Sunday, 20 April 2014

East of Ockle

There doesn't seem to have been a spring this year.  We've plunged straight from a dark, damp winter straight in to an early summer.  Today was flawless, hardly a cloud in the sky and only a light northerly blowing, so we headed for the tiny village of Ockle, starting by walking down the track to the bothy in the bay once used by the Fascadale salmon fishermen.

From there we turned east, following the coast, sometimes scrambling down to the cobble beaches, sometimes being forced by rocky headlands to climb over the hills.  As always, there were things we wanted to do, the first being to revisit the dun, a supposed iron age fort, at the landward end of the narrow peninsula that sticks out into the sea in the middle of this picture.

It's a place we've explored a couple of times before, but never tire of.  While it's supposed to be iron age, there's always the possibility that it was either built by, or re-used by the MacIains in their piratical days during the early years of the 17th century.

It's an ideal hideout.  Amongst other things, it's very difficult to see, the dry-stone walls being made of the same rock as the headland, so they blend in perfectly.  It would also have been very difficult to attack, with the natural high point dominating the surrounding area.

Walking on eastwards, we passed bay after bay filled with calm, Caribbean-blue waters, but very little in the way of wildlife.  As we approached each, we hoped to see something like an otter, but they're obviously already in summer mode, hunting either in the very early morning or late evening.

The highlight of the walk was a visit to a stone circle found by Allyson and Andrew Perkins, members of the Ardnamurchan Community Archaeology group.  The stones formed the base of a round-house of some nine metres diameter.  It's either bronze age or early iron age, and located in a narrow glen which runs down into one the many bays we passed, an ideal place for a small community to settle.

We enjoyed lunch on the end of the headland seen in the distance in this picture, and then made our way back to the Gortenfern-Ockle track which took us back to the car park at Ockle.

There's a map of the area here.

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