We're very accustomed to looking down from the tops of hills and seeing areas of flat land beneath us divided into rectangular areas by ditches. These can sometimes be in places which are miles from any existing village, as with this heavily-drained area which is by the Kilmory turn off the B8007, but we've always assumed they were areas of improved agricultural land.
The winter's dry weather has, however, begun to reveal other ditch systems which don't lend themselves to quite such a simple explanation. The ditches in this picture of the western flank of Beinn an Leathaid run across land which is rather steep for cultivation....
One possibility is that these could be drains cut in preparation for the planting of forestry, but we have checked with the Estate and there is no recollection of these areas being prepared, recently or in the past, for tree-planting. In any case, they are on very exposed slopes, not ideal even for coniferous woodland.
The ditches seem to have one thing in common: they all run downhill to a burn or river. For want of any other explanation, are these some sort of water catchment system, designed to draw water down into burns back in a past age when rain wasn't quite as plentiful as it is today? Either that, or were the ancient people of West Ardnamurchan emulating the strange lines drawn in the Nazca desert by a lost people in Peru some 1,500 years ago? If so, can someone please go up in an aeroplane and see what pictures they were drawing.