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Newly fledged brood of long tailed tits, 7 or 8, on the banks of the Nairn (2013). Their bedraggled parents were constantly feeding them.

Random pics from Highland wanderings

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2015 (autumn) - Destination Raffin, Assynt

Raffin in the autumn is all about sky. Sunsets and weather over the minch would inspire any budding artist. Breathing my last breath able to see scenes like this would be a good death. Let's hope for a few more autumns before that happens.

Raffin rainbow

Will someday spend hours stiching together the originals of these, and their further left and right companions, to make a huge panorama. It is these peaks, separated by 2.5 to 6.5 miles of low hills, lochans and sparse woodland that makes Assynt so distinct. Out on the moors of the Stoer peninsula, this view captures it perfectly, weather permitting. Companion to next picture.

Inner Assynt from Stoer peninsula - north

Will someday spend hours stiching together the originals of these, and their further left and right companions, to make a huge panorama. It is these peaks, separated by 2.5 to 6.5 miles of low hills, lochans and sparse woodland that makes Assynt so distinct. Out on the moors of the Stoer peninsula, this view captures it perfectly, weather permitting. Companion to last picture.

Inner Assynt from Stoer peninsula - south

With varying degrees of visibility, Harris and Lewis are the horizon in this series of 'Skies over the Minch' photographs. Ship/boat/ferry/yacht watching was an associated hobby; the very helpful MarineTraffic website helps identify most vessels. Cloud identification is one thing the Met Office are good at. Poor phone signals in these parts mean that a handy wifi signal is necessary for interweb access.

Skies over the Minch

With varying degrees of visibility, Harris and Lewis are the horizon in this series of 'Skies over the Minch' photographs. Ship/boat/ferry/yacht watching was an associated hobby; the very helpful MarineTraffic website helps identify most vessels. Cloud identification is one thing the Met Office are good at. Poor phone signals in these parts mean that a handy wifi signal is necessary for interweb access.

Skies over the Minch

With varying degrees of visibility, Harris and Lewis are the horizon in this series of 'Skies over the Minch' photographs. Ship/boat/ferry/yacht watching was an associated hobby; the very helpful MarineTraffic website helps identify most vessels. Cloud identification is one thing the Met Office are good at. Poor phone signals in these parts mean that a handy wifi signal is necessary for interweb access.

Skies over the Minch

With varying degrees of visibility, Harris and Lewis are the horizon in this series of 'Skies over the Minch' photographs. Ship/boat/ferry/yacht watching was an associated hobby; the very helpful MarineTraffic website helps identify most vessels. Cloud identification is one thing the Met Office are good at. Poor phone signals in these parts mean that a handy wifi signal is necessary for interweb access.

Skies over the Minch

With varying degrees of visibility, Harris and Lewis are the horizon in this series of 'Skies over the Minch' photographs. Ship/boat/ferry/yacht watching was an associated hobby; the very helpful MarineTraffic website helps identify most vessels. Cloud identification is one thing the Met Office are good at. Poor phone signals in these parts mean that a handy wifi signal is necessary for interweb access.

Skies over the Minch

With varying degrees of visibility, Harris and Lewis are the horizon in this series of 'Skies over the Minch' photographs. Ship/boat/ferry/yacht watching was an associated hobby; the very helpful MarineTraffic website helps identify most vessels. Cloud identification is one thing the Met Office are good at. Poor phone signals in these parts mean that a handy wifi signal is necessary for interweb access.

Skies over the Minch

With varying degrees of visibility, Harris and Lewis are the horizon in this series of 'Skies over the Minch' photographs. Ship/boat/ferry/yacht watching was an associated hobby; the very helpful MarineTraffic website helps identify most vessels. Cloud identification is one thing the Met Office are good at. Poor phone signals in these parts mean that a handy wifi signal is necessary for interweb access.

Skies over the Minch

With varying degrees of visibility, Harris and Lewis are the horizon in this series of 'Skies over the Minch' photographs. Ship/boat/ferry/yacht watching was an associated hobby; the very helpful MarineTraffic website helps identify most vessels. Cloud identification is one thing the Met Office are good at. Poor phone signals in these parts mean that a handy wifi signal is necessary for interweb access.

Skies over the Minch

With varying degrees of visibility, Harris and Lewis are the horizon in this series of 'Skies over the Minch' photographs. Ship/boat/ferry/yacht watching was an associated hobby; the very helpful MarineTraffic website helps identify most vessels. Cloud identification is one thing the Met Office are good at. Poor phone signals in these parts mean that a handy wifi signal is necessary for interweb access.

Skies over the Minch

On a very pleasant stroll along the coast, we watching this chap/ess while we ate our lunch. We were at leat 200m away but s/he didn't take her eyes off us. Both Grey and common (harbour) seals can be seen all along this coast. We have seen many common seal pups in late spring/early summer but we were probably a bit early this autumn to see any grey pups.

Grey seal sunbathing

Berries on trees, heather and other autumn flowers keep the insects busy in September. The general 'mood' of the Assynt pallette is brown at this time of year but there is much colour in the detail. On a walk up the river Kirkaig to the falls and Fionn Loch beyond, weather not great, midgies lying in wait!

Colourful autumnal Assynt flora

Lochinver is slowly but surely developing into a foodies' paradise, which eventually will put off and price out the walkers (just saying). It has happened elsewhere. The local folk want jobs and trade, most current visitors want peace and quiet. Assynt, for your truely, is about getting away from the tartan and shortbread and the Audi/Range-Rover set. Near the left edge of this picture, the Caberfeidh is now a 'dining pub' owned by the Michelin starred Albannach Hotel, in nearby Badiddarach. There is a Chex Roux in the Inver Lodge Hotel, out of shot, up the hill to the right (a butt-ugly building). The new Peet's Restaurant by the harbour is very pleasant eatery with a mediteranean feel (and celebrity investment money). It is close to the An Cala Cafe at the former mission, now run by the community and serving excellent lunches, and next to the Culag Hotel, which is a little less upmarket and long overdue an upgrade. Just beyond the Caberfeidh can be found the famous Lochinver Larder, which serves it's superb home-made pies and other delights in a very informal atmosphere. That's a lot of eating so far from anywhere, which is undeniably good for the hungry traveller.

Lochinver

Lochinver is, famously, under Suilven. The southern edge Raffin, in the middle ground here, is 12.5 miles, as the eagle flies, from the peak but foreshortening paints a different picture. The rest of the heaving metropolis of Raffin is hidden below the edge of the hill in the immediate foreground. Lochinver is hidden behind many hills between the one above the houses in the middle ground and Suilven. Most highland photography is a tissue of lies.

Raffin under Suilven

Close to the lighthouse at Stoer and Leigh's fabulous 'Living the Dream' mobile eatery, these and about 20 other beasts were being fattened on the rough moor. They are beautiful animals but a little more nervous than other breeds.

Stoer cattle

Clashnessie is famous for its pink beach, which is a perfect place to air the kite.

Kite under Clashnessie Sky

2014 (spring) - Destination Clashmore, Assynt

Clashmore cattle on the Stoer peninsula taking themselves to pastures new, a walk of about a mile, which they managed all by themselves a couple times a day. Queues of traffic built up (4 cars) if these wanderings coincided with rush hour and tourists returning from the lighthouse. Motorcyclists were the most nervous squeezing past the biggest horns.

Clashmore cattle go to pastures new

June view north-east on Stoer peninsula at Clashmore. A very heavy mist, visibility down to 50m, had lifted after more than 24 hours. View takes in hills of Sutherland north of Assynt and the Handa Island nature reserve.

Stoer Penisula looking north-east at 5am

This was a long day, yours-truely not being in the best of health. It took us 12 hours, there and back, but this is Assynt and it was worth it. Besides, this was the only Assynt hill we hadn't previously conquered. Most guides describe a much steeper route from the Western side but we chose this direction, for no particular reason. We parked off the A835, about three miles or so north of the Achiltibuie junction opposite the southern end of an unused loop of old single track road (roughly NC184079), which has a track leading west-ish between Clar Loch Beag and Lochan Fada. The weather was kind on the way up and cruel on the way down. Cul Beag is not an easy hill; there is no path to speak of and a lot of bog. The climb is reasonably shallow for about two and a half miles and bearable up to the saddle. The final 400m or so are breath stealing and thigh ripping. Of course, there is the usual breathtaking view as reward.

Assynt Cul Beag ascent Begins

See description of 'Assynt Cul Beag Ascent Begins' above. The saddle between Cul Beag's peak and Mael Dearg is a superb viewing platform framing views to the north and Coigach to the south. Cul Mor and Stac Polly are visible in the backgound.

Assynt Lochans and Suilven from Cul Beag

A lot of weighty-breathed ascending and even more panting and gasping halts brought about this encounter. This beautiful creature was attempting to dry its newly unfolded wings when the sun went in and I narrowly avoided stepping on it. Only a chance glance at my heavy feet brought about this photo opportunity. Plenty amphibians on this walk too and a very noisy Golden Plover. The dragonfly is actually vertical but the picture is rotated to satisfy the aesthetics of this page

Dragonfly at 2000ft on Cul Beag

This walk is made circular by crossing country between the southern and northern peat roads or vice-versa if you start at the Stoer end. The road-less link has been well post-marked by rangers and volunteers and is the best part of the walk, especially in the spring. The small hidden lochans epitomise Assynt and are stunning. The peat road sections provide ocassional glimpses of the greater Assynt experience but are mostly intimate and very quiet landscape and wildlife pleasures. It is what Assynt is for.

Water Lily on the Clachtoll Peat Road

Highland Stonewear in Ullapool have a studio and showroom in Lochinver, which allows visitors to wander around. Watching the artists create their signature images with deft brush strokes unphased by staring tourists is fascinating. Plenty '2nds' for sale. This fantastic car sculpture is one of many in the carpark area outside the showroom.

Lochinver, Highland Stonewear sculpture

Clachtoll is a crofting settlement set in a sandy beach flanked bay with its famous split rock to the south and broch to the north. It lies at virtually sea level surrounded by hills. It has a useful ranger's hut and carpark by the campsite and excellent rock pooling at low tide.

Split rock that gives Clactoll its name

Views of Ben Nevis sans too much cloud are rare, so here's another. A walk up Neptune's Staircase at Banavie provides ample opportunity to observe canal activity and views across the glen to the Ben or south to Fort William. Handy Hotels/Pubs/Chippies nearby!

Ben Nevis from the Caledonian Canal

2013 (spring) - Destination Croachy, Strathnairn

Central Beach Nairn showing former fishermen's cottages in May/June 2013. We parked in a town centre car park, at least a half mile away not knowing that there was plenty room by the sea. Easy reach of Inverness, Culloden, castles and Loch Ness. Has shopping, cafes, children's play areas, long beaches, golf, local historical interest and views over Cromarty Firth. Approach by B9091, B9090, A939, A96, British Rail.

Nairn from the beach

Loch Farr off B851 (signposted to Garbole) in Strathnairn. Privately owned loch surrounded by woodland. No parking. Road across hills beyond Loch Farr through Glen Kyllachy to Strathdearn gets increasingly narrow and overgrown. Really isn't suitable for larger vehicles, caravans and nervous drivers. Classic grouse and deer moor though.

Loch Farr

Cottage in Strathnairn (B851). Swallows on the ground were a common sight. Strathnairn is a picturesque alternative route north or south from/to Inverness (mostly single track), avoiding the northern part of Loch Ness. Wide glen, hosting lush farming country with ocassional access to very pretty river Nairn, abundant wildlife and geological interest including glacial Esker ridges and related features. One shop at Inverarnie, hotel/bar at Croachy popular with the Inverness pretentious set, apparently. There are early signs of a serious windfarm infection spreading across the surrounding hills. No signs of any attempt to control the pestilence. The road is being widened along the strath to cope with the construction traffic, which does help the local farmers and the obvious gentrification creep.

Swallow on patio

Across the Highlands, we never fail to see cuckoos (and hear them) in large numbers in May/June. We have ocassionaly got quite close. They are often high on moors and cliffs way beyond the sight and sound of any species counting activity.

Cuckoo on fence post

Strathdearn, in complete contrast to the parallel Strathnairn, is uncultivated big-money, hunting country. In early spring, before the grass grows in the hills above, deer are this easy to see. There were hundreds in this herd and many of the more cautious could be seen scrambling on higher ground. Goats too! The single track road from Tomatin ends just after a small 'car park' at Coignafearn (Old Lodge). The walk beyond is a central highland exemplar as short or long as you want and worth the risk to hips and knees and level unless you want it not to be. The track is not metalled!

Deer herd by River Findhorn

On the eastern shore of Loch Ness opposite Drumnadrochit, south of Dores. Good views here of human and animal watery activity but no sign of you know who! The mallards' peace was about to be disturbed by a flock of males not happy with the current pairing arrangements. It was ugly.

Mallards paddling in Loch Ness

Exploring the Esker ridges and other glacial features in upper Strathairn was educational. There was no shortage of wildflife, inicluding this eider with her brood.

Eider and chicks, Strathnairn

Loch Ruthven is famous for its Slavonian Grebes, which were not shy on this visit. It's a small reserve but irritating fencing prevents easy exploration of the loch beyond.

Loch Ruthven nature reserve, Strathnairn

Each raised stone on this wall commemorates one of the fallen on this poignant site. The centre is an architectural masterpiece, blending beautifully with the landscape. The facilities and exhibits are superbly presented. It has come a long way since its days as a shed in a field, when I last visited.

Culloden Visitor Centre

2012 (spring) - Destination Inverarish, Raasay

A beautiful day at the end of May in the Great Glen. This was one of several similarly meteorologicaly endowed visits to the same bedroom window in Upper Banavie. The best B&B in the UK, made so by the wonderfully hospitable Ian and Val MacDonald. This is the also the view from the breakfast room, Ben Nevis, cloud free and radiant. They don't charge nearly enough!

Ben Nevis from Upper Banavie

Cross onto the former island of Skye via the dramatic bridge on the A87, do some shopping in the Broadford hippy-haven and wind along the coast to Sconser, where you can catch a (new) ferry to Raasay; an island of contrasts, fast developing a tourist industry, while hanging on to a very real working small-community feel. This is an island of quite dramatic landscape contrasts, forestry and horticulture in the south and hilly moorland in the north. The island has a fascinating prisoner of war camp and mining history and the usual tragic highland clearances legacy. Don't miss the story of Calumn's Road but be careful of the road if you decide to drive along it or any other road on Raasay. This is where potholes come to die. Beware the grandfather/mother clock collection of Inverarish if you are anything but a very heavy sleeper though!

Raasay from Sconser on Skye

The 'new' harbour on Raasay as busy as you will ever see it. At the time of writing (2014), the ferry has now been replaced by a bigger model or two. On this ocassion it is joined by the paddle steamer Waverley, which I remember taking down the Clyde to Rothesay as a lad. Then only a couple years ago I bumped into her again at the end of Southend pier and here she is again, a pleasant sight for a former salty old sea dog. Also in view is the the outdoor activities training boat and a small fishing boat and, oh yeah, Skye.

Waverly visits Raasay

A view south in the hills above Inverarish over to Skye on a glorious late May day. The northern-most hills of the Red Cuillins in the centre of the picture are dominated by the twin peaks of Glamaig - An Coileach (the Cockerel) and Sgurr Mhairi (Mary's Peak). You can scale this hill by the popular route from the Sligachan Hotel or, as we regret doing, vertically, from Sconser. We would never have bumped into that Ptarmigan and her dozen chicks though (see below).

Glamaig on Skye, from Raasay

We have countless images like this of west coast sunsets, all of them taken in late May to late June. The point about them is that they are all taken very late in the evening, often well after 11pm. Summer days are long at these latitudes.

Sunset over North-West Skye, from Raasay

A lovely walk around the east coast and along a old grass road leads to this view and the edge of the abandonded township of Hallaig, another tragic tale of sheep evicting people to swell the coffers of the over-privileged. Dun Caan at only 443 metres (a Marilyn apparently) is the highest point on Raasay, which is best approached from the west.

Raasay - Dun Caan at Hallaig

Despite the close-up, we failed miserably to identify this young chap with any certainty. This is a north-west Scottish spring, which occurs weeks later then the Southern English one. The journey from south to north is always an ecological journey through time, back half a season at this time of year, the opposite being true in autumn/winter.

Raasay - Fledgling

Returning from the northern tip we caught these hungry grazers by surprise in the north-west of Raasay close to 10pm, with the sun in their eyes, the breeze in the South, fairy dust in our walking boots and exhaustion in our vocal chords. We were soon to find a note posted on our car from a colleague who recognised the parking permit from the institution one of us calls work, which would otherwise not have received a single second's thought.

Raasay - Deer

We have seen Ptarmigan on the summit of Ben More Assynt (more precisely Conival) in winter plumage in June and on other hills in Assynt with chicks. This one is high on the northern slopes of Sgurr Mhairi (the steep way to torture your thighs ascending Glamaig) and has moved away from her scattering chicks with an unsurprising song and dance in reaction to our sudden presence, which gave us an equal fright.

Skye - Ptarmigan on Glamaig

From the saddle between the twin peaks of Glamaig looking south over the rest of the rapidly wearing Red Cuillins to the imposing sharp shards of the Black Cuillins. Save those for another day, shall we?

Skye - Black Cuillins from Red Cuillins

Raasay in perspective with the Torridon hills beyond. We ascended this mountain as we do all others, slowly, taking in countless breathtaking views as we took countless breaths. Another long wonderful, painful day.

Skye - Raasay from Glamaig

Homeward bound. On the ferry, which has now been retired heading for the Skye mainland and the very long journey south. Lovely clouds.

Sky over Skye

2010 (spring) - Destination Achosnich, Ardnamurchan

This circular hill formation on Ardnamurchan (proper) is one of several that are visible on the ground in the west of Scotland and much visited by geo-something students and researchers. It is an impressive site, being more than 4 miles in circumference. It is not, as usually described, a caldera, which would have been a couple miles higher up. This is the base of the pipe, everything else having been worn away over millions of years. Walking down into it and into the centre of the ring gives a palpable sense of time and the forces of nature acting over it.

Ardnamurchan - 'Caldera' From West

A short walk to the south from here along the Allt Ockle there be Sand Martins. Pass through the 'singing gate' with the tree growing out of the post and follow the track to the east of the river, don't be taking any other road, whatever may tempt thee! Nearby, on the coast, you can visit one of many claimed St Columba's caves, who did visit the area and probably a cave, somewhere.

Ardnamurchan - Ockle

There is free right-to-roam wandering to be had on this peninsula but there is also a lot of difficult to manouvre around, sometimes electric, fencing. There are independant farms and a major landowner and I suspect that the benefits to landscape, ecology, wildlife and domesticated animals that vigilant walkers are good for are still outweighed by the 'off-season' big money benefits of hunters in these parts. This picture encapsulates in my mind a typical west coast spring vitsa that irritatingly can never quite be captured on my camera. Eigg is the darker foregound island with Rhum taller and lighter behind. Muck is on its own and smaller to the left (south).

Rhum Eigg Muck off Ardnamurchan

In better conditions there are good views from here of Argyll, Mull, the Atlantic. Nestling in the bay in the middle distance is Kilchoan - a crofting community with the last shop in the west, where you will also find the ferry port for north Mull (Tobermory/Balimory) and the turning to the UK mainland's most Westerly point. It really is significantly further west than Land's End, sorry Cornwall. If you are coming here via Ardgour and Sunart off the Corran ferry, the B8007 does not have nearly as many passing places as you might expect. Double your travel time estimate and add a little more!

Ardnamurchan view west from Ben Hiant

Dramatic cloud development west of Achosnich on a late May evening.

Ardnamurchan evening Cumulonimbus

There was something other-worldly about a walk through an old woodland. It is especially true in these parts, where what woodland there is large mono-culture cash crop. This woodland, west of the Sonachan Hotel, has a track through it and good views.

Ardnamurchan - bluebell wood

An ubiquitous north-west coast of Scotland sandy bay scene. This is a view across Sanna Bay with Skye in the backgound.

Ardnamurchan - Sanna Bay

A pleasant ferry ride from Kilchoan on Ardnamurchan, Tobermory is the picture postcard island fishing village/town. Everything the tourist needs is here, without the past-its-best, tiredness of Oban or the (frankly) grubby chavs' most northerly outpost feel of Fort William. The splendour of the rest of this stunning island is easily explored, at a leisurely pace, from this beautiful harbour.

Mull - Tobermory Harbour

There are endless splendid vistas on days like this around the Mull coast. For those of us with a keen interest in matters horticultural, close to the point this picture was taken there is an increasinlgly renowned garden and nursery at Lip-na-Cloiche. It is of modest proportions on a very steep site but should not be missed.

Mull - Kilninian view south to Ben More range.

2008 (spring) - Destination Baddidarach, Assynt

Assynt in the far north-west is one of Europe's most remote wildernesses. People live and work here in traditional crofting communities in this stunning landscape, famously owned by the people. It is like no other part of the Highlands. Here the mountains are very neatly separated by miles of lochan strewn bogs, small isolated woods, crofts and small rivers. The coast is more populous (inland clearances), ocassionally sandy and rich with flaura and fauna. This view is taken from Stac Polly accessed, most easily, from Coigach with an easy path up to the saddle but a difficult and slippery scramble at the top in the wet. The views across this magnificant landscape are breathtaking, which is true from any of these isolated peaks. Approach Stac Polly from the car park on Loch Lurgainn, which is west off the A835 (Achiltibuie turning) or south from Inverkirkaig beyond the A837 at Lochinver, turning east at Badnagyle.

View of Cul Beag from Stac Polly

Lochinver is the hub of Assynt. Everything is here - food from cafe (with take away pies), and pubs to Michelin Star hotel, shops and fuel, entertainment and a deep sea fishing harbour. Accomodation for self-caterers is thin on the ground and the best quality cottages are booked well in advance. The price to quality ratio is higher here than in the the UK generally. You will find that there is often little in the way of re-investment in many cottages despite years of good use but don't let that put you off staying (really, it is worth coming but pull your socks up cottage owners). Picture taken from a cottage in Baddidarach that sadly is no longer available. Canisp (left) and Suilven dominate the southern skyline.

Late evening Lochinver harbour

The Culag woods is a community project, next to Lochinver. It is well maintained and full of interest. Approach the heronrie above the harbour with care.

In Culag woods, Lochinver

Many old paths, tracks and landscape features lie hidden and overgrown all over Assynt. It is not a place to pass through in a hurry. Go explore, whatever the weather.

Runrig system in North Assynt

Heading into Assynt from Lairg along the A837 (by Loch Craggie), which is single track at this point. Despite the distance, Lairg is the sorting office for this part of the coast, which is why much of the coast has a 'by Lairg' address. This approach to Assynt takes you gradually from the lush farmland of the east, through forests to the open moors and spectacular mountains of the west, almost tolkienesque. Suilven is one of the most enigmatic mountains in Scotland and worth the climb. It is a good hike to the base from either of the most popular directions and ascended via a steep corrie on either side. We recommend going up past the Falls of Kirkaig, more of an adventure.

Suilven in distance from east

The sun has sunk behind the hills in the north-west late in the evening in June but still shines on the hills above Lochinver, while Suilven becomes slowly enveloped in cloud. As they say in the Higlands and Islands, "If you want better weather, just wait five minutes" and vice-versa, of course.

Suilven looming over Lochinver

2006 (spring) - Destination Clashmore, Assynt

Little Assynt is an exciting project to create a large area of native woodland for the community, which began shortly before the trust purchased it in 2000. The trees are still being planted and many are beginning to mature.

Cotton grass in Little Assynt

Possibly the most photogenic mountain in Scotland. It can be viewed from any angle or height and always fills the picture. From its twin peaks, Assynt's other mountains and features can be viewed with nothing in the way.

Gloomy Suilven from east

An endless feast of flora bursts into life in the Assynt spring. We have thousands of close-ups of every orchid and anything else 'pretty', which has required a great deal of kneeling. A word of warning - ticks. Across most of the Highlands and not least here, this is not short trouser/bare arm country. Lyme disease is present. Be careful what you wear and where you sit.

Honeysuckle and heather in Assynt

Stac Polly on the right with Ben More Coigach beyond and Cul More and Cul Beag on the right. It is a steep hike up Suilven and at least a five mile walk in.

View South from Suilven

The Culag woods above the harbour are an enjoyable mix of community organised interest and semi-wild areas. It is only a short, sometimes steep, walk from the village. There is parking.

Lochinver from Culag

Up the Glencanisp track above Glencanisp Lodge is this view of a very pretty loch, which is home some years to breeding divers.

Loch Druim Suardalain

2005 (spring) - Destination Clashmore, Assynt

Quinaq (owned by the John Muir Trust) viewed from Culkein Drumbeg. A moderate climb from the A894 with a lot of ascending and descending between the peaks. Closer to the inland hills than all the other Assynt mountains, it gives views of the whole of Assynt, Ben More and the northern hills on a clear day.

Quinaq from the west

Taken from the north bank of Loch Gleann Dubh on a lovely June day. Always carry plenty of water!

Quinaq from east of Kylesku

Accessed from the small lay-by near Knockan Crag (a geological feast) on the A835. On ascent saw Ptarmigan with chicks in June. Shares the similarly spectacular views as the the other Assynt peaks. Advise sticks for steep scree sections.

Stac Polly from Cul More

Suilven from just off the coastal road north of Lochinver (B869 'Unsuitable for caravans and coaches'). I am certain the local folk would welcome significant improvements to this road but outsiders like us would hate it. I remember touring this coast with my family as a child and everywhere that now has two lanes and a bridge where there once was a ferry is poorer as a tourist experience. For the people who live here, who must always have the final say, I suspect these improvements are welcome. I hope Assynt resists too much 'improvement' as I hope it resists becoming the St Mawes of the north.

Suilven from the north

Looking up to the township from its famous pink beach; a great place for kite flying.

Clashnessie

A glimpse, half-way down, of Britain's tallest waterfall, Eas a' Chual Aluinn, to the left of this picture. The walk to this point from the A894 layby near Loch na Gainmhich is tough and steep in places.

Glen Coul

2004 (spring) - Destination Clashmore, Assynt

The classic view back to Lochinver, with the Assynt hills lined up for inspection, heading north toward Achmelvich, which has a lovely sandy cove and a not too intrusive ugly caravan park.

Lochinver from the north

In the deep south of Coigach looking at the Assynt hills from the other side in reverse order. These parts have their own attractions, not least the only Golden Eagle I have ever seen with certainty, binoculars only and no camera, sadly.

Assynt Mountains from Coigach

A look back at the roller-coaster ridge of Quinaq we took to reach this vantage point, approached from the A894. On a June day like this there is no better place to be. The view is south over the rest of Assynt.

View to south-east from Quinaq

On the bumpy road south from Inverkirkaig circling Stac Polly, which is across the border in Coigach. Worth climbing for its views of both.

Stac Polly in Assynt

Here be pre-history. Folks who came in the wake of the glaciers lived here. Its a steep climb to pay them a visit.

Bone Caves at Inchnadamph

There is no road to these homes, not even a rough track!

Remote on the Coigach peninsula

More soon. Earlier images will be from scanned negatives, which may take some time. A page of plant and insect close-ups may also appear.

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