Ardtornish Day 7
08/01/13Day seven dawned grey and ‘dreach’ as they say up here. However, with positive thoughts of better weather to come, we set off before sun-up, heading for a long walk along a little known track that skirts the southern shore of Loch Teacuist.
From the outset it was a good day. Driving down the winding road that follows the silent glens, we spotted three stags, right by the side of the road. Skittish and more than a little non-plussed at our presence, they turned tail and headed for the hills. A little farther down the road I saw another larger group, so I pulled over, and keeping a small drumlin between them and me, I headed towards them with my long lens and managed a few nice shots before they spotted me.
When we reached the end of the road we donned our wet weather gear and after covering my camera’s in their rain-sleeves, set off down a long winding path leading past a couple of the remotest dwellings you could imagine. What a place to live! If you like the silence and can put up with complete solitude there could hardly be a better place. I must admit I think I could put up with it but I’m not sure my better-half Sam would be too chuffed at the proposition.
A few miles down the track, and the forested margins give way to the most spectacularly rugged highland scenes and around every corner there’s another breathtaking view just awaiting you. We came across a thundering waterfall that was in full spate and then rested at a spot that looked over Loch Teacuist to the distant Glenborrodale, where we had visited on yesterday’s road trip.
The Sea Eagles we’d hoped for didn’t appear but nevertheless we both had to agree that Morvern is one of the most beautifully unspoilt regions of the Scottish Highlands we’ve visited. And we’ve travelled it fairly extensively. In truth many of the better-known destinations have become tourist traps and in other places, human intervention – houses, farming and light industry – has left much to be desired. Even on some of the islands you see beautiful locations spoiled by ill-conceived planning that has allowed dreary developments of dodgy 60’s style bungalows, or eye-sores such as rusting graveyards of rotting farm machinery and un-kempt barns and byres. Yet up here the remoteness is, in many ways, enhanced by well-kept period and modern residences in tucked away towns and hamlets that fit in well with the surroundings.
Please, please, please… if you ever consider coming to The Highlands for the first time, or want to see another side of this wonderful place, get in touch with Ardtornish Estate (just google search and you’ll find their website). You can stay in the amazing Victorian manor house or on cosy cottages dotted around the estate and you are right in the heart of the ‘action’. Excuse the ‘sales spiel’ and see this as a friendly prompt. Give it a go if you fancy getting away from it all, or you want to have an adventure that will include wet weather gear and waterfalls, sun cream and beautiful unspoiled coastline and awesome mountain scenery. Oh yeah! For the foodies amongst you, just up the road in Loch Aline there’s a superb seafood restaurant that Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall raves about and the Ardtornish Estate office sells estate-raised venison, beef and wild salmon when it’s in season. It’s all self-catering but that way you’re the boss and can do exactly what you want.
Just like I did this evening, you can take a walk around the loch to the tucked-away wildlife hide and watch nature unwind before your very eyes. As I sat there hoping to spot the dog otter again or perhaps a wild cat or a seal, I watched the dwindling light turn the surface of Loch Aline to glistening silvered mercury. I broke cover and went down to the loch-side with my landscape set-up and played for ages with my filters before I settled with a simple ND soft graduated No.6 and a long exposure. Check out a selection of today’s images in the Highland Winter gallery of the Portfolio section.
As for tomorrow, we’re meeting the skipper of our RIB at 10.00am down on the jetty at Lochaline to load up our gear and take us over to the bothy on the shore of Inninmore Bay. Weather permitting we will stay for the next three nights. So this will be the last blog and image posting until Saturday but do come back and keep in touch with what’s happening on my Highland Winter adventure.