Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Three Lochans

Today dawned fine so we drove to the tiny township of Ockle and walked southeast, heading up the glen of the Allt Ockle, stopping every now and then to sit and look back towards the islands of Eigg and Rum.

The west side of the Ockle glen is forestry belonging to the Ardnamurchan Estate, but some of the east side shows signs of having been worked as arable land in the past, with the consequence that, in places, it is now choked with bracken.

As the day went on, so the southeasterly wind rose, which probably explains why we saw relatively few butterflies. One we did see was this small pearl-bordered fritillary which we followed for some minutes, watching as it visited heath spotted and fragrant orchids, cross-leaved heath, and bell heather.

After about three kilometres we left the Ockle glen, turning up one of its tributaries which has cut a deep glen on its descent from the high ground to the east, climbing into....

....bleak moorland underlain by metamorphosed sandstones of the Moine Schists. Glacial erratics, rocks picked up by the glaciers ten thousand years ago and then dumped, often along ridge lines, are common, this one artistically decorated with a small cairn - to which we added a couple of rocks.

We were looking for three small lochans, the first elongate, tucked between folds in the hills, the second....

....much more rounded and shallower, so it was host to....

 ....bogbeans and lilies.

We sat on the shores of the third lochan, overawed by the empty silence of the place, and ate our lunch.

Although it isn't clear on the attached map, none of these three lochans is named on the OS map - the one that is, Lochan Clach na Boiteig, being the larger one slightly to the east. They would all have had names, as this would have been the only way that people in the old days would have been able to describe their location, but these are increasingly likely to be lost as the older generation pass on.

On our way back to Ockle we found this dragonfly. This is a new one to us, a male keeled skimmer.

Map courtesy Bing.

No comments:

Post a Comment