Corran and the drove road

On Sunday, we decided to retrospectively justify the night before’s dinner at the Pub with a walk up the glen from Corran, with the objective of following the river as far as we could go leaving enough time get back in time for last cake orders at Sheena’s Tea Hut. The drive up to Corran from Glenelg is lovely in itself, and at the high point the view across to Skye and the isles is stunning. We passed the people at the next table the night before walking to Sandaig and waved sheepishly. We left before them though, so perhaps they had pudding to justify.

It is hard to think of anywhere lovelier than Corran on a sunny day. The village sits on the banks of Loch Hourn, where the river Arnisdale flows into the loch, looking across to Knoydart and out, in the distance, to Skye.

We did not linger though, but crossed the bridge and took the footpath that meanders by the river up the glen. I was charmed to find the first field over the bridge dotted all over with spotted orchids, but this proved just a taste of things to come. In every sunny patch along the path there was colony after colony, some almost white, others darker pink. I have never seen so many. In a sunny, grassy stretch by the river, whilst Lyra splashed in and out and Lachlan developed his stone skimming skills (olympic standard definitely) I was busy investigating the undergrowth. The rough grass was woven and matted with wild mountain thyme, self heal, eyebright and the ever-present tomentil and waving above this were golden disks of hawksbit and the hard little green pin cushions that will, in a week or two, turn into startlingly bright blue devils bit scabious. At the edge of the path bird foot trefoil was tangling through the heather and where the hill run off gathered there were elegant spikes of bog asphodel.

At the next bridge Lyra spotted a herd of highland cows and took off to say hello. Lachlan, having spotted the accompanying bull, spent the next couple of minutes frantically waving ripe sticks and shouting “nom nom”. We repaired, with dog, to the bull free side of the bridge and headed onwards through the trees, the river now frothing through rocks beside us. In the cool under the trees the undergrowth was bright with oxalis leaves and through them I could see patches of anemone and violet, promising a beautiful spring show. Keith stopped to impersonate Snufkin, perched on a stone whilst I clambered up and over a small waterfall and then we turned back, mindful of the cake curfew. Sheena did us proud and, whilst the cake and coffee were excellent, the prize definitely went to the cheese toastie on home made bread.

Should you ever get the chance to go, don’t dither or prevaricate – just go.

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