Monday, 22 February 2016

High Above Bourblaige

The sun has returned, so we were out in the hills as soon as possible this morning. We left the car at the turn onto the track up to the big Beinn Bhuidhe wind turbine, crossed the road, and walked diagonally up the southeast-facing slopes of Ben Hiant. This picture look back along the slope we traversed....

....while this one looks down into the Basin, the open area of land which separates the lower slopes of Ben Hiant form those of Beinn Bhuidhe. To the right, the lower part of the Basin is divided by wandering stone walls into the fields which were worked for hundreds of years by the clachan of Camas nan Geall.

Ben Hiant's slope is cut by numerous small burns, many with spectacular waterfalls fuelled by the recent rain, while its higher slopes....

....are favourites with the Estate deer. They seem to know that the stalking season is over, so are much less inclined to run away, standing watching us as we passed.

As one works one's way around to the southern slopes of the hill, so more and more of the entrance to Loch Sunart becomes visible. A convenient bench being provided, we sat and admired the view, and wondered how many generations of people had used this rock as a seat: Bourblaige is just out of sight in the valley below.

We've walked this area many times before, so how did we miss the significance of this ragged pile of rocks? They once formed a building, probably a small house or shelter, which had what estate agents might call 'a view to die for'. It's only just round the corner from....
 
....four other small buildings, probably a summer shieling, which are visible at bottom right of this picture. We found them years ago. They, too, have a wonderful view, both in front of them down to the loch, and behind them to the southern crags of Ben Hiant.

We returned by a route which took us a little lower on the hill, just above the precipitous drop to the broad glen in which Bourblaige lies. In this picture the whole of the clachan - now a scheduled monument - can be seen, along with its fields and stone field boundaries.

Trees are a rarity in this area, so why is there just this one, clinging to the steep crags above Bourblaige? The standard answer is that the sheep and deer browse the saplings, but there are plenty of other places along this cliff where a growing tree could have escaped their attentions.

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