Sunday, 3 January 2016

Allt nan Gobhar Walk

Our weather over the last few weeks has been dominated by southeasterly winds. From memory, the prevailing winds and storms of twenty years ago were mainly southwesterlies, often going round into the west. An easterly has always been unusual, but that's what we have today, a stiff wind bringing occasional showers. Being soft after the pleasures of Christmas and the new year, we chose a walk today which was protected from the wind, leaving the car at the forestry corner just before the Kilmory turn (see map at end of post) and walking down into the glen of the Allt nan Gabhar, the goat burn, and then following it upstream towards Ben Hiant.

There's an impressive stone circle not far from the road, which is either a bronze to iron age hut circle or a rather older kerb cairn, though no signs of a cist burial are visible today. We found it some years ago and logged it on Highland Council's Historic Environment Register, but an officer of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland visited it in 2014 and recorded it - here - his/her conclusion being that it was a hut circle.

There are plenty of other signs of past human occupation. Although it may not look like it, the loose rocks beside the burn at bottom right of this picture are some sort of shelter, possibly the remains of yet another illicit whisky still, though this one isn't close to a waterfall as are all the others.

It's almost impossible to enjoy a walk across Ardnamurchan's hills without disturbing deer. These ones were part of a group of five which were lying down minding their own business when we spoilt their day. Although the forestry is separated from the open land by a deer fence, much of this is down in enough places for the deer to be able to clear it easily.

The Allt nan Gobhar is a lovely little burn, with plenty of rapids and waterfalls. While it isn't at its best on a grey January day, walking gently along it, listening to the bubble of the water, is a great pleasure; and, as always on these walks, there's something unusual to find, in today's case....

....another mound of the mysterious white jelly which we've found before - see earlier post here. The various links from that post make all sorts of suggestions as to what this can be, from frog spawn to 'star snot' to remnants of recent meteorite showers to fungus and or smashed jellyfish. This time, purely in the interests of science, we dissected the biggest of the blobs, on the right, and found that.... covered a compact mass of dark eggs very like frogspawn. Since the jelly was on a steep, gravelly slope about ten metres above the burn, something has to have moved it there, and the best suggestion is one that has been given before, that something like a heron ate either the spawn itself or a female frog carrying it, and then regurgitated it.

We followed the burn to the point where is emerges from the forestry, looking back towards the road with Beinn na Leathaid on the right and a distant Meall nan Con towards the left horizon. If only the sun had been out....

Satellite picture courtesy Bing Maps.

1 comment:

  1. A southeasterly Scottish wind is almost always unpleasant but at least for once you have it dry. Here in the east it roars and howls and is delivering days of rain and murk and semi-dark