Monday 28 April 2014

A Spring Walk From Loch View - Arnaval

The weather here has been glorious this spring. I have just spent a couple of days doing a spot of exterior decorating at Loch View, and yesterday gave myself an afternoon off to give my walking boots a much needed work-out.

I set off directly from Loch View, hopping over the garden fence onto the moorland hillside behind the cottage. (Loch View is the smaller of the two roofs on the lower left)

(Click on any picture to view full size)

Loch Harport from just above Loch View Cottage
I had plotted myself a route which turned out to be a bit too ambitious - I haven't done much hillwalking of late, and am a bit out of practice, so I didn't get quite as far as I had planned. However, I negotiated the first fence I came across without snagging my trousers on the barbed wire (these fences are invariably topped with a strand of barbed wire - sometimes two strands... and there's almost never a gate, so the only option is to teeter over the top).

As on most Skye moorland, the hillsides are cut into by trickling burns, which often provide sufficient shelter for trees to grow. There's usually ferns too, and there were lots of primroses in flower here, though they don't really show in in my photo.

Ardtrek Burn

The walking here was not too tough, and the steepness of the ascent was gentle. I was surprised at how boggy some parts were, though we did have a soggy winter! As you get higher, the views begin to open up. Here, the camera is pointing south east to the Cuillin Hills.

You can see the lumpy summit of Arnaval from miles away, so you always know where you are heading. It's good to see it getting closer, and here, it's just a few steps away...

Arnaval summit

Arnaval reaches only 369 metres above sea level, but as is the case with most Skye hilltops, the all-round views from the top are just breathtaking...

North-west, with MacLeod's Maidens off the western tip of the Duirinish Peninsula

West south-west to Talisker Bay, and South Uist on the horizon

North north-west over the summit to Loch Bracadale

North east over Loch Harport with the Trotternish Ridge on the horizon

Arnaval has a very steep west face. I had originally planned to descend here, and head north a little before turning east to return to Loch View, but my legs were suggesting that a long, steep descent would not be a good idea, so I skirted the summit and returned by the gentler route by which had arrived here. I really must take an afternoon off more often!

Looking north past Arnaval to Loch Bracadale
Track of my route

Wednesday 2 April 2014

Delightful Daffodils

Our daffs are doing especially well this spring - probably the result of the mild winter we have just had, and warm sunshine and lack of winds in late March. I know parks and gardens all over the UK have spectacular displays of spring flowers, but it's nice to show that even here in the far flung north western corner of the UK, we can still delight in our daffodils.