Saturday, 15 March 2014

Swans on Lochan nan Ealachan

Many thanks to Hughie MacLachlan for waking me at some unearthly hour this morning with the news that there were swans on one of the three lochans to the north of Kilchoan.  Despite the early rise and the drizzle, the short drive out to the location was well worth the trouble.

In fact there were fifteen swans on the lochan.  The trouble with this lochan is that it's some distance from the nearest road, the Sanna road, across a bog liberally dissected by deep, water-filled ditches.  We walked around the lochan back in December - post here - and it was one of the muddiest walks we've ever done.

Despite this, a careful approach was made to the lochan, as the last thing I wanted to do was disturb the swans.  We have no resident swans, so any we see are passing through and, therefore, resting on what may be a long and wearying journey.

From as close range as seemed safe, it was evident that these were whooper swans.  We had a juvenile whooper swan in Portuairk back in November - post here - and the Raptor has seen them swimming on Loch Sunart.  These swans winter in the UK, though not here, and then fly north to their summer breeding grounds in Iceland, and northern Scandinavia and Russia.

But what was so special about the occasion, and made getting wet and muddy so well worth while, was that the swans were swimming on Lochan nan Ealachan, the lochan of the swans.  Close readers of the Diary with very long memories will recall that this is a lochan which, although marked on early OS maps, such as the 1856 First Series, above, slipped off later maps even though its two neighbours, Lochan na Crannaig and Lochan an Aodainn, remained on.

Many thanks to Hughie for the phone call.


  1. I love all your posts, having visited, albeit briefly, last summer - a return route from Mull to Yorkshire! Several years ago we visited twice whilst staying near Arisaig. However, this post is quite magical and as your story unfolded of your early morning treck through the bog I was captivated. How wonderful that the swans landed there today. Thank you so much.

  2. Thank you for your very kind comment. Jon