Sunday, 20 November 2016

The Mouth of the Achateny Water

Compared to Friday, today we live in a different world, a cheerful place of warm sunshine and light winds. This is the sort of day that anyone with a camera prays for, as the air is crystal clear and the remnants of autumn colours are still bright in the hills.

We walked down the road to Achateny, at the bottom of the wide glen of the Allt an Doire Dharaich which, a bit further downstream, becomes the Achateny Water, with the Small Isles and Skye laid out along the horizon and bright with sunlit snow.

On the other side of the burn is Branault, but the fence just visible in front of the caravan is the Branault boundary, so the three ruins, all once cottars' cottages, lie on Achateny land. They were built to house workmen for Achateny Farm in the days when it was a sheep run.

To the left as one walks down the road lies the long ridge called Cathair Mhic Dhiarmaid, MacDiarmid's Seat, perfectly reflected in the waters of a small pond.

In winter the northerlies howl through this glen, the trees so burned on the up-wind side that they grow away in the downwind direction. At this time their bare branches are populated by....

....redwings, some of which, if it's done slowly, will allow one to approach quite close. Perhaps, in their summer home in Scandinavia, they're not much bothered by humans.

At the bottom of the road, a kilometre back from the coast, are the clustered buildings of what was Achateny Farm, now part of Ardnamurchan Estate. This is Achateny Cottage, available for rent here, with its superb views north across the Minch to the dark form of Eigg and, beyond it, the Cuillins of Skye.

Just past the cottage one can drop down to the Achateny Water and follow it downstream. This picture was taken at the top of one of its many and very pretty falls, with a huge erratic, dumped here during the ice age, to the left and the Isle of Rum in the distance.

Along this section we stopped to watch a pair of dippers chasing each other, flying fast and low just above the water surface, then stopping on a prominent rock to watch us.

This is the mouth of the Achateny Water, with the tide just past high. We found a convenient rock seat where we could sit in the sunshine, drink our coffee, and immerse ourselves in the view.


  1. Great to hear that you have the time and the presence of mind to take time out, to sit, drink coffee and watch nature go by. We all need to do more of that!

  2. It was this very area that made my postal run the best in the country for over ten years working for Royal Mail,.... its the one thing I miss since retiring

  3. Ian - I keep saying how fortunate we are to have places nearby, like Achateny, which are so wonderfully peaceful - and the time in which to savour them. Jon

    Stuart - Yes, You were a very lucky postie having that area, and the section along from Branault to Ockle. Beautiful country. Hope you're enjoying your retirement. Jon