We drove to Fascadale this morning with the weather grey but dry. Fascadale's name comes from the Norse and means field of the ship, presumably because the Vikings made use of its wonderfully protected bay. The area shows plenty of signs of worked fields too, but today it has three of Ardnamurchan Estate's self-catering houses, and cows and sheep on the hill.
We walked west, climbing the first of the hills that form a switchback all along the coast to Sanna. This is the summit of Meall Buidhe Mor, the big yellow hill, looking back towards Fascadale Bay and Achateny.
This orchid, possibly a heath spotted, was among several growing right next to the cairn in about as exposed a position as they could possibly have chosen, but they looked healthy - more evidence that this is promising to be a great year for orchids.
We followed the hills westwards, with a constant view of the small isles away to the north, and to Skye - those are the Black Cuillins in the distance. The air was so clear that the tops of the hills of the Outer Hebrides were also clearly visible.
We left the coast and struck inland, coming round to the west of Meall an Fhir-eoin, eagle hill. Just by what we think is one of West Ardnamurchan's prettiest lochans, Lochan an Dobhrain, otter lochan, we were commenting on the lack of wildlife when we saw this red deer hind with a companion. They seems remarkably unworried by us, the other one continuing to graze as we passed.
Meall an Fhir-eoin isn't the easiest hill to climb, the best approach being from the west, but it's one of those hills that's worth every moment of effort as the views unfold. In the distance beyond Mrs Diary is Sanna township, while Achnaha is away to the left, with Meall Sanna between and Coll lying along the horizon.
From the summit we looked straight down onto Lochan an Dhobhrain and the broken country that surrounds it. All these hills are part of the Tertiary ring dyke of the Ardnamurchan volcano, formed some sixty million years ago and then exposed by the glaciers that carved away the volcano that once rose high above it.
The summit of eagle hill is bowl-shaped - and therefore boggy - and full of scattered pieces of rock but, as always with these hills....
...there's a welcoming little pool of clear, peaty water for anyone who feels like a bath before setting off for the descent - in this case with views north to Rum, Eigg and Skye.