Saturday, 3 August 2013

Elgol / Loch Coruisk, Skye.

A bit late in making a post about this but last weekend (26/07) my friend Luke and I decided to head over to Skye for the weekend to do some exploring and wild camping.

We headed across after work on the Friday evening arriving at around 8.30pm. The plan for the weekend was to get to Loch Coruisk but as it was late we decided to camp on the shores of Loch Slapin and get an early start the next day. The weather on Friday evening was good, fairly mild with a bit of a breeze to keep the midges off. There were some noisy Oystercatchers nearby and a handful of Gannets out on the sea loch. Plenty of sheep too.

Camping on the shore of Loch Slapin.
Woke up on the Saturday morning to the sound of a large flock of sheep moving through aswell as calling Oystercatchers, Common Sandpipers, Curlew and Ringed Plovers. I managed to get a couple of photos of the Ringed Plovers from the campsite where the midges were pretty bad as it was very still and foggy.

Adult Ringed Plover
Juvenile Ringed Plover
After some bacon and a cup of tea seasoned with midges for breakfast we made our way on down to Elgol and it didn't take long for the weather to improve, by now it was a warm and sunny morning. The original plan was to hike to Loch Coruisk and back but we decided to get the early boat into Loch Coruisk then make our way back to Elgol over the next day and a half.

The boat trip over allowed us to see some stunning landscape views and we also passed a small colony of Common Seals enjoy the sun.

The drop off point.
A pair of vocal Ravens welcomed as at the start of Loch Coruisk allowing great views down to 50 metres as they perched on the surrounding rocks. We headed up to the other end of the Loch seeing Common Gulls, Meadow Pipits and Wheatears on the way. At the top of the Loch we stopped for a cup of tea and after about 20mins a Golden Eagle came soaring over the mountain top giving great views through the binoculars. Unfortunately I was a little slow in getting the camera on it.

Loch Coruisk
Heavily cropped Golden Eagle.
We spent the rest of the day hiking back towards Elgol, taking our time whilst appreciating the views and the wildlife. Plenty more Meadow Pipits and Wheatear seen throughout the day as well as loads of butterflies and day flying moths, I just wish I was better at my butterfly ID. Butterflies are getting rarer each year it seems so it was nice just knowing that they were there.

Magpie Moth (Abraxas grossulariata)
We continued on round to Camasunary, a impressive wide open bay where at this point it was full sunshine and 20+ degrees celcius. A short shower of rain brought out the midges again in big numbers but it soon went back to sun and we continued on our way.

Towards the evening and after some pretty hard going kilometres with the sun and full packs on we found a sheltered bay to camp again with fantastic views of the Cuillin Hills in the background. Whilst setting up camp I could hear more Ravens and Luke spotted a Kestrel hovering nearby. A young Wheatear also kept coming and going near to our chosen spot. There were still Gannets out at sea and Oystercatchers on the shore as well as plenty Rock Pipits.

Campsite No.2

On the Sunday morning we woke up to drizzley conditions but we only had a couple kilometres left back to Elgol. We arrived back in Elgol around early lunch time. There is a small burn / river running down into Elgol and I spotted a family of Grey Wagtails, my first of the year actually. We spent the rest of the day having a drive up to Portree and back before heading on home late afternoon.

All in all a fantastic weekend, good weather, plenty of wildlife and some truely awesome landscapes.

Year List Additions:
125. Grey Wagtail

P.S. there is one person who I know used to read this blog, they will know who they are, I hope they are still reading it from time to time.

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