Monday, 22 December 2014

An Achateny Walk - 1

With a break in the weather promised for this morning, we decided to walk down the road from the junction where the Fascadale road leaves the Ockle road, heading towards Achateny, with the intention we would stick to the road since the land was sopping after yesterday's 20mm of Kilchoan sunshine.

The cottage in this picture is Braehouse Cottage, one of Ardnamurchan Estate's letting houses, and the hill in the distance is West Ardnamurchan's highest, Ben Hiant.

Walking along roads isn't our favourite occupation, but this walk was immediately brightened by the sight of a gaggle of greylag geese with one stranger on their periphery - a barnacle goose.  While the greylags are here all year round now, the barnacle is a winter visitor from either Greenland or northern Russia.

Walking along a road one notices so many things which one wouldn't shooting past in the car.  This little stone bridge beside the road interested me simply because I couldn't work out what it is for.  Is it for sheep, the ones that don't like walking along tarmac roads? Hedgehogs? Pedestrians?  Or was it put there so that the new superfast broadband cables could be run across it?

This is a view under the same culvert.  This one, unlike the other ones along this stretch of road, which are formed of modern pipes, is entirely made of stone - and quite beautifully built.  One immediately wonders, therefore, if this is an old bridge re-used when the road was upgraded.

The chances of our being able to stick to the road to keep our feet dry were zero.  This picture was taken from the lower slopes of Cathair Mhic Dhiarmaid, MacDiarmid's Seat, the hill to the west of the road, looking back up the valley of the Achateny Water across fields which were, judging by their rig and furrow workings, extensively used as arable land a couple of hundred years ago.

We returned to the road, and then followed the Achateny Water downstream as it passed Achateny Steadings and approached the sea.  There are a series of beautiful little rapids and falls along this section.

Immediately to the west of where the Achateny Water enters the sea, there's an extensive area of white to mud coloured beach, a lonely spot where our only company was grey herons, oystercatchers, curlews and gulls.  The tides are approaching springs, and were out, exposing a great expanse of sand, but what pleased us was that last night's high tide had left a line of seaweed containing only one item of plastic flotsam.

An interactive version of this map is here.

1 comment:

  1. Your little bridge is what is left after the second lid-stone broke and fell into the culvert; the grass and soil followed through leaving the remaining outer lid-stone bridging the culvert walls. But I prefer your suggestion that is is for the use of sheep. A beautiful reminder of an earlier, pre-plastic age.