One of the areas of West Ardnamurchan that is, for us, the least explored is the tract of land which lies to the east of Ockle and, of this large area, one place we were determined to visit was the headland called Rubha Aird Druimnich. Angus Henderson, in his booklet 'Ardnamurchan Place Names', says that the OS got the name wrong, that it should be Rubha Aird Druiminnes, the point of the height of the sheltered valley. As we were to discover, it's a good name as there are plenty of sheltered valleys along this wild section of coast.
We set out early in on a beautiful Sunday morning towards the end of August, with the sun still low and a light northwesterly blowing. This was the view of our objective, the further of the two headlands, the nearer being Rubha Eilagadale, from the path that runs from Ockle to Eilagadale and on to Gortenfern. In the distance lies the mainland and the mountains around Moidart.
On reaching Eilagadale we had a choice, to drop down to the house - it's surrounded by trees - or carry on along the Gortenfern path, cross the Allt Eilagadale, and then strike north to the headland. We chose the latter. As we were to discover very quickly, this was definitely the wrong choice.
The problem was evident from the moment we left the path. The country is extremely broken, with not one 'sheltered' glen, but many, each invisible until we stumbled upon it. We then had to find a way down, sometimes impossible because the sides were so steep, and struggle up the other side.
This was a good example, a deep-cut valley with steep banks covered in woodland. We'd fought our way through it when we disturbed a bird roosting either in a tree or, more likely, in one of the valley's crags. It's visible in the picture, and turned out to be a golden eagle.
Many of the obstacles couldn't safely be crossed so we had either to turn back and find a way round. When we came across bracken, often in head-height masses, we tried to fight our way through them. We're quite used to heavy walking, but this was the worst we'd ever encountered. Usually there are tracks to follow, mostly made by sheep, but here, other than indistinct ones made by deer, there were few.
We seemed at last to be making some progress - this view looks west along the coastline, with Rubha Ruadh, the red point, in the centre of the picture - when, to add to the natural obstructions....
....we came across a deer fence. At that point we might have given up but, fortunately, we found one section damaged, so we were able to cross it and continue on our way.