Tuesday, 17 January 2017

The Watershed

From the B8007, looking north from the corner of the Beinn nan Losgann forestry, the view appears, by Ardnamurchan standards, surprisingly flat. The rounded shape of Beinn an Leathaid rises to the right, and a burn, with a waterfall just visible, runs down to the left. It doesn't look a great prospect for a good walk when there are so many others here - but then looks are often wrong.

A walk up the burn, the Allt Rath a Bheulain, offers a number of surprises. There are several fine waterfalls, the one visible from the road being the site of what we are fairly certain is the remains of an illegal whisky distillery possibly dating back to the late 18th century.

All the way up the wide, open glen between Beinn an Leathaid on the right and Tom Mhic Iain to the left, there are signs of workings on the land. Straight ditches, probably dug in the first part of the 18th century in the time when Alexander Murray, Lord Stanhope, held the Estate, cross the lower land, and closer to the burn these odd walls appear. About ten to fifteen metres long, they angle in towards the burn. What were they for?

The burn is a pleasure to follow as it winds across the landscape. In places, as here, it's open, but elsewhere it's steeper-sided and filled with trees and bushes. At upper centre is another of the waterfalls.

It's worth pressing on upstream until the burn's source is reached, an area of boggy ground beyond which the land falls away to give a fine view towards Rum and Eigg. The boggy area is the source of another burn, the Allt Fascadale, which flows to the north. This is the watershed that runs east-west along the spine of the peninsula.

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