upon arrival at Eigg our luggage was transported to Glebe Barn Hostel where we were to stay for two nights. We walked from the pier to Glebe Barn where after settling in and taking lunch we took a walk to the village of Cleadale - a truly beautiful place.Upon returning from our walk a great evening of food, wine and malt contributed by all was enjoyed along with some wonderful stories. The following morning was the real reason for our expedition and we were blessed with the most beautiful weather. The walk to the Sgurr was mostly dry with just a few wet patches to cross, lots of stops were taken to photograph the breathtaking scenery and we eventually arrived on top of the Sgurr at midday where after lots of photographs we ate our packed lunches. Some took the very steep way down whilst three of us returned the way we had come up. After cups of tea and showers we dressed up for our night out and were picked up by the islands minibus which took us to Lageorna restaurant where we had a splendid meal. The following morning, another beautiful day, some walked to the graveyard at Kildonnan then back to the pier whilst others walked to the Massacre Cave and the Lairds House. Returning to Mallaig in the mid afternoon we all reflected on a truly memorable trip which will remain in my mind forever as I am sure will be the same for the other fifteen members of the party. Thanks must go to Dave and Jenny for the hard work they put into arranging this trip. By Sue Cameron
Wednesday, 21 April 2010
If there was a Viking fort on the site of Mingary Castle all evidence is lost. The main sections of the present fortification’s curtain walls and the NW entrance doorway were built during the 13th century when Ardnamurchan lay in the lordship of the MacDougals of Lome.
At the battle of Bannockburn in 1314, the MacDougals sided with the English against Robert the Bruce. Angus Og MacDonald, great-grandson of Somerled, the man who had first united Norse and Scot, supported the Bruce. As a reward, he received, amongst other lands, the territory of Ardnamurchan and the castle. However, he chartered it to his younger brother, Iain Sprangach (the Bold), the founder of the Clan MacIain of Ardnamurchan.
Mingary from the CalMac Pier
John MacDonald of Islay inherited the lands from Angus Og, but he sided with the English puppet John Balliol in the war against David II, the Bruce’s successor. When David returned from exile in 1341 to reclaim his crown, he confiscated some of John of Islay’s possessions, granting Ardnamurchan to Iain Sprangash’s son, Angus MacIain. For the next 300 years it was to remain in the hands of the MacIains.
The first written record of the castle dates from the reign of James IV, when the King occupied it in 1493 following his destruction of the MacDonalds’ power as Lords of the Isles. The then Lord of the Isles, John MacDonald, forfeited his lands to the King and left to die in Inverness, but the MacIains, having sworn loyalty to the young King, kept Ardnamurchan. The King was back in 1495, when the MacIains assisted him in putting down a rebellion by Donald MacDonald of Lochalsh.
In the years that followed, the Ardnamurchan MacIains reached the peak of their power and influence. This crest, courtesy Thomas Steifer, is the MacIains': the ship is significant, for much of their power depended on Mingary Castle's control of the Sound of Mull.
Monday, 19 April 2010
We are being spoiled in Kilchoan with the lovely weather at the moment and today was no exception.
Sunday, 18 April 2010
You don’t need to travel to Lapland to see the Northern Lights. Although a very rare occurrence, they can be spotted in Ardnamurchan, and one particular experience of them still remains a vivid memory.
I hadn't lived in Kilchoan for long when I was woken in the middle of the night by my Dad. He explained the Northern Lights were out and got me out of bed. One thing which is lovely in a village like Kilchoan is how if someone spots something exciting and unusual, they ring around other people with similar interests. So, wrapped in a blanket to help prevent me getting cold, I stood outside my house at the Ferry Stores looking up at the most eerie sight. The Northern Lights weren’t just above us, they were shining down all around us. Changing from green to pink, the light was not from the north at all, but like a misty spotlight. Being young, tired and incredibly freaked out, I hid back indoors after what was probably only five minutes of this extraordinary experience.
We haven’t seen this magnificent sight in many years because sunspot activity, which causes the lights, has been low. But I look forward to a night that we get a phone call to look outside at the Aurora Borealis again. Next time, I won’t be running inside and hiding.
Friday, 16 April 2010
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Thursday, 15 April 2010
This morning my parents left Kilchoan on the 8am bus to Fort William for their holiday in Jamaica. They were due to catch a flight later today from Glasgow to Gatwick, but of course, have had to hop onto a train instead due to the Iceland volcanic eruption.
This eruption helps to remind me of the old geology lessons my Dad used to give me when we first moved to Ardnamurchan and went walking in the hills. When you stand in Achnaha and look around you, you can tell that you're in the centre of what was a huge volcano. If it had still been a volcano today, it might have done more than just halt British flights!
More information about Iceland's eruption can be found here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8621407.stm
Wednesday, 14 April 2010
With the chill of this morning's dew still lying across the land, this enterprising young man found a warm spot in which to enjoy the early sun.
Tuesday, 13 April 2010
Monday, 12 April 2010
Sunday, 11 April 2010
Saturday, 10 April 2010
The winter behind us has been unusual in so many ways - not least that we thought we were going to weather it without a power cut. Many of us have generators at the back of our houses ready for these occasions, and they are in use several times through a normal winter; the worst outage lasted three days. But, at nine the night before last, the system reverted to type, with some 440 homes cut off from Glenborrodale westwards. Most were back shortly after eleven but, with the fault in a transformer down the far end of the village at Coilum, Ormsaigbeg stayed off until shortly after three yesterday morning. When asked, the electricity board blamed 'aging equipment'.
Friday, 9 April 2010
Thursday, 8 April 2010
Mary-Jane was renowned for the chickens she kept. They were such a feature of Ormsaigbeg that Michael MacGregor, a local photographer who produces the most lovely postcards, produced one which showed them scratching around in the dust in front of the Craigard byre and across the road. They were expensive chickens: Mary-Jane charged £5 if you ran one over.
Wednesday, 7 April 2010
Tuesday, 6 April 2010
Monday, 5 April 2010
Sunday, 4 April 2010
Saturday, 3 April 2010
Archer, P264, and Smiter, P272 were part of the first batch of Archer Class patrol boats, built in 1985 and displacing 54 tonnes; they're 20m long and capable of 20 knots. We spotted Smiter first, obviously killing time in the mouth of Loch Sunart, but flying a large white ensign at her masthead. When Archer came up the Sound to join her she too was flying a large flag; it was difficult to distinguish but it may have been the Scottish lion rampant. Shortly after they met, they hauled the flags down.