Sunday, June 24, 2007

Loch a' Bhada Dharaich

We woke late to a rainy Sunday morning in Morar. To the West, the island of Rùm was obscured by clouds but the view East along the loch was looking a bit clearer so we had hopes that it might clear later on. Meanwhile, we had lunch and watched the British Moto GP, which also suffered from the rain.

After lunch, the rain stopped and the clouds lifted a little so we thought we’d risk a short stroll up to Loch a' Bhada Dharaich, the Loch of the Oak Thicket, which lies about a mile North of Bun an Lòin on Loch Morar.

Three LochsLoch a' Bhada Dharaich, Lochan a' Mheadoin and Loch an Nostarie

We parked in a lay-by just before the jetty at Bun an Lòin and found the start of the walk just past that, where a path leads up to a house. The walk is signed so you shouldn’t miss it. Follow the path up to the house and, despite the fact that whoever lives there has attempted to turn the path onward into a midden, keep on going. Once past the house and it’s untidy residents, the path meanders North, roughly following the line of the Allt an Lòin, the burn of the pools, which runs down from Loch a' Bhada Dharaich.

The path is, in theory, waymarked with yellow striped posts but we found these either very hard to locate or almost misleading. As for the path, when you can see it, it is very boggy so a decent pair of boots is essential or you’re going to get very wet feet. The lower section of the path winds through a small wood beside the burn but once past that and onto the open moorland, it becomes very indistinct and easily lost but bear in mind that your goal is at the head of the burn so you can’t really get lost. We flushed a deer out of hiding while walking over the moorland here.

After a few “lost path” episodes and once following the arrow on one of those yellow posts into what was a pathless bog, we eventually caught sight of the loch. Ploughing on, we emerged at the South end of the loch, near a stand of Beech and Pine trees (no Oaks in sight). Lorna spotted a large bird flying low across the loch just as it came into view; could have been a heron or a large bird of prey but she didn't get a good look at it.

Small HeathSmall Heath Butterfly

There was a small hill here so we climbed that on the off chance of spotting that bird again. We pulled out a waterproof mat to sit on had a snack and drink while admiring the view over Loch a' Bhada Dharaich, Lochan a' Mheadoin and Loch an Nostarie, with its little tree covered island. No sign of that bird again though!

We thought about wandering down closer to the lochside but the wind was picking up and there were a few rain drops so we thought better of it; maybe another day. The return path was much the same as the way up; we got lost in a bog several times but we made it down eventually. We did spot a bird of prey above us on the way down and, from the size, I’d reckon it was a buzzard but it was against the sun and we didn’t get a clear view of it. We also spotted a couple of butterflies and a frog jumped over my foot as well.

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