Battle of Mulroy, butterwort, campanula, Commando Memorial, dipper, Eas Chia-aig Falls, Glen Roy, Glencoe, Glenloy, Gloucester old spot, grass of Parnassus, Jacobite, Loch Arkaig, Loch Linnhe, lungwort, map fungus, osprey, Parallel Roads, pine marten, River Turret, Round-leaved sundew, sedge fly, shieling, sika deer, Spean Bridge, stonechat, wagtail, waxcap fungus, wood tiger caterpillar, yellow saxifrage
Saturday, 10th to Sunday, 18th September. I stayed at Glenloy Lodge, our accommodation hosts, Jon and Angela, being our wildlife hosts also. Sadly, they are giving up at the end of the year.
In this map, the Isle of Skye is top left, that of Mull bottom left, Loch Ness top right, and Fort William somewhat to the right of the middle, at the head of the narrower part of Loch Linnhe. Glenloy is just a few miles due north of Fort William. Marked up are all the places we visited in the 556 miles we did in the week, except that we went a little off the map beyond Loch Ness once. Clicking/tapping on the map may enlarge it.
I had, reluctantly but due to several uncertainties about rail travel (and reckoning that I couldn’t actually prevent the plane from flying, whereas I could prevent my car from burning up fuel), flown to Glasgow from Bristol, and then taken a scheduled bus service from the city to Fort William. I had planned to listen to a number of podcasts I had downloaded during that last, three-hour, part of the journey, but in the event was so taken by the beautiful scenery that I just looked out of the window all the time. It was very sunny, and I didn’t think I would be able to take any useful photos because of reflections. But, frustrated all along Loch Lomond, I couldn’t resist any longer, and grabbed my phone to take a few of Glencoe. This is the most successful.
Jon met me at the bus station, and told me that there was just one other guest, David. It was not long before we had our meal, after which was the evening ritual of looking out, from the comfort of the sun lounge, for the pine martens who came to enjoy the peanuts and peanut-buttered bread put out for them. So strokeable – though perhaps not with those teeth. As long as we stayed indoors they were not fazed by our presence.
Before breakfast on Sunday, we were summoned to see what, if anything, had been attracted to the moth trap overnight. The answer was no moth, but a couple of sedge flies.
Each day, once we had set off at about 9.30, we were out until 6.00. This day, led by Jon, our first stop was in Glen Roy, famed among other things for its ‘Parallel Roads‘, mythically caused by giants racing in competition along the hillsides, but in fact caused by the shorelines of a retreating lake, which finally disappeared when a glacier blocking it melted.
We were meant to be looking for wildlife, but this is the first creature that caught my eye.
These sika deer were a very long way away. I could not see them with the naked eye.
Young stonechat, waxcap fungus, grass of Parnassus (shame I took only this out-of-focus photo), yellow saxifrage
The Parallel Roads can be seen here.
These black-faced sheep distracted me. We saw hundreds of them every day.
Here the Parallel Roads can be seen, along with another geological feature, the river terraces of loose deposits left behind as the River Roy retreated. The little houses are shielings, summer accommodation once used by those tending animals, and their families.
Two carnivorous plants, round-leaved sundew and butterwort
The shieling children did not escape schooling in the summer. This is where they went for it.
We turned back a way. Views up and down the glen from our lunch spot.
Before leaving the glen entirely, and having seen a couple of exciting golden eagles, impossible to photograph, we saw two old monuments, and at Spean Bridge a modern one.
Info on the Battle of Mulroy here.
This memorial to the Commandos, who trained in this area, was inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in 1952. I was to learn much more of this later in the week.
We moved on via the Mucomir Power Station on the River Lochy (which afforded no interesting photos) to the Eas Chia-aig Falls, where the the lower pool is known as the Witches’ Cauldron.
Near there we saw some map fungus and some lungwort.
On to Loch Arkaig, where we took a short walk. The light was not good, and we just made it back to the car in time before it started raining.
Very distant adult and juvenile dippers
I am very conscious that one of the readers of this blog used to live right by Glen Roy. He will no doubt be correcting any errors I have made!