This morning we had a - sunrise! It was golden, with plenty of blue sky behind it, and the weather forecast was promising, so as soon as we'd had breakfast we headed out of the village intending to walk on Ardnamurchan Estate land near the forestry beyond Caim.
We were fortunate on our way to meet Niall Rowantree, the Estate's head stalker, who was feeding a group of stags of varying ages. He had with him two visitors who were being given a tour of the Estate, something that's available through their website, here.
We left our car at the top of the forestry - centre of the picture - and followed the fence down into the valley of the Allt nan Gabhar, the goat burn, before starting to climb what are the lower slopes of Beinn na h-Urchrach, to the right of the picture.
The Allt nan Gabhar is a lovely burn, twisting and winding as it heads down to join the Allt Choire Mhuilinn, which reaches the sea near Mingary Castle. The big cattle sheds at Caim can be seen to the left of the picture, with Meall an Tarmachain above them. Beinn an Leathaid is to the right, and Tom Mhic Iain is the mound half way between them.
As we climbed, the view opened so we looked down the valley towards Mingary Castle, sheathed in its scaffolding. Away to the right is Kilchoan Bay, with the houses of the village scattered beyond it. We haven't allowed the poor weather to prevent our walking, but it was wonderful to be out in the sun, even though it was hazed by thin, high cloud.
The effect of weeks of rain, including a further 15mm last night, is very apparent. The ground is sopping, like walking across a sponge, and very slippery, and the flat areas of marshy land are almost impassable. Many of the burns which we usually cross with ease are rushing torrents, but....
....this does have the positive effect of creating some lovely waterfalls.
As we head towards the new year the weather is forecast to revert to rain, with a near gale promised for tonight and another on hogmanay.