Wednesday, 23 January 2013

North Coast

With the forecast promising us some sun, but with a cool southeaster still blowing, we took ourselves to Ardnamurchan's north coast this morning, leaving the car near Achnaha and following the old track to the village of Plocaig.  We've walked this route a number of times before, but there is still one section where the old road seems to plunge into a bog, and there seems no way round it.  Little wonder the population steadily abandoned their homes - we know the village was deserted by the early 1930s.

While the isle of Rum to the north lay in bright sunshine, the old houses were, perhaps appropriately, still shadowed.

As we crested a rise beyond Plocaig the sun came out and a wide bay opened before us - sadly with no name on the OS 1:25,000 map.  This is the view to the northeast, to the Isle of Eigg and, just visible in the distance, the mountains of Skye....

 ....while this picture looks northwest, to the beach we call the shelley beach because of its deposits of coarse shell sand, one of the best place to find the tiny local cowrie.  The OS map marks a fort on top of the headland, and there is evidence there of broken walls: we have no idea what age it might be.

The coastline at the back of the bay is jagged and rocky, and broken into innumerable smaller inlets, some of which have accumulate sandy beaches.  We arrived about an hour after low water, but the tides are at neaps today so little of the beach was exposed.

For the last week the wind has blown consistently, and sometimes strongly from the southeast, yet quite large breakers were coming in from the opposite direction, the northwest.  Waves refract round obstacles, so these could have come from the south to be bent around Ardnamurchan Point, or they could have come from a storm system way out in the northern North Atlantic.  The Isle of Muck is seen along the horizon.

The fine weather brings out the RAF.  This Tornado was one of four practising low flying above us, frightening our only company, a few sheep and couple of seagulls.

We walked back to Achnaha through a gap in the hill to the east of Plocaig.  At one point we looked across the village's extensive fields to another deserted village, Glendrian, its broken houses surrounded by grass close-cropped by sheep.  Beyond it stands the highest point on the steep eastern face of the ring dyke, Meall nan Con.

A map of the area is here.

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