Friday, April 10, 2015

Reflecting on history and the scenery at Gaskan, Loch Shiel.


Nestling at the SW end of Gaskan Wood is Gaskan cottage, all that remains of the hamlet of Gaskan. It was here that the MacDonald's built their birlinns (fast galleys powered by sail and oars) using the plentiful supply of oak. Later the forest was also used to manufacture charcoal which was shipped to the iron furnace at Bonawe on Loch Etive. This was 120km away down the River Shiel, into the sea and round Ardnamurchan Point which was quite a journey!

The author and naturalist Mike Tomkies lived in Gaskan cottage for nearly two decades in the '70s and the '80s. His book "A Last Wild Place" described the time he spent in this cottage at Gaskan which he called "Wildernesse".

SW of Gaskan the scenery was bathed in the golden light of early morning.

Below an area that had been cleared of trees...

...were the remains of an old dry stone sheep fold.

The water was so still that paddling near the shore was again quite disorientating.

Ian spotted a lovely little beach and although...

...we had not paddled far...

...we had seen so much that...


...a stop was called for so that...

...we could drink in more of the wonderful view and properly savour what we had seen.

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