Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Southeast of Loch Mudle

There are moments when grey skies and drizzle begin to get me down, and this morning was one of those times, particularly as we were heading up into an area of western Ardnamurchan across which we love walking - the bleak moorland between Loch Mudle, pictured, and the Beinn Bhuidhe wind turbine above Camas nan Geall.

But the clouds began to break letting occasional bursts of sun light the lower slopes, their grass green from being close-cropped by the sheep. This area was once an isolated farm much of which is buried beneath the forestry around Lochans na Gruagaich and a' Mhadaidh Riabaich.

The remains of the farm consist of two rectangular dwelling houses up on the ridge, a more recent animal enclosure - visible in the foreground - and a much older stone circle - up and to the right of the enclosure, with the fence running through it - which was probably an earlier enclosure.

As we climbed higher and the sun caught the colours in the forestry around Lochan a' Mhadaidh Riabaich, we stopped to watched a sea eagle soar before dropping into the trees. It didn't reappear, which suggests there may be a nest there.

Finally we came out onto the rolling plateau that stretches away to Ardslignish and Camas nan Geall. It's the only place locally where there are....

....small tors of the type associated with places like Bodmin Moor, structures which, hereabouts, immediately put one in mind of the Neolithic stone circles such as Greadal Fhinn - but these are definitely not man-made.

It's a wonderful place for red deer, with several small herds moving across it, often mixtures of hinds and stags. I didn't particularly like the stare this one gave us but, after a moment, he took off after his mates.

On one slope we found the feathers of what I guess is a teal, some distance from the nearest water. From the fact that the feathers were close together in one spot, and that not a scrap of the body remained, not even a foot or beak, this was taken by a raptor.

As we turned back towards the car the sun was still shining on the lower slopes of Ben Hiant, but the damp air rising and condensing kept its summit in permanent cloud.

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