Date & Time: Tuesday 29th Sept 2009. Strontian ( Map ref: NM 811 613 )

Location : A drive along the southern coast of Ardnamurchan and time at Strontian

Places visited : Glen Borrodale, Salen, Strontian and Ariundle Forest Trail.

Walk details : The forest trail was 6.5 mls, 1150 ft of ascent over 4.5 hours.

Highest point : The Kilcamb Lodge Hotel

With : Ann and the dogs, Harry and Bethan.

Weather : Variable but improving.

 Strontian and Ariundle Forest at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail


Today we move on, taking the narrow road east alongside the coast of Ardnamurchan.

The road takes us around the back of Ben Hiant and we reach the coast again at a rather nice looking bay.

This is Camas Nan Gaell bay

This area had a long history and we park on the head of the bay and enjoy a short walk down to the beach as two eagles soared high overhead.

An ancient monument hidden in the trees.

These are the stones of a cromlech or burial ground, the flat top stone can just be seen collapsed behind the three front stones.

A carved cross on a large standing stone.
Carved gravestone in the small cemetery.

The area the other side of the bay also has an old abandoned village, demolished at the time of the Clearances.

- - - o o o - - -

On the way through we stopped for coffee at the Glenmore Natural History Centre.

In the craft shop we noticed and interesting item. Was it for sale ?

The display of soft toys on the window or in the baskets.
This soft toy was fast asleep and snoring !

Glen Borrodale Castle, a fine stately home overlooking the bay at the mouth of Glen Borrodale.

A little further along, this is Salen Bay.

The bay provides a calm anchorage and the mild climate encourages the fuchsias to thrive.

A slight diversion took us north to look at Acharcle and Sheil Bridge.

At the head of Loch Sheil is the famous Glenfinnan Monument and that iconic view down the classic Scottish loch.

What I didn't realise is that all the water from that seventeen mile loch exits to the sea through this remarkably small bridge.

The end of our drive today was to be the head of Loch Sunart

and we book in to the Kilcamb Lodge Hotel for a few days of real luxury.

Before it got dark, and before it rained again

I needed to take the dogs for a short walk in the grounds of the hotel.

Harry studies the river intently . . . it's high tide and the river is full.

In the grounds of the hotel we found the ruin of the old Bathing House.

The woodland behind was very damp

and a moss covered, fallen tree has a prolific growth of toadstools.

Back in time for supper . . . hopefully the rainbow is the precursor of fine weather tomorrow.

- - - o o o - - -

Next day we retraced our steps a few miles along Loch Sunart, in order to visit the Garhb Eilean wildlife hide.

I took this photo partly to show the old telegraph pole, complete with the now rare pottery insulators, even though they are no longer used.

The footpath to the hide with the view west along Loch Sunart this time.

A substantial hide has been built overlooking Garbh Eilean island.

Hopefully we may see lots of wild life.

The island at half tide.

The shoreline is prime habitat for seals, bird life and possibly even otters.

This is Eilean a Chuilinn, the smaller of the two islands . . . and yes

. . . we did spot an otter out by the large stone on the left hand side of the island.

Unfortunately it was difficult to see, even with the binoculars, so there's no photo today.

The sky has cleared beautifully today so we return to Strontian in order to take advantage of the change in the weather.

On the way back to the car we passed several dew laden cobwebs.

Colourful leaves and blackberries on the bramble plant.

More interesting fungi.

A botanists paradise here today.

- - - o o o - - -

A friend of ours recommended a walk in the Strontian Valley.

It takes us along the river and up through the woods.

It is now a nature reserve

as it is one of the important remnants

of the Scottish west coast Oak Woodlands.

To start the walk we take the path down to the river.

Unfortunately it was a bridle-way (horse) path not a pedestrian path.

The required crossing of the river rather lacked a bridge !

Backtracking, we found a second path which was much more to our liking.

The valley walk takes us up alongside the Strontian River.

After about a mile or so we re-crossed the river . . .
. . . and entered the old woodland.

The track is in fact the route to the old Strontian Lead Mine at the head of the valley.

This looks a very old and dubious wooden bridge.

Don't panic . . . it seemed more than strong enough . . .
. . . as it crossed a deep ravine with a fine waterfall.

Out of the forest the view opens out.

The cloud has lifted slightly and we can see the hills at the head of the valley.

To the left on Sgurr Dhomhnuill, then Sgurr na h-lghinn and to the right, the triangular Sgurr a Chaorainn.

A closer view ahead shows the first signs of the Fee Donald lead mine

but our attention is distracted by the dramatic light and shade.

The lone tree in the last photo has grown in the ruins of the processing area of the mine.

Behind it is a large spoil head of discarded stone.

A quick search a little further up revealed . . .
. . . the entrance to an old mine addit.

The stream was draining out of a low entrance.

The mine tunnel would have been taller when in use but the entrance has silted up or collapsed.

In the stream bed the flash of the camera shows up a real variety of colours and therefore a wide variety of minerals in the rocks.

The mine was important for producing lead but unusual metallic crystals led to the discovery of a new mineral which was then called Strontianite

This lead to further research and the definition of a new radio active mineral which also took the name from the area . . . Strontium 90

Time to return down the valley

but not before getting a sneak view of distant Beinn Bheag, measuring in at 2260 ft (696m) high.

The forest is renowned for the mild and damp climate

and this temperate rain forest environment encourages the growth of mosses on more or less everything.

Native woodland , untouched for many years.
Ann walks the mine track back to the car.

Back at the hotel we change for dinner.

The meal started with canopes in the drawing room . . .
. . . and ended 3 hours later with petit fours in the lounge.

It's nice to spoil yourselves once in a while !


- - - o o o - - -

Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon 75 or my Canon G10 digital camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . . plenty of time to sit down and enjoy the meal.

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A previous time up here - 13th to 23rd May 2006 A Scottish Island Holiday