With a stiff northerly wind blowing and a cap of snow on the summit of Ben Hiant, we set off yesterday on the first walk of the new year. It took us to the west of Ormsaigbeg, up onto Meall Buidhe and along its ridge to the far end where a steep glen cuts through to the sea and there's a view to the northwestern entrance to the Sound of Mull. Occasional showers came through carrying cold, biting rain but, between times, out of the wind, it was pleasantly warm in the sunshine.
From the summit of Meall Buidhe there are fine views east along the coastline. This picture looks along Ormsaigbeg to Ormsaigmore and Kilchoan, with Glas Bheinn at centre and Meall an Tarmachain at upper left.
With winter in control, there's very little wildlife to be seen on the exposed hilltops, so it was good to find the first 'new' thing of the year, a dog lichen mixed in with moss covering a rock, but with the lichen's fruiting bodies or 'apothecia', which we hadn't seen before.
Meanwhile, our Swimming Corespondent reports, "While not quite an annual tradition (yet), the Kilchoan Loony Dookers met to celebrate the new year by launching themselves into the icy water. A similar event in Edinburgh attracted a thousand people, some coming from as far away as Australia, and the Kilchoan event was similarly popular with a record turnout of six people, some coming all the way from Tobermory. Regulars Bruce and Mark were joined by Angus, Lauren, Jamie & Rebecca, in a variety of costumes, including pyjamas. They took the plunge as the crowd cheered them on."
By late afternoon the showers had largely cleared and we were treated to what the Raptor described as, "the first stunning sunset of 2017." He continued, "May there be many more."
We saw the sunset from the road a hundred metres east of the shop, looking along Ormsaigbeg, with Meall Bhuidhe, where we were in the morning, at right.
Many thanks to our Swimming Correspondent and to the Raptor for pictures and stories.