From the West coast
A fascinating ten-year archive of letters from one
the most beautiful parts of Scotland,
its people, places, landscape and wildlife.
"Strachur is a small, sleepy, sprawling West Highland village spread along the north eastern shore of Loch Fyne - the longest sea loch in Scotland. This is a very dramatic and beautiful part of Scotland, full of ancient history, magnificent forests and wildlife..."
Letters from Argyll
- September '98 Introduction
- October '98 Half Hung Archie
- November '98 Magnus Barelegs
- December '98 Pantomime
- January '99 Storms and Gardens
- February '99 Campbells and midges
- March '99 Macleans and birdsong
- April '99 Loch Eck and Spring
- May/June '99 Dunoon and Squirrels
- Summer '99 Glasgow
- Autumn '99 Colour and Rowans
- Winter '00 Siskins and Finches
- Spring/summer '00 Puck's Glen
- Autumn '00 Macbeth and a Squirrel
- Spring 2001 Town and Country
- Summer 2001 From Scotia to Dunadd
- Winter 2001 Bridge over the Atlantic
- Summer 2002 Cowal and 3 Squirrels
- Autumn 2002 Smiddy and Stones
- Winter 2002 Bagpipes, deer and jays.
- Spring 2003 Rest and Be Thankful.
- Summer 2003 3 lochs and a castle
- Autumn 2003 A Beaut of an Isle
- Winter 2003 The bonnie banks
- Spring 2004 The Hollow Mountain
- Summer 2004 Kintyre Peninsula 1
- Autumn 2004 Kintyre Peninsula 2
- Winter 2004 Arrochar Gateway to Argyll
- Spring 2005 A Walker's Paradise
- Summer 2005 Scotland in Miniature
- Autumn 2005 Skye - The Misty Isle
- Winter 2005 Across the Water
- Spring 2006 The Crossroads of Scotland
- Summer 2006 Calling all seafarers
- Autumn 2006 A day out in the rain
- Winter 2006 A Winter's Day Out
- Spring 2007 A Favourite Place
- Summer 2007 Bonnie Galloway
- Autumn 2007 Port Appin
- Winter 2007 Loch Fyne and a Fine Dram!
- Spring 2008 Snow mountains and Spring!
- Summer 2008 A Walk in the Park
Loch Eck and Spring
Just a few miles south of Strachur lies an inland loch - Loch Eck - once voted the most picturesque loch in Scotland - and deservedly so. Just over six miles long and barely a quarter of a mile wide it is also acclaimed to be one of the finest inland waters in Scotland. It was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest in 1991 due, in some part, to two rare species of fish - one a type of charr only found in Loch Eck and the other - powan - a freshwater herring also found in Loch Lomond. The fact that this freshwater herring can be found in Loch Eck confirms that Loch Eck once joined Holy Loch on its way to the Clyde some 14,000 year ago! Its a favourite among fishermen, and fishing permits can be purchased at the Coylet Hotel which snuggles in at the south end of the Loch on the main road.
The craggy hills which rise majectically out of the loch are a challenge for hillwalkers rather than mountaineers, and to visit Puck's Glen is a must for breathtaking sights of waterfalls. At the head of Loch Eck stands Glenbranter, sold to the Forestry Commission in 1921 by Sir Harry Lauder and the Lauder monument can be visited off the main road. All of this area now forms part of Argyll Forest Park which was established in 1935 and walking and cycling tracks meander throughout the hills and forests which form this huge area of outstanding beauty.
Talking of outstanding beauty, would this sight not gladden your heart? After weeks of rain and wind, one afternoon following some strong, and very welcome sunshine, this simple polyanthus decided to share her colour with me. This also confirms that everything else will follow soon - I always fear a sharp frost in April which decimates new growth on all but the sturdiest of plants.
For the first time in five years the Forsythia has flowered and there is plenty of colour in the garden now, Berberis, Daffodils, Primula of all colours and the plum tree is just about there.
We've also been visited by our ariel acrobats - a family of buzzards who live in the woods near the cottage. More likely to be heard, but when seen they are a magnificent sight. The greater spotted woodpecker is a constant visitor but he is so shy that the least movement has him flying off into the trees but I shall endeavour to capture him on film one of these days.
As I said before, we had one lovely day of sun and I shot this frame as the sun went down. The colours in the photograph are of course nowhere near as fabulous as the real thing, but I think you get the sense of the frequent breathtaking sunsets we witness here are Burnside Cottage. I don't think we'll see many sunsets this week, the farming weather forecast is bad for the next seven days - snow is predicted on high ground for most of this week!
"Where the magnificence of the scenery is matched only by the beauty of visiting wildlife."
Text and photographs © Pamela Mackinnon.