Sunday, 28 December 2014

On a Clear Morning....

At this time of year, on a clear morning, dawn seems to go on forever.  The first light was in the sky long before seven, when we surfaced, and by a quarter to nine the sun had still not shown his face - a ferry and two jet planes had made much earlier starts on their day's journeys.

Ten minutes later one could tell where the sun was going to appear, though....

 ....five minutes later he was still playing with an increasingly cold photographer, finally....

....breaking the horizon at seven minutes past nine.

We had planned to drive east along the peninsula for a walk in the foothills of Ben Hiant, but one look at the road, white with a night's frost and covered in sheets of black ice from surface water flowing across it from blocked drains, changed our minds so, instead....

....we walked up the back of the house, then headed west into the vast spaces which are the Ormsaigbeg township's common grazings.  By this time the first clouds were drifting across the sky on a light northerly wind, gradually....

 ....obscuring the sun.

The frost made for some treacherous walking, made worse by the days of rain and hail we've had, which have left the earth cold and saturated.

The vegetation in the hills looks dead, brown and burnt by the cold, hardly a blade of green and not a flower in a place where, just a couple of months ago, wildflowers grew in profusion and we enjoyed one of the best shows of heather in years.  Only in places.... there a splash of brilliant colour.  Please, how does moss manage what all the other plants can't?

As we walked higher, so the encroaching cloud darkened the landscape until the scene lay spread below us in shades of monochrome.

As always, we had some sort of objective, and this was the first place we wanted to revisit.  Dubh Chreag, at top left, means the black crag, though there's nothing darker about it than any of the other peaks around it.  One could speculate over how it got its name: there are signs of old agricultural workings in the glen running up this side of it and, if one looks hard enough, of a small stone structure, perhaps a dwelling; so perhaps the man who lived here was called Dubh, as someone who lives alone in such a bleak wilderness might be, and this little summit was named for him.

Once across the saddle between the hills we could see north to the white peaks of Rum.  In front of it is the much smaller island of Muck, and the bay on the coast is Sanna.  We also saw that the cloud might clear.

Looking east, with the sun just reappearing, this is one of the twin lochans which nestle in the wide glen between the ridge behind our house, Druim na Gearr Leacainn, and the heights of Beinn na Seilg.

From the summit of Dubh Creag we looked northwest towards Ardnamurchan Point lighthouse and the Minches.  The twin lochans are called Lochain Dubh, the black lochans, and the larger loch beyond is Loch Caorach, the sheep's loch.
This was our final objective, Lochan na Cloich, the stoney lochan, perched in a cut in the hills.  A thin skin of ice covered the lochan's surface, which was....

....broken by the heads of some coarse grass and a scattering of rocky islands after which, perhaps, the lochan was named.


  1. Yet more wonderful photos. Wish we were there except that it was a perfect day at home! Thanks Jon for all the marvellous photos, the endless useful information, the news from west Ardnamurchan and just generally brightening every day. Never miss a day of checking out the Kilchoan blog.
    Best wishes for 2015.

  2. I am 88 widowed - rarely go anywhere but used to come to Ardnamurchan. Like your previous messenger I never miss one day of your blog. Appreciate it greatly and all the effort and time it takes to produce,

  3. What absolutely beautiful pictures! You've shared some amazing photos over the last few days, thank you for sharing. We might not always comment, but we're out here watching, and we're hooked! All the best for the new year!

  4. Many thanks for your kind comments. So pleased to hear that the Diary continues to give people enjoyment. Jon