Monday, 25 April 2011

a walk to Loch Ternait

Back again at Ardtornish in Morvern, we took a walk to Loch Ternait and Leacraithnaich Bothy. Jim and I last walked here 9 months ago, just 7 weeks before Angus was born, a time when we visited Staffa, and revisited the lead mines of Strontian a place where I'd made work many years ago.

Ternait too, is a place of memories from my childhood, though the bulldozed track that easily leads to the loch is a rather brutal scar on the land. But with the work that's happened in connection with the hydro scheme (damming past the outflow of the loch and diverting water through a pipeline) mud and silt has been dredged up on the track that has made the passage of wind on the surface water behave in an extraordinary way. Jim and I documented it on my digital camera, and this is the result.

In the middle of the loch lies a tiny crannog that used to house a shelter.

"Those accused of crimes from Lismore or Mull or neighbouring places, if they got permission from the Chief of Ardtornish to reside forty-eight hours on the island, were free from any liability to punishment. The island was thus a sanctuary – hence name Tearnait or Tearnaech Inaid, “place of safety”."

Loch Ternait from Leacraithnaich Bothy
The crannog can be seen towards the left of the image above (once zoomed in) as a greenish patch on the loch. Another place of safety, the  tranquility of the well maintained bothy seems to be constantly under threat from the forces of commerce, with the massive Glensanda Superquarry just visible from it's door. Still, it's a great spot, with summer water levels revealing sandy beaches around the fringes of the loch. It remains to be seen how the water levels will alter in future though once the hydro scheme is completed, and whether the beaches and indeed the crannog may be lost.

Map of Loch Ternait showing the crannog.
Leacraithnaich lies on the West side of the loch. 
Leacraithnaich bothy interior

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