We headed for Achateny beach on Friday morning but left the car near where the road forks for Branault and Swordle, and walked towards it along the western slope of the wide glen formed by the Achateny Water to where....
....there are the remains of the big fank built while Achateny was a sheep farm following the clearance of its clachan. In the trees in the middle distance are the two houses associated with the farm, both now Ardnamurchan Estate letting houses, and the agricultural buildings of Ardnamurchan Estate's farming business.
The clachan of Achateny stood on the opposite side of the Achateny Water from the farm buildings; its site is marked with the arrow. For a clachan it was on the large size with, in 1737, a population of 55 grouped in ten families.
These are the remains of one of the clachan's houses. The houses are small, typically 6m x 4.5m, but each was home to a family which was cleared. I don't know the date of Achateny's clearance but the OS map of 1856 shows only the farm buildings.
Achateny beach is a white sand beach, a wide beach when the tide is out, and almost always deserted - though we were surprised yesterday to find one person already walking its sands.
That the beach is wide and a mixture of rock outcrops and sand made it ideal for a fish trap, and this wall, now almost covered by the shifting sand, is part of it. The trap is described on the Heritage Ardnamurchan website here. I would love to know how old it is.
For much of our time on the beach we sat and absorbed the stillness, the wash of the waves and the cry of the oystercatchers. We also saw sandpipers, mergansers, several types of gull, grey herons and, sadly, a mink.