Saturday, 12 January 2013

Views on a Grey Day

The day started full of warm promise, with a glorious sunrise over the hills of Morvern.  What's so good is that the dawn has now started its annual migration eastwards - a couple of weeks ago the sun would have been rising in the notch between the hills to the right

By the time we set off into the hills, the very welcome company today being Paul White, a grey overcast had been drawn across the sky, but this didn't prevent us from aiming for one of the best summits for views - Meall an Tarmachain, ptarmigan hill.  The easiest approach, which we took, is to walk up the track that leads to the source of Kilchoan's water supply on the Abhain Chro Bheinn, then follow this burn upstream until the Ardnamurchan Estate fence is reached before turning north towards the hilltop.

The two tanks in the middle distance are evidence of the hundreds of thousands of pounds which have recently been spent on the Kilchoan water supply, which we hope will now flow through our pipes even when the electricity if off - something it didn't do in the long power outage in December a year ago.

The valley was busy with wildlife.  We stopped and watched a pair of golden eagles wheeling above us, then came across this small herd of hinds trapped against the Estate fence.

The last part is a fairly unremitting slog up a steep, grassy slope, but even on a dull day the views from the cairn at the top are well worth the effort.  All the surrounding hills and mountains were capped with snow - that's Ben More on Mull in the distance, with Tobermory Bay below it. Then it began to snow on us, at first the occasional lonely flake, followed by more and more.

From the top of Meall an Tarmachain one can see at least nine lochans, including the five in this picture: Lochan a Choire Chruinn in the foreground, then, from left to right in the middle distance, Lochan nan Ealachan, Lochan na Chrannaig,  Lochan an Aodainn and Loch Grigadale.

We made our way down the steeper western flank of the hill, traversed Lochan a Choire Chruinn, then turned south to pass along the edge of this lochan, Lochan Sron nan Sionnach, which sits in a neat hollow gouged out by a glacier over 10,000 years ago.

As we descended, so the snow turned to thin rain, which spurred us back to the car and, soon after, home to a bowl of home-made soup and wholemeal bread, and another view - of Ben Hiant also capped with snow.

An interactive version of this map is here.

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