Monday, 26 March 2012

An Old Trackway

In our wanderings across West Ardnamurchan, the area we have most neglected is the Ardnamurchan Estate land to the east of Loch Mudle and its north-south running valley, an omission we set about rectifying yesterday. It's an area of bleak heather moorland, with extensive plantings of conifers which hide some of the best lochans. This picture looks across to it from the B8007 road to Kilchoan, shortly after it passes Loch Mudle, where we parked.

The steep western slope of the valley is covered by woodland of stunted oak and silver birch. Once we'd slid down that, and crossed the Allt an Doire Dharaich - fortunately low after the recent fine weather - we climbed across a much more open landscape of heather and, in patches, bracken. These areas of bracken appear to be old fields, some of them surrounded by moss-covered, broken stone walls, some unenclosed. It was here, in land which showed signs of lazy beds, that we stumbled on an adder (see yesterday's post here).

In the distance stands the bulk of Beinn an Leathaid.

We came across a well-defined trackway running along the top of the hill. From its line, it must have connected the settlements around Camas nan Geall and Bourblaige with Kilmory and the north coast. It made good walking.

At one point it passes the remains of what may have been a small stone house. The building was tucked into the angle of a well-constructed stone wall, so the track is confined between the wall and the steep slope from which this picture was taken.

This picture shows the wall, covered with dead bracken, on the right, and the trackway as it drops towards the small crofting township of Branault. In its time the wall must have been a very substantial structure.

The trackway ends at this gate, where it enters the croft land of Branault.

There must be hundreds of these old trackways criss-crossing the peninsula. We've explored a few of them - the old lighthouse road, which runs from Ormsaigmore northwards, the tracks which connect the Achosnich school house to its surrounding villages, and the track which connects Glendrian to the north coast - but we need to find and walk some of the others.

A map of the area is here.


  1. Beautiful pictures! How do you know where the trackways are? Are they marked on the OS map? Coming up at the weekend (Hooray!!!!) and would love to walk the Ormsaigmore track towards the Lighthouse. Have walked the Old School House in previous visits.

    Fantastic blog as always - however since the snake sighting some members of the group are becoming wimps!


  2. The trackways aren't marked on the 1:25,000 OS map. It's possible to pick out parts of some of them on Google Maps. But, up until now, we haven't really been looking for them.