Wednesday, 8 June 2016

The Faces of Ben Hiant

We look out on this view of Ben Hiant every day from our house. Sometimes it's lost in cloud, but there's never a day when it doesn't show its face, even if it isn't always as spectacular as this picture, taken towards sunset on a January evening.

Its Gaelic name, according to Angus Henderson, is Beinn Shianta, the charmed or blessed mountain, and it's good to think that a mountain with such a name looks protectively down on this remote community.

To the visitor arriving along the B8007, the first sight of the ben is when one reaches Camas nan Geall. It's a magical combination, the peace of the bay below with the layered levels of land rising to the mountain's summit.

This is the view of the ben from the northwest, when it hides behind the ridge of Beinn na h-Urchrach. It's the view looking across the road in to Kilchoan after it has made a long detour to the north, to give the visitor the first views across the Minches towards the Small Isles. The old road to Kilchoan followed a much more direct route, running along the bottom of the near slope of Beinn na h-Urchrach.

From the road that turns left towards the lighthouse at Achosnich, one has much the same view but from a greater distance.

This is another view that's familiar to most, the precipitous face of the mountain as seen from the Kilchoan-Tobermory ferry. The red-hulled well boat is servicing the new Marine Harvest fish farm at Maclean's Nose, though the nose itself is to the right of this picture.

One of the less-known views of Ben Hiant is from the north, from the old Kilchoan road as it passes between the lower slopes of the ben and the Beinn nan Losgann forestry. The north face is everything one would expect of a north face, rocky, precipitate and lost in shadow through the winter.

In some ways, this is the most unusual view. It's taken from the northeast, from the open land to the north of the big wind turbine on Beinn Bhuidhe. It illustrates the concept of 'dead ground', for the whole of the narrow glen that carries the road is lost below the shadowed area, so it looks as if one can walk steadily uphill from here to the mountain's summit

1 comment:

  1. Mary McLauchlan8 June 2016 at 18:35

    A great set of photos Jon, thank you