Thursday, 12 January 2017

East of the Millburn

With a much reduced northwester bringing in heavy clouds threatening a day of snow and hail showers, I walked from the road down the east bank of the Millburn - happily without any diesel floating in it - and was thrilled to spot....

....the dipper which always seems to be working this stretch first thing in the morning. I watched it for some time as it dived under the water, then sat a little longer to follow the progress of two sea eagles along the coast, harried by the gulls, which seem to enjoy the fun of it.

We had hail and snow and temperatures as low as 1C overnight, so the hills are white and the roads slippery, but it was much easier walking around the back of Kilchoan Bay. This is an area of sand and shingle when exposed by low tides, a place for shellfish and wading birds, and a safe anchorage for those courageous souls who are still working the wilks at this miserable time of year.

The local flocks of sheep are fed sugar beet pellets throughout the winter, and Hughie was down with his animals. They spend their lives enjoying the grass and seaweed around the bay. Two of his ewes were missing, a blackface which seems to spurn the extra feed, and a prized cheviot cross. We searched the back of the bay for them, the blackface being found quite happily by itself but, sadly, the cheviot was lying dead in some marsh grass with no sign of the reason for its early demise.

As long as the two burns which drain directly into the bay, the Allt Darach and the Abhiann Glac na h-Eaglais, aren't carrying too much water, it's possible to work one's way all round the bay towards Glas Eilean. Kilchoan township's land ends against this 18th century stone wall, the land to the left belonging to Ardnamurchan Estate.

From the far side of the bay there's a panoramic view of the three townships in the village. This is a view of the four houses and three crofts of Orsmaigmore, with Beinn na h-Imeilte behind.

Then the clouds suddenly drew aside and bright sunshine lit the landscape. In the foreground is the small group of Kilchoan township croft houses near the Sanna turn, while....

....this view looks across to Meall mo Chridhe and the 12th century St Comghan's church.

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