Along Gruinard river to Loch na Sealga

If there are any nature lovers out there who are in two minds about visiting Wester Ross, hopefully these pictures will help to sway you. We walked along Gruinard river today & were treated to views of plenty of deer, a white tailed sea eagle, a dipper and 2 female red breasted mergansers, unfortunately we startled them on the river & didn’t manage to get a picture of them. The picture of the snow capped mountain is Beinn Dearg Bheag which is in the middle of the Fisherfield forest, the last great wilderness. We also watched an otter yesterday pottering along the shoreline at Laide beach just at the bottom of the garden and another dipper just last week.

Cove to Camus Mor

A couple of weeks ago we ventured over to a spectacular peninsula known as Rubha nan Sasan.  At the end of the single track road is the beautiful hamlet of Cove which overlooks Loch Ewe.

From here there is a great coastal walk to a stunning beach known as Camus Mor. The walk which begins at the car park for the Russian Arctic Convoy Memorial Stone, is approximately 10 miles of beautiful rugged coastline.

During WWII Loch Ewe was the base for a convoy collecting point . The Arctic convoys that were based here provided military equipment & munitions to Russia which was blockaded by Germany. Due to German u-boats and aircraft attacking the convoys over 3000 men lost their lives in the freezing Atlantic waters. To stop the enemy accessing Loch Ewe & to protect their naval base a Boom net was used at the mouth of the loch.

A couple of miles into the walk we were treated to a visit from a White tailed Sea Eagle, it was a frantic fumble for the camera hence the fuzzy images. They cover so much ground so quickly you often just have a few seconds to watch these huge birds. They’re not particularly welcomed by the crofters as they do take sheep & lambs but we have to admit they are impressive birds.

After watching the Eagle whizz by we continued along the coastline to the memorial plaque which describes an incident that took place on the 25th of February 1944.

At 4.20am an American Liberty ship “SS William H. Welch” ran aground in Black Bay during appalling weather conditions, gale force winds, driving snow and 50 foot waves. It was impossible to use the lifeboats and during the next 2 hours the waves battered the ship & it eventually broke in two. Of the 74 servicemen on board only 14 survived. The memorial plaque pays tribute to the local crofters who did their utmost to help including Mrs Kennedy, Mrs MacLean & Mrs MacKenzie who walked the 3 miles over rocks & peat bog carrying kettles of tea, food (no doubt representing weeks of meagre rations), blankets, cigarettes & even candles to light the fires to revive the survivors. They then walked the 3 miles back to heat food & drinks for the WRNS ambulance drivers. A Mr MacLennan is also mentioned as the local man who carried one of the survivors on his back to cove over 3 miles away.

After a short stop to take in the events of the past & partake in a little nourishment we headed on our way to reach the small beach of Camas Dubh, here there is a clear track which heads inland & passes between 2 lochs to reach another track. This track heads through a woodland & takes you back to the single track road to Midtown.

We finally reached the fantastic beach of Camus Mor

img_1083img_1101

…… with the added bonus of a bothy. Thankfully we weren’t in need of overnight accommodation but as bothy’s go this one was particularly well equipped.

Unfortunately we didn’t have time to roll down the steep hill to the beach but on our next visit there will certainly be a picnic in our possession & possibly a snorkel mask!!!

In 2012 we walked to within site of this beach from the other side of the peninsula from the Rubha Reidh Lighthouse, that time we were lucky enough to see a Minke Whale feeding not far from the shore.

So after exploring the bothy we headed inland to continue the walk alongside the two lochs & back to meet the original track. It was a grand day out & a very enjoyable walk that we would definitely recommend. It certainly tired the pooch out!

img_1659

The UK’s first National Nature Reserve.

Declared the UK’s first national nature reserve in 1951, Beinn Eighe (pr: Ben A) is a picturesque area surrounded by the Torridon mountains and Loch Maree. At 12 miles long Loch Maree is Scotlands 4th largest freshwater loch.

img_1462

A couple of weeks ago we drove to the Coille na Glas Letire car park & decided to walk the Mountain Trail. The trail begins by walking through the ancient pine forest then heads steeply up through the rocky crags to the plateau.

From the Conservation Cairn the view of the Beinn Eighe range is fantastic

img_1507

 

 

On the way down the forest emerges in the beautiful autumn sunshine with the impressive Loch Maree ahead and an incredibly steep gorge with a variety of flora, fauna & fungi.

 

Back at the shores edge the imposing Slioch towers over Loch Maree with Beinn Airigh Charr in the distance and a fantastic old tree with exposed roots on the pebble beach.

On the way home Gairloch looked very inviting in the evening sunshine so we stopped for some light refreshment at the Myrtle Bank Hotel.

img_1558img_1559img_1557