Kinloch Huorn Trip

Published: 6th April 2009

Glen Garry is only half an hour away from Glen Loy, but once the main A82 is left there is another hour's worth of single track road to Kinloch Huorn at the northern edge of Knoydart. This is wild and spectacular  country and the journey is pregnant with wildlife possibilities. I was fortunate enough to take a trip out on a sunny Sunday (it wasn't forecast!) with Ian McCleod of NevisPix, in order to suss out a possible boat trip. A stop off at the western end of Loch Garry is usually productive, and so it proved with plenty of gpldeneye, a small herd of 6 whoopers and  a goosander. The star was a distant black-throated diver that we were able to get a better look at further along the loch. More sand martins about. Plenty of deer along side of the road further along Loch Quoich, including a magnificent 16-pointer. Saw our first wheatear of the year – as usual flashing its white tail as it disappeared into the distance.

There is a dramatic descent into the narrow fjord of Loch Huorn, and the subsequent views across to Knoydart from the boat were magnificent (in an area noted for superlatives). The trip was short but sweet, out towards Barrisdale, and not nearly as choppy as feared earlier on in the day. The skipper, Billy, was full of useful local knowledge and historical facts – our thanks to him, and hope he had a good picnic afterwards. A couple of early seals seen together en route – strangely enough one common and one grey. Pleased to see my first greenshank of the year skimming low across the water. We had great views of a heronry on one of the little islands, and on the way back the first porpoise of the year. Definitely worth consideration for adventurous guests!

On the way back a well-marked moth with colourful underwings landed on the windscreen – an orange underwing. Not sure whether many of these have been recorded this far northwest before – record will be on its way to Butterfly Conservation sometime soon.

Checked out the local black grouse lek this morning – good showing with 7 blackcock displaying. Must be serious as they were fairly going at each other with their claws – not just posturing as is often the case.

Had a look up the glen for eagles this afternoon and was pleased to see one in the vicinity of a known nesting area. Although I was a long way from it (on a public path) I wonder if I disturbed it, as there has been  a lot of local disturbance in the vicinity recently. A little further on a sea eagle appeared over the crest of a ridge, and was promptly seen off by another goldie. I suspect this is another territory. Good to see the contrast in size, and shape of wings – in addition, the tail of this sea eagle was particulalry diamond-shaped. Pipits provided about the only other avian distraction.