Sunday, 10 January 2016

Three Lochans

We had more rain overnight and the temperatures rose, so the snow had gone from the top of Ben Hiant by dawn. However, with the weather seeming to improve despite a fairly grim forecast yesterday, we took to the hills for a short walk, leaving the car by the Council recycling centre and crossing this burn, the Allt Fhearghais (Fergus' burn), by the road bridge before bearing left into the hills in the direction of the Sonachan Hotel.

After spotting the goldeneye on Lochan na Crannaig recently - see post here - the idea of the walk was to visit three lochans in the centre of the peninsula in the hope of seeing more wildfowl. The first of these was Lochan na Crannaig. The goldeneye was obviously long gone, and nothing disturbed the still waters of the lochan except ripples which might have been small trout rising.

Beyond the lochan is the Sanna road, Meall Chro Bhein, Glas Bheinn, and Ben Hiant. At this point the sky was still grey but there were signs that it might clear.

The second lochan we visited was Lochan an Aodainn at the back of the Sonachan Hotel but it, like Lochan na Crannaig, was bare of life. In the background here is Beinn na Seilg and a persistent grey sky.

From a knoll to the north of the lochan there are good views across to the township of Achosnich, with Beinn Bhuidhe rising beyond it.  The Sonachan Hotel is tucked in behind the hill in the foreground.

Four deer appeared below us. Three of them moved unhurriedly up and over the brow of the hill opposite us but the fourth stood and watched us. Shortly afterwards, one of the others came back and barked at it, a call - perhaps from an anxious mother - which it ignored.

We retraced our steps, crossed the road, and worked our way round the south side of Lochan na Crannaig; so this view looks over the lochan to the narrow glen cut by the burn that issues from it, the Sruthan Bhraigh nan Allt. The island on which the crannog once stood is clearly visible.

Although the third lochan, Lochan nan Ealachan, is the lochan of the swans, it, too, was devoid of any bird life, but at last the sun was beginning to succeed in its attempts to break through the clouds.

Considering the mildness of the climate, so these lochans very rarely freeze over, it's a surprise that we do not have more wildfowl overwintering on them, although we see plenty of greylag geese, mallard and widgeon, and some teal, on the pools along the shoreline.

Walking back to the car, with the sun still struggling to assert itself, we had this view down into Kilchoan township, with the Sound of Mull beyond, Morvern to the left, and the Isle of Mull to the right.


  1. Such colours, and the deer grass is still magnificent. Looks like you might have some spring grass showing in the last photograph? Thank you for another delightful tour.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Derryck. It has been so mild until recently that it wouldn't surprise me to hear that the grass is growing. Jon