Sunday, 31 January 2016
So we parked the car at the top of the track that leads down to the big sheep fank at the south end of Loch Mudle, and then climbed the steep scarp on the other side of the glen....
We then we followed the scarp crest southwards, climbing steadily, in absolutely ideal walking conditions as the slopes on either side had drained the land quickly.
Far more snow had accumulated on this side of Ben Hiant than the Kilchoan side, and we caught it just as it had melted enough to pick out every rock, fold and feature of the landscape. With a light wind, no rain, and the going easy underfoot, this was joyful winter walking.
XCWeather's version, which shows average wind speeds tomorrow evening reaching force 9, with gusts over 70mph. The BBC is even more pessimistic, suggesting gusts to 81mph - anything over 72mph is hurricane force.
A few minutes later we had a call from the SSE call centre asking whether we'd been all right through yesterday's power cut - which we had been since, when we built this house, one of its design features was that we should be comfortable during prolonged cuts.
The very pleasant lady told us that the outage had been caused by a lightning strike on the power lines "in a field near Beinn na Seilg," that the repair had been temporary, and that we are on the mains supply, not on a generator. She warned that it might be necessary to cut the supply again when the full repair is carried out, but she promised they would give us due warning.
Many thanks to Kilchoan Early Bird for the pictures.
Saturday, 30 January 2016
|Picture courtesy the Raptor|
The winds are finally beginning to ease. We're promised a calm-ish day tomorrow, before another severe storm arrives in the early hours of Monday morning.
Friday, 29 January 2016
Under the new idea of giving major storms a name, this is Storm Gertrude, which has returned to tradition by bringing us a proper westerly after the recent storms with their prevailing southeasterly winds. As with any storm, it's not the steady high winds which do the damage but the sudden gusts, like this one which has flattened the waves as they break across Glas Eilean.
When one bears in mind that the gusts we're experiencing here on the south side of the peninsula are in the lee of the hills, one can only imagine what conditions are like out at Ardnamurchan Point lighthouse, particularly as these winds have an unusually long fetch which should generate some huge waves.
Cameron Beccario's magnificent global wind visualisation which also shows that, unlike most storms which rotate around an area of low pressure, this is a run of intense westerlies which have reached their maximum speed over an unfortunate Shetland, but which are also bringing high winds right across Scotland. Very unusually, last night our local police took to Facebook to advise drivers not to venture out while Gertrude hangs around. Gertrude is forecast to be with us much longer than most storms, until well into tomorrow evening, and there's another storm coming in on Monday as the elongate frontal system seen at bottom left in the illustration develops into a more traditional, circular and very vicious depression.
Thursday, 28 January 2016
We returned to the Kilchoan side of the peninsula as the sun once again appeared, forcing its way between angry clouds - picture, taken from Ormsaigmore, looks across Kilchoan Bay to Maol Buidhe, with Mull away to the left.
The weather forecast is cheerless. By the early hours of tomorrow the mean wind speed will be gale force, with gusts of over 70mph, and these continue with little break until Saturday midday.
This wall may not be unusual except that it's badly collapsed and.... straight. Straight walls tend to be post-Clearance, 1830 onwards, and most of these are still in fairly good condition. So this one is a little different.
Looking at a Bing satellite image of the area is fascinating. '1' is the point where the photograph was taken, looking roughly northwest. The wall continues across the landscape for a mile or so, reaching almost as far as the Allt Choiremhuilinn with only a couple of slight bends. Compare it with the wall marked '2-2-2', which waggles all over the place. '1' is also clearly younger than '2', as it cuts across it where they meet.
'2-2-2' is what is called a 'head dyke', the main wall that ran round the outer perimeter of a clachan's arable land. The clachan in this case is Choiremhuilinn. '3' is obviously an even older wall than both '1' and '2' as it has decayed to the point where, on the ground, it's not easily visible.
That this is good arable land is evident from the many fields of lazy beds, particularly in the western part of this image.
The straight wall '1', which cuts right across the clachan's fields and walls, isn't shown extending beyond '2' - but it probably did, but was neglected when Bald drew his made.
This leaves us with some questions. What was the purpose of this unusual, old, straight wall, and what is its age? I'll take a guess at its age. I wonder if Sir Alexander Murray of Stanhope, who had the Ardnamurchan Estate in the early18th century and was responsible for the very straight drainage ditches that he had dug to drain the hills, had any thing to do with it.
Wednesday, 27 January 2016
Tuesday, 26 January 2016
Ann's funeral will be on Friday 29th January at 1.00pm at the parish church in Kilchoan, followed by interment at the new cemetery. All are welcome, and are invited to join the family at the Kilchoan Community Centre afterwards.
The family would like to express its thanks for all the support and help they have received, and for all the messages from Ann's many friends.
We extend our deepest sympathy to Hughie, Rosie, Titch, Nan and the rest of Ann's family.
Monday, 25 January 2016
This view looks from a hill at the back of the beach southwest towards Ardnamurchan Point lighthouse. The beach has formed between an offshore island, Eilean Carrach, and the mainland, and it's one of those beaches which comes and goes. Today there was more sand than ever.
She looked wet, bedraggled and not a happy bunny. This west coast weather, with its gales and rain, is obviously not suiting her.
Sunday, 24 January 2016
Highland Council is now inviting nominations from persons seeking election as members to Community Councils which remained unformed after the last election. Nominations have to be in by 4.00pm on Wednesday 3rd February.
Guidance notes and nomination papers are available on the Highland Council website here. Even if you don't want to stand, perhaps talk to someone who would make a good councillor and try to persuade them to stand.
This picture shows business as usual at the hanging feeders which provide a menu of peanuts, seeds, sultanas - the blackbird is feeding off them - and fat in the form of lard.
Saturday, 23 January 2016
This structure is evidently old, and excavating it would be the sort of project which ACA aspires to take on. The structure we would most like to find is a Viking long house, and a building of this size and shape matches descriptions of the sort of small farm houses which Viking settlers constructed. We know the Vikings were on this coast for some 300 years but no sign of their dwellings has yet been found. For a description of Viking dwellings, follow this link. Our structure is about the size of Eiríksstaðir.