Sunday, 17 April 2016

North of Achnaha

During the night the wind backed into the west, bringing a cold, damp airstream and outbreaks of sleety rain, unpleasant weather but not bad enough to prevent us taking a walk north from Achnaha, heading for the un-named hill - on the OS maps - just to the south of Glendrian Caves, seen here to the right of centre. To reach it, we passed below the vertical rock face seen at right, a place where, in summer, one often sees climbers scaling the vertical cliffs.

The countryside is still burnt by the winter winds, with little sign of life except for the occasional herd of red deer....

....and, amongst the thousands of low-growing willow shrubs, this lone one which had burst into flower. I have no idea which of the several species of willow this is, but this individual was hosting the first ant we've seen this year - visible on top of the largest of the catkins towards bottom left.

The gully to the west of the rock face is littered with massive boulders which have fallen from it, one of which has formed the roof of what could have been used as a primitive shelter. Further round, on the north side....

....the base of the cliff is littered with even more rocks, three of which form natural shelters. Here, however, it is obvious that they have been inhabited, one in particular having a stone wall built in front of its entrance to form a front yard.

It spat with rain for much of the walk but, as we reached the hill which was our objective, the sun came out - though the spitting continued - and, for a few minutes, the sea turned Caribbean blue. This picture looks west, across Sanna towards Ardnamurchan Point, while....

....this looks north, across the headland called Rubha Carrach to Rum, Eigg and Muck.

From the hill one could look east almost the whole way to Fascadale, a section of coastline where hills separate an open glen from the sea. This valley offers a relatively easy route along the north coast and, in the past, would have been used by people moving from Fascadale to Sanna.


  1. Hi Jon, just waiting for you to publish a photo this area. We were there 10 days ago and there appears to be an ancient (?) burial cairn on an area of fertile ground (grassed) at grid ref 460715 or 461701. Are you aware of it or ever explored it ?

  2. Hi Ian - Yes, we passed it again today. It's probably a shieling hut, one of a number in the immediate vicinity. There's also a hut circle just to the east, possible bronze to iron age. Jon

  3. Thanks. Shielding hut ? for livestock or summer shelter for herdsmen ?

  4. Jon, could you please define a Shielding? Thanks