To-day's walk was along the shore of Loch Mhòrair (starting at Bracorina), and then over the hill to Loch Nibheis, at An Tairbeart. The round-trip is around 18 km or 11 miles.
Although there was a track for the whole distance, it was hard going in some places. The distance felt longer. That said, it was one of the best walks I've done for years. The great weather helped.
Loch Mhòrair (Morar) is Scotland's deepest loch, and also home to Mòrag.
However, the loch isn't the largest (by volume) body of water in Scotland. That honour is held by Loch Nis (Ness) which although not as deep, is longer and wider. In fact, there is more freshwater in Loch Nis than all the lakes in England & Wales combined.
Mòrag is Nessie's much less famous relative. Disappointingly, I didn't see Mòrag on my walk along the lochside.
Life's a beach.
All along the edge of the loch are lots of lovely shingle beaches. As far as I could tell, there weren't any sandy beaches, although there were sandy areas visible in areas of shallow water.
If you didn't fancy walking the whole route these beaches offered ample opportunities for lazing about.
I also find the noise of water lapping against a stony beach to be intoxicating. Give me shingle over sand any day.
Although the area is a National Nature Reserve there wasn't an abundance of wildflowers. That might be explained by the presence of sheep on the land. I'm not sure how that squares with it being a NNR.
Some of the plants that had avoided being munched included the Wild Thyme - Lus an Righ - Thymus serpyllum. They do smell exactly like their cultivated relatives.
The path was very varied in its composition. At the start, and end, the path was wide enough to take small vehicles. In between, it was often not much more than a sheep track, and sometimes considerably worse. That said, walking along a path is always easier than going through undergrowth.
One section of the path had to navigate around a sheer cliff. Rather go high above the cliff, the path builders decided to in-fill a section of the loch, and build the path on top. No mean feat as many of the rocks were heavier than one person could lift. Diggers weren't available when the path was built.
This was the first human habitable house I came across. It was at the walk half-way mark. All the other houses were ruins. This building looked like it was a holiday home. Although the cottage was deserted when I took the photo.
The cottage also had a nice view, if you like that sort of thing.
I had initially assumed that the cottage was an isolated dwelling, but I soon discovered the local "big hoose". I suspect the cottage was a former estate worker's house which has now been converted to a holiday letting property.
The big house didn't appear to be occupied either. An absentee landlord? Perhaps.
We are now getting to the final stage of the walk. We go uphill, cross the glen, and suddenly we can see An Tairbeart and Loch Nibheis before us. On this day it was a lovely view.
Loch Nibheis has a completely different feel, because unlike Loch Mhòrair, it is a sea-loch, with access to the Na h-Eileanan Siar (Hebrides).
Hey, wait a minute!
You can only get to An Tairbeart either on foot or by small boat.
So, how did the huge dumper truck and digger get here?
The natives were friendly.
No sooner had I sat down on the bench when this lovely doggie came over to me. She was carrying a stick in her mouth. As she approached me she dropped the stick at my feet. This was an invitation to play. How could I resist?
I always find the return trip seems faster than the outward journey, and it felt like I was soon back at the car.
I didn't carry any food with me on the walk, but I had my lunch box in the car. I drove a short distance, found somewhere to park, and settled down to eat. I found a comfy place where I could look back towards the walk I had just completed.
It was a Perfect Day (you can go and find that song yourself).
@fitheach great pic!
@fitheach Loch Morar is beautiful. I love it there.
It's also a lot quieter than Loch Ness, which is a very big plus.
Loch Ness has a road on either side, that inevitably results in it being much busier. Plus, the Nessie factor is a big draw.
@fitheach The presence of sheep on the land... In a *really different* ecosystem, I had a great set of conversations with a nature-reserve manager about how to approximate the species-of-coevolution for a wildflower prairie. Sheep managed very carefully -- moved on and off the range in bunches, based on phenology -- was the best they could do, and it depended on a coöperative neighbor rancher. Probably the plants actually coevolved with big and small grazers, plus more predators, plus fire.
The lack of flora & fauna in the Scottish landscape is mainly down to 3 factors: mankind cutting down the mature trees, mankind extinguishing all the large predators, and mankind (intensively) farming large herbivores. I think you'll be able to spot the common factor.
In more recent times the increase of monocultures has played a big part.
The plants will have co-existed with the large herbivores, but not in the concentrated numbers that farming creates.
@fitheach Oo, predators, is there a Scottish example of reintroducing them and getting a much richer ecosystem, like in Isle Royale? (rewritten on second reading)
No. There has been much talk through the years about re-introducing wolves. I don't think that will ever happen. Wolves have had such bad PR for centuries that people are dead set against them. Another possibility would be lynx. They have a better chance of being re-introduced, but would, even then, be many years away.
@fitheach Isle Royale was, of course, an island; it's much harder to allow big predators even in our huge national parks...
@fitheach I'm surprised there isn't a lot more undergrowth. Are there sheep all around there?
There were signs of sheep, but I hardly saw any, until I got to the end of the walk. It is possible the sheep had been gathered for clipping. This is the traditional time for clipping, or shearing, sheep.
@fitheach no touchy
Once you were sat on the board it was fine, although the back-rest was a bit rudimentary. The board was quite high off the ground, and my feet were dangling.
@fitheach how far from the shot is that?
This looks too good to be uninhabited?
I took the photo of the cottage, and then rotated 90° and took the photo of the view.
I suspect this cottage was owned by the estate, and rented out on a weekly basis to tourists. A future photo will illustrate my theory.
@fitheach ok, that makes sense. I'd rent it too if you could come over.
@fitheach Is that legally protected land?
In USA, a tiny cabin on a lake like that would be worth a million dollars, so they'd build them all the way around.
@fitheach Wow, that looks like the place to live!
Yeah, not bad. 😃
@fitheach these were *outstanding* what a beautiful walk
I sure was lucky last Sunday. It was a perfect day.
I have a Pixelfed account, of course:
I haven't used it much recently, because it is not the kind of interface I like/need/want. Pixelfed aims to be Instagram like, whereas I would prefer someting Flickr like.
I also like to chat about my photos, and make a narrative out of them. For this purpose Mastodon works well for me.
@fitheach Great pictures and story, thanks a lot!
The key word was "getting", some of my story and photos still to come.
@fitheach Great, looking forward to it!
@fitheach Gorgeous photos!
@fitheach via chopper
Not sure that would be possible. Even big choppers, like Chinooks, have a maximum lift of 4.5 tonnes. That digger will be a *lot* heavier.
@fitheach How lovely, same dog, same play, 4 years ago
Great! I had the feeling I wasn't the only person invited to play. She must watch out for visitors all day.
@fitheach Beautiful view. Thanks for taking us along on your walk. :)
Not if you use youtube-dl. I think the web interface might need ajax from Google.
@fitheach By boat. At least that's how the Greeks do it, and they're island construction experts, on account of having loads of little islands.
This doesn't involve a big boat with a deep draft. The boats are just large enough to carry one digger or dumptruck and quite similar to a WW2 beach landing craft that is simply driven up a shallow beach with a ramp at the front that drops down so the vehicle can drive ashore.
In the words of Johnny Cash, "One piece at a time"
That would just transfer the problem. 😃 You'd then need some heavy lifting equipment to put the digger together agin.
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