Wednesday, February 21, 2007
On our recent paddle in Loch Sunart and the Sound of Mull we enjoyed an idyllic stop at Camas nan Liath. From a distance the cobbles on the beach looked grey and I thought that was the explanation of the Gaelic name which I took to be "beach of the grey" though I though just Camas Liath would have done.
The water was crystal clear and beckoned us in to the beach which, nestled under the steep wooded slopes of Tor nan Con. Even in winter, the colour of the birch and aspen branches contrasted with the grey of the cobbles and invited a return in spring.
To the north west, the beach is exposed to the full force of Atlantic storms and the bed rock had been worn into mounds, hollows and channels by the action of countless wave tossed cobbles.
In the deeper hollows, at the bottom of each crystal clear pool of water, there was a mixture of cobbles and pebbles of different sizes and rock types.
As we left, we paddled past great grey "heads" of rock whose necks had been worn away by the wave action. Some of the older heads had been decapitated and fallen as boulders. Suddenly, the full and subtle meaning of the Gaelic "Camus nan Liath" hit me: Beach of the Grey Heads.
What a place, what a language.