Sunday, 15 June 2014

Druim Reidh-dhalach

We walked this morning into the area to the south of Ardnamurchan Point lighthouse.  Our plan was to head for one of the ridges we hadn't explored, Druim Reidh-dhalach - see map at bottom of this entry.

One of the places we were looking out for on the way was an area of ground that looked, on the Bing satellite map, as if it might have been worked in the past.  It's not the best time of year to be looking for places like this as the bracken is now thick, but we found it, and confirmed, particularly from the very sturdy drystone wall that ran around the top of it, that this had been, at one time, arable land.  It is miles from anywhere, so one does wonder who worked it, and when.

From there we headed southeast, climbing steadily along the spine of Druim Reidh-dhalach.  Tucked into one of its glens we came across this little herd of red deer, who stood and watched us for a few minutes before moving off.

As we climbed higher, so the views to the north opened up.  In the centre of this picture is Grigadale farm, with Loch Caorach to the right and, in the distance, the islands of Eigg, Skye, Rum and Muck.  The beach visible to the left is Bay MacNeil.

Obviously not many people climb Druim Reidh-dhalach as the cairn on its rather flat, bleak summit is small but, judging by the growth of lichen on it, it's old.  It may be that those who put these stones here came from....

....the nearby settlement of Reidh-dhail, long abandoned, but distinguishable in the centre of this picture but the bright green of the bracken that's invaded its arable land.  This view looks east, with the peaks of Beinn na Seilg, at the back of Ormsaigbeg, in the centre.

We turned south again, following the top of the narrow glen which connects Reidh-dhail with its little port, An Achairseid.  This is a superb natural harbour, a cove with two narrow entrances and a shingle beach on which to pull up the boats.

The rock structures here trend NW-SE, so we had to cross a number of steep-sided glens to reach the high ridge, a southeastern extension of Garbhlach Mhor, which runs along the coast.

Tucked into a fold in this long ridge is Lochan Druim na Claise.  By this time a brisk northerly was blowing into our faces and rippling the surface of the lochan, but it was also stripping away the high cloud which had obscured the sun for much of the walk.

At the summit of this ridge stands a trig point at 144m and this impressive cairn.  In contrast to the one on Druim Reidh-dhalach, this has been carefully built, perhaps by the surveyors.  It was near here that we ate our lunch before heading - thankfully mainly downhill - back to the car.

An interactive version of this map is here.


  1. The area of land South of the Lighthouse was worked by a family Henderson ,who moved to Mull, the present generation is Captain on the Tobermory -Mingary ferry, hope this helps

  2. Many thanks for the information. Jon

  3. Hi Jon, How long does that walk take? Is there a lot of rough walking?

    Have you ever thought about publishing a guide to circular walks in the area?

  4. Hi Michael - The walking is fairly rough ands it took about six hours - but we weren't in any hurry. Yes, I have thought of doing a walks guide, but the joy of this place really is that you don't have to follow set walks because there are so few fences and other 'impediments'. However, I have done a booklet about walks to places of historical interest which can be bought in local shops. Jon