Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Ockle Point

Ockle, where the road along the north coast ends, is the smallest of the remaining inhabited clachans of West Ardnamurchan, now a crofting community, with a current permanent population of one. We have often taken the beautiful walk upstream along the Ockle Burn, but hadn't, until last Sunday, walked downstream towards the sea.

Derryck, a frequent visitor to Ardnamurchan, had told us of a waterfall along this stretch of the burn, and it's marked on the OS map, but this is the first time we'd seen it - and what a beauty it is, the perfect place for a swim, if not in March.

From the waterfall it's an easy walk towards Ockle Point, passing the mouth of the burn at Inverockle, and the site of a house with a turf roof beside a secluded beach.

From Ockle Point, seen here from the east after we'd visited it, the coast becomes increasingly wild and forbidding, particularly on a very Highland damp day, and consists of a series....

....of high, dark cliffs and hidden bays.

To begin with, the walking is easy along the rolling, sheep-cropped hills at the back of the coast. Here there are the ruins of an isolated, typical 18th to 19th century house, measuring about 10m by 5m, with rounded corners and an entrance at the centre of the northeast wall. The bracken is a sure sign that the land around it was worked, and while the elongate mounds of lazy beds are visible on the ground, it's not until one looks.... a satellite picture that one appreciates the scale of the agricultural workings. The ruined house is marked '1', and '2' is....

....a fishing bothy tucked into the back of one of the many bays. This was used in the times of the extensive salmon fishing industry which was based at Fascadale, the bothy being visited by the boats which worked the eastern end of the fishery.

From the bothy it's a pleasant walk back to Ockle. The walk further east along the coastline is a different matter as it leads into some of the most rugged, remote and wild coastline in the area.

Ockle Holidays offer cottages for rent at Ockle.

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