Monday, 16 December 2013

A Circuit of Lochan nan Ealachan

Lochan nan Ealachan, the lochan of the swans, lies in the flat land between the Sanna and Portuairk roads.  It's a sadly neglected lochan: the OS used to have its name on their maps but then they lost it, even though it's a larger lochan than many; and we'd never visited it.

So we set off to walk all round the lochan, perhaps foolishly on a day when we'd had 14mm of rain overnight.  We left the car by the recycling point, crossed the Millburn, and walked directly north, over a low hill, to find ourselves looking down on a waterfall made spectacular by the overnight rain.

We had expectedthe lochan to come into view at the top of the hill but all we could see was a vista of grey skies and soggy countryside, with Beinn na h-Imeilte in the left distance.

As we reached the bottom of the hill and pressed on northwards we realised just how saturated the place was.  Not only did it rain heavily the previous night, but it had also rained consistently on every single day of the previous week, a total of some 70mm.  The Highland's hills do shed water quickly, but some of it was still queuing in this soggy bogland waiting for the overstretched drainage.

The next part of the walk consisted largely of struggling through bog and trying to find crossing points on the many small burns that interlace this flat area but, finally, we came in sight of the lochan.  Better still, we were able to head for the higher and, hopefully, drier land seen to the left of this picture.

This is a view of the lochan - sadly with no swans on it - from the opposite side, looking back towards Meall Chro Bheinn and the way we had come.  The Sanna road runs between the hill and the lochan.

As we continued to work our way round the northern end of the lochan, heading eastwards towards the Sanna road, the sun suddenly came out.  This picture shows the lochan with the heights of Beinn na Seilg on the skyline, with the low land on the near side showing signs of some sort of working, possibly peat cutting.

Water from the whole basin that includes Lochan na CrannaigLochan nan Ealachan and all the flat land around them drains out along the burn on which we saw the waterfall, so we followed this burn downstream, on its east side....

....which gave us another fine view of the waterfall, this time in bright sunlight.

All we had to do to regain the car was to follow the burn downstream to the recycling point - but an apportionment has recently been allocated on this bank of the burn, and its owner has run his new fence, topped by some impressively sharp barbed wire, hard against the steep drop down to the burn.  The picture shows one of the easier sections.

To make matters worse, when we'd almost reached the recycling point, we found that this fence crosses the Abhainn Chro Bheinn, meaning that we either had to cross that burn, which was running strongly, or climb over the barbed wire.  We plunged into the burn.

An interactive version of this map is here.

1 comment:

  1. I fished it once a few years ago. Just a couple of hours one evening. I didn't catch anything but i decided that even though it is fairly small it was worth another visit one day. Lochan na Crannaig has some decent trout in it and it's not that much larger than Lochan nan Ealachan.