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Ardtornish Day 20

Robbie and Angus, the Estate Manager, came up in two Argocats to transport us back from Crosben. On the way down it was interesting to hear Angus’s ideas for developing Ardtornish’s unique situation.

Without a railway link, up until the mid 1900’s the rickety old track that we were now tackling in ATV’s, was the only road in and out of Ardtornish. Therefore, by sea was the only way to navigate your way here and so, apart from the incredible estate house, the Victorian masses missed out Morvern it would seem.

Yet now, in being overlooked, it remains a vast swathe of wholly unspoilt Highland scenery. It’s not for ‘Munroe Baggers’ as the mountains aren’t that high. But the glens are wide and silent, the scenery is bold and dramatic, the wildlife abundant, the remote coastline is staggeringly beautiful, and the colours! They are simply breathtaking.

Staying up in the mountains is a wonderful, exciting and humbling experience. Walk a hundred metres from the bothy at night and it’s as though you are the sole person within a thousand miles. The only noise is the wind tugging at your hair and the dark silhouettes of the mountains wrap around you. On a clear night, the sky is as you’ve never seen before. I’ve shown my children the Milky Way as a pale swathe smudged across the clear Cornish heavens. Yet up here it is a sparkling, shimmering belt stretching from horizon to horizon. To watch the dawn break and see the sun trace it’s shining beam of light across the sea and up through a misted glen is a spectacle that will last a lifetime.

Yet the coaches don’t come here. There’s no endless stream of brightly coloured, gore-tex clad hillwalkers dropping Mars bar wrappers along well-packed paths. This is our 20th day up here and in all our time in the Ardtornish mountains and along the coastline, we have honestly only seen two other walkers. According to Angus, one works for a local forestry-wildlife organisation, so she doesn’t count, and the other, well he was a 73 year old mountain walker we picked up as a hitch-hiker on Mull. He obviously already knew what I’m relating now but we had to take a ferry to find him!

Up here, you can find your own space. Spend a week and you’ll see things differently. This place is surely Scotland’s best-kept secret. With a little TLC and advertising, the bothies of Ardtornish could open-up thousands of acres of Highland spectacle to wildlife enthusiasts, walkers, photographers and outdoor ‘pursuit-ers’ looking for a different perspective on The Highlands. So get up here quick before it gets busy!

Check out the new additions to the Highland Winter gallery that I’m uploading tonight.