Friday, 28 February 2014

A Paddle in the Hills

To recover from the excitement of last night we set off this morning to walk in the area between Glas Bheinn, the grey hill, and the sheds at Caim.  It's open moorland with hardly a tree, but there's a dramatic change in vegetation between the side where we were walking - Ardnamurchan Estate land - and the land on the other side of the deer fence, the far side having much more heather.  This may be a consequence of the difference in use: the Estate side is grazed and browsed by sheep, cattle and deer, whereas the far side, which is seen at the top of the slope in this picture and is Kilchoan Township's common grazings, is predominately sheep.

In one way it was a slightly eerie walk because, for almost every step - or squelch - of the way we were being watched.  Sometimes it was small groups of deer, such as this stag with his six ladies.  As we approached the four on the lower part of the slope made off, leaving the stag and the two remaining hinds to watch us.

Sometimes the watcher was a lone stag looking haughtily down on us.

In such circumstances we try to avoid the deer without allowing them to divert us too far from our intended route, but we hate disturbing them and watching them run away.  To be able to roam amongst animals which are, largely, wild, is a privilege and a pleasure.

Even the hill slopes were saturated from the recent rain, but they made better going than the lower, marshy areas, some of which were practically impassable.  At least we managed to complete our walk this time without slipping and falling.

This is Lochan Clach a' Chorrach, a lochan which is marked on the OS map as a fraction of its present size.  I have been asked by readers to try to include translations of local Gaelic names, but this is one which, with my minimal knowledge of the language, is difficult.  Clach is a stone, but the dictionary gives Chorrach as either 'fetters' or 'steep, precipitous'.  The location has none of the feature of the latter, so one wonders about the reference to stone fetters.

1 comment:

  1. I'm advised that the word 'corrach' can mean march or bog, which seems a much better translation in this context. Many thanks to Moira for the correction. Jon