Sunday, 26 September 2010

Loch Hourn and Barrisdale Bay

To reach Barrisdale Bay, I continued along the northern shore of Loch Hourn until I reached the three isles of Corr Eileanan. That way I had the comfort of island hopping to cross the loch, not that it was a problem on the calm waters of today.

The first island was very steep and the top overgrown with shrubs and trees so I had no interest in exploring in further.

The middle island was just a rocky outcrop so I left it for the cormorants to clamber over. The rock looked a little too slippery for me. The third island was little different than the first so I ignored it completely.

The view that really held my attention was the rocky ridge of Ladhar Bheinn and Stob A choire Odhair. Its one of the most isolated munros in the vast wilderness known as Knoydart. Hillwalkers have to walk for miles to reach its steep slopes and I was almost there with a flick of the throttle.

I was now heading into Barrisdale Bay where there is a bothy and a little camp ground. The height and steep slopes of the surrounding hills contributed to the isolated feeling of the area.

The water was very shallow even at high tide and I had a combination of rowing over sand bars and motoring in the deeper pools for almost a kilometre before I eventually landed on the beach. It’s a totally different place at low water as the beach is extended for that kilometre I just rowed over.

I went for a walk to stretch my legs and absorb the atmosphere of the place. It was totally silent. Even the wind made no noise today.

Apart from the Bothy , a lodge and a farm house, there was little other sign of humans in the area, yet a couple of hundred years ago there were a few thriving fishing villages dotted along the edges of Loch Hourn. The little island of Eilean Choinnich off the east end of Barrisdale bay is a burial ground for many of those early settlers. It is thought to have more than 150 graves below its scant grassy surface.

At the edge of the Barrisdale river I saw the remains of a more modern fishing era. I have tried to find some history of this boat but have not found anything yet. I wondered what it was adapted to carry, with those metal stanchions fixed to it deck? There was little sign of timber in the area?

The engine was still in place as I guess it was too much trouble to take it to a scrap yard. I presume it will slowly rust away undisturbed as not many people will find it to interfere with it.

Hmmm , perhaps with the exception of the best bit. Someone was already off with the prize of its propeller. I was surprised to see the brass bush still in situ. It was good quality brass.

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