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ARE LEFT AN INTERESTING READ.
There is a Runrig song called 'The summer walkers' the first verse starts with these lines:
Sometimes when you journey
through the pages of a book
you're taken places beyond words
you let them speak the truth
today I've opened treasures
that my eyes could scant believe
And its up by The Shin
And up by the Naver
And the long winding shores of Loch Maree
So as we headed north this year it seemed appropriate that our first paddle should be on Loch Maree.
Loch Maree is the fourth largest freshwater loch in Scotland. It is situated near the west coast in Wester Ross. The loch runs North East to South East it is 20km long and 2.5km at its widest point.
The loch is dominated by the Torridonian sandstone mountains to the south including Benn Eighe (109m) Slioch (980m) to the south east and Beinn Airigh Charr ( 791m ) to the northwest.
The scenery of the whole area is stunning and it is a walkers and Munro baggers heaven. Beinn Airigh Charr is actually a Corbett (no. 174)
Culturally the Loch has many songs written about it. One 'The Loch Maree Islands' sung by Fergie Macdonald made it into the Scottish charts in 1966.
After two days travelling we were going for quality not quantity so we chose to cruise around the islands of Loch Maree in order to unwind and blow out the cob webs.
Ecologically the loch and in particular its islands are very important. The islands are designated a Special Area of Conservation and are also a Special Protected Area under a EU Habitat Directive. This is due to the unique fauna such as the peat bogs and the Caledonian Pine forests which are said to pre date the first ice age. The islands are considered to be so remote that they are virtually untouched by human influence. They are the ancestoral nesting grounds of the Black Throated Diver which is an endangered species. The birds raise very few young and their nests are prone to flooding due the the fact that they nest near the shore. This precious Nature reserve is managed by the SNH so the first thing we had to do was contact the local SNH Officer.
We were staying at the Kinlochewe Hotel and the owner kindly did this for us. We were informed that the birds had started to arrive and pair up so we may be fortunate to see some. We were also asked to keep clear of Eilean Ruairidh Mor. This is the furthest island to the northwest and according to the OS map it is owned by the Forestry Commission. This left plenty of scope for our paddle.
For reference purposes contact details are as follows:
SNH Officer Eoghain Maclean tel 01 445 760 254 8.30 - 5 pm. Mobile 07900 226 132,
Welcome To My World of Pedals and Paddles
An account of my Sea Kayaking and Mountain Biking exploits
- ► 2009 (14)