Monday, 8 October 2012
Signs of previous visitors to the Sound of Arisaig
Leaving Port an t-Sluichd I crossed to the north shore of the Sound of Arisaig on my return leg. The transit for the crossing was pretty straightforward - aim for the Rum Cuillin beyond!
I arrived at Eilean a'Ghaill for a lunch break. There were two other paddlers there already and we wandered up to the summit of the island to check out the remains of the hillfort. We didn't find the stone lined well, but the remains for the walls can be traced. Interestingly the name translates as "Island of the Strangers", so perhaps this was an outpost of different folk from those originally here - it would be fascinating to know who built the fort and where they came from.
Whoever they were, the site they chose is a good vantage point. The view takes in the whole of the Sound of Arisaig, to Moidart and Ardnamurchan in the south, back to Loch nan Uamh and Loch Ailort (above)
And west to the open sea, the island of Eigg and beyond to Rum.
Some signs of previous visitors to the area are less welcome than the hillforts which dot the coastline. Those folk who know this beach and campsite will no doubt have fond memories of it.
Unfortunately, the signs of previous visitors here now include a fire ring in the fragile turf above the high water mark in which a quantity of plastic has been burned along with firewood. This is a popular spot, one can walk or kayak to it relatively easily and it's white sand backed by level turf makes it most attractive. It gets use from both individuals and increasingly by commercial sea kayaking groups.
It's not possible to tell who lit this fire; commercial groups generally abide by acceptable low-impact practice as far as possible, and all the sea-kayakers and walkers whom I know wouldn't light a fire above the HW mark. It's a real shame, and the damage will take some time to repair.