Saturday, 25 October 2014

Grigadale Swans

The weather didn't start too well this morning but some of the ferries were back in service - this is the Clansman on her morning sailing out to Coll and Tiree, and the Kilchoan-Tobermory ferry, now the smaller Eigg, was working across the Sound.

However, by half past nine there were signs that the sun might appear so, having been alerted by Kilchoan Early Bird yesterday to a large flock of swans on Loch Grigadale, we set out to see if they were still there....

....to find the road blocked at the entrance to Millburn croft by the annual delivery of sugar beet pellets for winter feed.  This is organised by Pat MacPhail for all the crofters of West Ardnamurchan, thus enabling everyone to get beet at a reasonable price.  Pat is seen to the left supervising proceedings, having just apologised to passing motorists for their delay - not that anyone minded.

Near the Sonachan Hotel the sun finally broke through and, for the first time, we had the opportunity to enjoy the wonderful colours in the countryside at this time of year.  This view looks across to the scattered houses of Achosnich township.

The swans were still on the loch, unfortunately on the furthest bank, so it was difficult to identify them, though, from their long, thin necks and black and orange bills, they seem most likely to be whoopers.  Kilchoan Early Bird said that they began arriving three days ago, as few as ten at first, with more and more joining them.

Having gone so far, it seemed a good idea to continue to the lighthouse, now very quiet, to enjoy some fresh air, the excellent coffee that's served there, and a chat with the staff.  The visitor's centre at the lighthouse - link here - closes at the end of the month, but there's nothing to prevent anyone from enjoying this remote spot at any time, along with the excitement of a big sea.

Gales are forecast for tonight and tomorrow, but the Meteorological Office has issued weather warnings for the area for heavy rain for the next three days - as if we haven't already had enough.

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