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01/05/2017

On the shores of Loch Shiel, Ardnamurchan

Setting off from the small car park at Polloch, we followed a forest track which runs alongside the river Polloch to where Loch Doilet connects with Loch Shiel. The track climbs gently until it reaches a lookout point, giving spectacular views in every direction.
Loch Doilet just visible in the distance
All around us the melodic rippling song of Willow Warblers could be heard.
Listen..... 
The path to the viewpoint circles around a small hill on which evidence of the archaelogical history of Ardnamurchan can clearly be seen, in the form of rock formations known as Moine. 
Moine rock was formed from sediments exposed to high temperatures and pressures within the earth's core. When the reslulting molten lava cooled these amazing rock formations were produced.
Loch Shiel
 Descending from the viewpoint we followed the path down to the shoreline of Loch Shiel, where we came across what was apparently the wreck of an old wooden mail boat, forgotten and slowly disintegrating amongst the trees.
Soon we rejoined the forestry road which stretches all the way to Glenfinnan, at the head of the Loch. The 16 mile route is popular with cyclists, having only the occasional logging truck to contend with, traffic wise. We walked for several miles along the road, hoping for a glimpse of the Glenfinnan Viaduct in the distance. The views were stunning, however the Viaduct remained hidden behind the distant hills.
 
Meadow Pipit
Peacock Butterfly


Eventually we decided to retrace our steps and return to Polloch as the road was very hot and dusty, especially when one of the logging trucks roared past! 
Later that evening, back at cosy Stag Cottage the "usual suspects" showed up for their supper.

Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope you've enjoyed the photos and video.

30/04/2017

Ariundle Oakwood to Strontian Lead Mines

Ariundle Oakwood is part of the ancient Sunart Oakwood and is located about a mile from the small village of Strontian. It is classified as a temperate rainforest, comprised mostly of broadleaved trees which receive heavy annual rainfall.

 
Setting off from the Ariundle car park, the wide track followed the course of the River Strontian, the banks of which were studded with Marsh Marigolds and Cuckoo Flowers. 
The Cuckoo Flower is so nicknamed as its appearance generally coincides with the arrival of the bird of the same name. Indeed, there were numerous Cuckoos calling endlessly from dawn until dusk during our week long stay in the Ardnamurchan area, despite reports of their being in serious decline in other areas.



Eventually we crossed the river by a wooden bridge, having first enjoyed our flask and sandwiches on a conveniently placed seat!
 
The craggy outline of "Sgurr Dhòmhnuill" (Donald's Rocky Peak) came into view further down the Glen.

The track now led to a boardwalk through Oak and Birch trees, interspersed with Hazel, Rowan and Scots Pine. 
Climbing gently we passed through a large metal gate into a fenced off area, put in place to prevent the trees from being grazed by deer. A short time later we passed through a second gate and emerged onto open moorland.
 From here the path petered out somewhat but we headed upwards diagonally, towards a rocky outcrop at the top of a hill. On reaching this we were suddenly looking down into a small but steep ravine, within which were a stream and several rocky waterfalls.

Keeping the ravine to our right we soon found ourselves amongst the spoil heaps of the former lead mines where over 600 miners once worked. Lead from these mines was used to make ammunition for the soldiers fighting in the Napoleonic Wars. French prisoners of war were transported to the area to work in the mines.
The mineral Strontianite, from which the element Strontium was first isolated, was discovered here, taking its name from the nearby village.
Our path now started to descend, back towards the ancient Oakwood.
 
Reaching the car park we decided to visit a nearby tea room for a well earned cuppa. The Ariundle Centre proved to be a bit of an Aladdin's cave, having within it a tearoom (which sold proper tea, made with tealeaves), an all day meal service, a takeaway service, accommodation and offering local craft courses.
 Click here for more information about the Ariundle Centre


Back at Stag Cottage  later that evening, the garden had plenty of visitors again!


Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope you've enjoyed the photos.

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