Friday, 15 November 2013

Three Mealls in a Morning

It's always good, on setting off on a walk, to have a sighting of an eagle almost immediately, particularly when the day starts depressingly dull.  As we left Fascadale, on Ardnamurchan's north coast, to walk westwards, the angry calls of some gulls warned us of one soaring high above.  It was almost certainly a sea eagle, and we saw it again later, on our way back to the car, flying much lower and very fast northwards, so perhaps it was a visitor from Rum.

The general idea of the walk was to follow the coast westwards.  The coast path, which is marked by white stakes, cuts across rather boggy ground inland, but our intention was to hug the cliff tops and only divert inland to take in a few of the higher summits.  This was the first, Meall Buidhe Mor, which could loosely be translated as the big, yellow lump of a hill. The picture looks back along our path to Fascadale Bay.

From the cliffs we looked down on this creel boat, the Oban-registered OB988, Eilean Ban, the fair island - an appropriate name, as she's a neat, well maintained boat.  We watched as her crew hauled in their creels, after which she headed off in the direction of Eigg.

This is a dark and forbidding section of coast, with the bare rock plunging straight down to the sea, one along which there are few landing places, and these....

....are in the few narrow cuts that slice down to rocky beaches.  Most of them are along the lines of ancient volcanic dykes which are softer than the rest of the local rock, so they have been exploited both by the sea and by small, fast-running burns.  The island in the distance here is Eigg.

We stopped for a rest at the summit of Meall Buidhe Beg, the small, yellow lump of a hill, and looked west across the country we still had to cross.  The weather remained dull, the wind light and the sea calm.

From the next summit, Meall Eigin-aig, we looked down on a lochan that isn't named on the OS map, although the small burn which runs out of it on a short journey to the sea is called Slochd Dorcha, which means dark (or mysterious) pool. The hill to the right is Meall Clach an Darrach, where clach is oak and darrach stone, the one to the left is Sgurr nan Gobhar, the rocky peak of the goat.

As we reached Port Eigin-aig, the little harbour which once served the people of Glendrian, the sun finally came out.  It's many years since this was last used to pull boats out of the water, but the track that leads down to the shore, protected from the breakers by a line of rocks, is still clearly visible.

We returned to Fascadale along the relatively straight path just inland from the coast.  The return from Port Eigin-aig took about three-quarters of an hour while the outward journey, along the cliff tops and over the three hilltops, took over two.

A map of the area is here.


  1. The other way round - as I'm sure you really know, 'clach' is stone and 'darach' is oak.