Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Tales From The Highlands

Days 13 & 14

  Sorry for the lengthy double blog to end the trip but I thought I should get it all done together while I have the chance and working internet ;)

Day 13 - A Trip To Hawaii

  Okay, so we didn't really visit Hawaii but we did go to Embo that is twinned with Kaunakakai in Hawaii.I'm guessing it's because of the beaches and not the weather lol
  It took us about an hour to drive up the A9 from the Black Isle detour through Dornoch and up to Embo where we drove straight through the caravan park to the pier.It's a great place to look for birds.We have seen Scoters, Guillemots and Gannets here before.Today there was a raft of Eiders.
  Embo pier.


  Raft of Eider Ducks.

  Just another 5-10 minutes up the road from tropical Embo and you reach Loch Fleet.A wonderful place and always brimming with wildlife where the Harbour Seals lounge around on the sand bars.You can get out and sit on the bench or if you want to stay dry, use your binoculars through your car window lol
  Loch Fleet.

  Seals on the sand bars.

  There were over 100 Oystercatchers, along with some Redshanks,Red-breasted Mergansers, Grey Herons, a Greenshank, some Greylag Geese in the adjacent field and about another 50+ Eiders.
  Greylag Geese.

  Oystercatchers.

  Red-breasted Merganser trying to swallow a fish.

  Greenshank.

  More Eiders.




  After leaving Loch Fleet we headed a bit further North to Golspie where you will find a fantastic fish & chip restaurant, The Trawler.I had Scampi and chips.Now I usually get 8 or 9 scampi when ordering from somewhere, today I got 10 but each one was like a double scampi.Apparently from the West coast of Scotland where they are obviously given steroids lol 
  A quick visit to the charity shop a few doors down and it was time to head back to the Black Isle.

Day 14 - A Very Lochy Day

  This was our last full day in the Highlands (Boooo), and we had a few options as so many places to go and so little time to see them in.We thought about heading up to Ullapool, or across to Skye or down to Glen Affric.In the end we did head West but towards Sheildaig through Torridon.It's a drive we have done before though I never realised the amount of bodies of water on this circular route.Lucky for you all ;), I decided to photograph each of them to share with you as we drove around.
  So we set off up the A835 through Contin(another great cafe just after here, past Rogie Falls where we once got stuck in the snow and had to be pulled out by Police lol) where we see our first Loch of the day.
  1.Loch Garve

  Instead of continuing North towards Ullapool we turn left onto the A832 and head West.We soon see the next Loch, 6 miles long.
2.Loch Luichart

  Just another mile or two up the road and the next Loch comes in to view.
3.Loch A Chuilinn

  Connected to Loch A Chuilin by a few hundred yards of the River Bran was...
4.Loch Achanatt

  As we continued West we reached the village of Achnasheen where we saw a lone Red Kite, the further West of Tollie I have seen one.Just the other side of Achnasheen is a 3 mile stretch of water set in a glen that has some of the lowest temperatures in all of Scotland, Brrrr ;)
5.Loch Chroisg

  There is a short break in Lochs but as you drive down towards Kinlochewe you have this wonderful view of Loch Maree.A place where we have watched Great Northern Divers before.
6.Loch Maree
   We drove down the side of Loch Maree for a few miles to the hotel where we scanned the water for birds but found none.

  We turned around, headed back to the junction at Kinlochewe and down the A896.Going towards Torridon you first come to the most northern most point of the next Loch.
7.Loch Clair

  Now we are excitingly into White-tailed Sea Eagle territory.If you missed them around Loch Maree(watch them on the live cams at Beinn Eighe visitor centre), there is chance of seeing them in Torridon and Shieldaig.
8.Upper Loch Torridon

  We scanned the mountain tops but unfortunately the clouds were moving in and covering them so we moved on to Shieldaig.Here we made a pitstop at a cafe and looked over at the island and the surrounding areas for an Eagle.
9.Loch Shieldaig

  Once again the rain caught us up and stole our hope of seeing the flying barn door.The A896 then heads South through some stunning scenery before reaching our next Loch.
  The A896 scenery, we came from the left and headed off on the right.

  The next 2 lochs were actually joined together with just a narrower section of water between them.
10.Loch Coultrie
  

11.Loch An Loin, a quiet cottage to live in :)

  I couldn't tempt Majella to take a right turn here and head up Applecross so we drove down the East side of this 300ft deep loch, looking West towards Isle Of Skye.
12.Loch Kishorn
  
  Separated by just the headland from Loch Kishorn, the next sea loch on the West coast is...
13.Loch Carron

Panoramic view of Loch Carron

  You would think 13 lochs would be enough but no there was more.I can hear the sighs from here ;) On the road heading back up towards Achnasheen there were 3 more lochs.
14.Loch Dughail

15.Loch Sgamhain

16.Loch Gowan

  So about 100 miles round trip, 6 hours, 16 lochs(not including the few lochans seen along the way too).If you come here and you like lochs then you're in for a very lochy time ;)
  Later that evening it was still drizzling but I knew it was my last chance to get out with the Bat detector so around 9.15pm I spent half hour back at RSPB Fairy Glen and managed to pick up the sound of what I gather was one Common Pipistrelle Bat.They are known in the Glen and I picked it up at 45kHz so would think that is what it was.

  Well that took 2 hours to write and upload lol but it is the last blogpost of my Tales From The Highlands tour.I am back in Lincolnshire now so blogs will be more sparse and boring ;)

  Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to have a look through my blogs, view my photographs and read about my time in Scotland.I recommend that everyone should see the amazing wildlife and scenery of Scotland at least once in their lives.
  Anyone up there already with a spare room(or shed), give us a call ;) lol

Thanks again.
Stuart

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