Thursday, 28 March 2013

Allt Fascadale - 1

We drove to Fascadale yesterday in beautifully sunny weather, with the intention of doing the walk along the coast from Fascadale westwards towards Sanna.  On our way we passed Achateny Cottage, one of Ardnamurchan Estate's letting houses.  The island of Eigg is seen behind it, while the distant snow-covered mountains are the Cullins on Skye.

The hinds seem to have disappeared from many of the places where they're most often to be found, such as in the upper valley of the Achateny Water below the Kilmory crossroads.  Many of them seem to have moved onto the flat land formed by the raised wave-cut platform between Achateny and Fascadale.  As can be seen, we were to have a day of wonderful views of the Lesser Isles.

Along the winding road that leads to Fascadale we found this little chap who seemed quite happy to sit on a strand of rusty barbed wire while he had his portrait taken out of the car window.  When he flew off he behaved just like a skylark, singing and flying with that species' characteristic, quivering, wings-half-outstretched flight, but in other ways he didn't resemble one.  Just look at the length of his toenails!

Fascadale was in bright sunshine and, protected from the chill southeasterly wind, surprisingly warm.  With a blue sky and calm blue sea, this could be a picture of the Greek islands in summer, one difference - other than the temperature - being that, except for an Estate worker returning in a tractor from feeding the cows, we didn't see a soul for the next three hours.

We left the car in the small car park at Fascadale, crossed the Allt Fascadale dry-shod - there's been so little rain that there's hardly any water in any of the local burns - and set off westwards.... except.... except....  one of the walks we'd never done was to follow the Allt Fascadale upstream, where it cuts a steep valley between the two northwest-southeast trending ridges of Meall nan Con and Cathair Mhic Dhiarmaid.

So we turned up the valley, walking at first along its upper shoulder but constantly stopping to look back across an azure sea to the islands of Eigg, Rum (along the horizon in this picture), Canna, Muck and the very distant Outer Hebrides.

An interactive map of the area is here.


  1. that does look v much like a skylark in your excellent photo. I checked some reference material and they do seem to have very long claws :)

    1. tim from suffolk28 March 2013 at 17:14

      with ref to your little chap on wire ,its a meddow pipit.

  2. Dave McFadzean - Moniaive28 March 2013 at 17:01

    Definitely a pipit. First thoughts were tree pipit ( cause of the greenish hue) but on checking methinks a juvenile meadow pipit. Hope that helps

  3. Many thanks for the identification: a meadow pipit mimicking a skylark.