The Lochan Fada Mystery - Gordon C Harrison
Photo 4028 Sunset over Loch Ewe and Isle of Ewe, Wester Ross
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My camp site at Lochan Fada

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On the day prior to my arrival at Lochan Fada I had camped with friends at Leckie near the Heights of Kinlochewe. The following morning I left them to make my way to Lochan Fada and camp there for one night. Not having been to Lochan Fada before I was unaware of the delights that awaited me, nor of the superb position near its eastern shore for setting up camp.

I found a small stream running into the loch's eastern shore with a flat grassy embankment alongside it. This could not have been more perfect for pitching a tent. Where possible I enjoy camping near small streams for the simple reason that I like the sound of running water as I drift off to sleep. The above image shows part of the fine view visible from my chosen spot.

Having set up camp I left it to explore my surroundings for a while before returning later to make a meal. This was followed by some photography as the sun began to set and I hoped that the day would end nicely.

Lochan Fada Sunset

As can be seen in the above image I was treated to a beautiful evening. The small stream I was camped beside can be seen entering the loch here and in the distance are the mountains (L to R) Sgurr Dubh, Beinn Lair, A' Mhaighdean, and Beinn Tarsuinn. I continued to enjoy this evening light while exploring the eastern shore of Lochan Fada which I soon discovered is home to a beautiful pebble beach.

This pebble beach, or at least what it contained, was to provide me with quite a surprise the following day. Once the sun had set I settled down in my tent to read for a while. However the tinkling stream eventually made me feel drowsy so I snuggled down into my sleeping bag and soon fell asleep. I did waken up for a while in the small hours so I left my tent to enjoy a spectacular star filled sky. Not for long though - I reckon it was pretty close to freezing and I retreated back to warmth of my sleeping bag!

Sunrise at Lochan Fada 

The following morning I awoke about 6am and as I emerged from my tent I was greeted with the  above scene. Not in black and white of course! I felt that transforming this image to black and white captured more faithfully than colour how I felt about this wonderful sunrise. The fact that I was alone in this stunning wilderness only added to the feeling of being at one with nature.

Having taken various shots from this viewpoint I decided that to make the most of the light and the landscape I would be best exploring the eastern shore of Lochan Fada. I had walked along part of it the evening before but decided that now I would explore all of it until I reached the top of Gleann Bianasdale through which the loch exits. Breakfast could wait, this light was too good!

Rippled Shore 

I was camped on the hillside not far from the end of the loch's pebble shore as shown in the above photo. Looming over the loch is Beinn Tarsuinn and Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair. Although I had walked along here in the previous evening the morning light transformed the scene and gave it a fresher look. On the last walk I had seen nothing unusual here but this morning I was in for a surprise!

Artwork on Lochan Fada Shore

Discovering an artwork built into the land while walking alone in the wilderness is not something one would normally expect. I was amazed to say the least to discover this stone construction built into the pebble shore. The reason I missed it in the previous evening is that I had chosen to walk in the heather along the back of the pebble shore. This made for easier walking.

However in the morning I knew that the sun would soon reach the correct angle to highlight the ripples in the pebble shore near the waters edge. I wanted to see how that would look so this time I walked closer the edge of the loch. I would estimate the size of this artwork at about six feet (approx two metres) in diameter. It had been made from larger and differently coloured stones to provide a contrast with the pebbles on the beach. 

An acquaintance of mine told me that the artwork had originally been created in 2012 from black peat set amongst the pebbles. However the following winter's rain had washed out all the peat. Therefore the artwork was recreated from stones to make it more permanent. I don't know who made it, or why, or whether the design has any symbolic meaning. If anyone knows the answers to these questions contact me and I'll be happy to update this story.

Sunset at Incheril

Later that day I rejoined my friends and met them at Gleann na Muice. From there we made our way back to our cars which had been left at Incheril. It was early evening by the time we reached Incheril. There we were treated to a perfect end to our camping adventures when a sunset developed over Loch Maree to the north of us. I was able to enjoy this fine sunset for the next hour or so as I drove homewards along the beautiful coast of Wester Ross.

These three days were a wonderful blend of solo time in the wilderness, cameraderie time shared with good friends, fine weather and superb landscapes all combined with the enjoyment of photography. This made this short camping adventure unforgettable.

UPDATE

Since posting this story other images have turned up, one showing the peat artwork which was replaced by the stone one shown above. This was provided by local artist Lynn Bennett-MacKenzie and was posted to Facebook at this link 

https://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xpf1/v/t1.0-9/10421993_10152868825045095_3639735554566983530_n.jpg?oh=549cc8d70040f75af8a8cee32e080ead&oe=55D6926B&__gda__=1436510228_ac91a19483dd1ff35037054001552d87

If you are not on Facebook I'm not sure if you'll see the above link.

Yet another artwork has turned up, this time on the lower slopes of Beinn Tarsuinn (Bealach Odhar) and these can be seen on this Flickr page at -

https://www.flickr.com/photos/roofofeurope/sets/72157644775880513/

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