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Enjoy the spirit of Ardnamurchan

The Blackening

The Blackening

This unfortunate couple are enduring a ‘Blackening’. An old tradition, which involves capturing the bride and groom before their wedding day, putting them in the back of a pick-up, then parading them in a noisy and merry procession around the village while the locals coat them in flour, treacle, eggs and generally as much unpleasant slop as they can forage from their kitchen. The Blackening is an old tradition found only in some parts of Scotland including the Western Isles, the west coast, and Aberdeenshire. A similar practice is also found in Northern Ireland where it’s called ‘a doing’. Nobody’s quite certain of its origins but it’s thought to perhaps have evolved from an earlier, pre-marital, feet-washing tradition, in which the groom had his feet washed. This evolved into having his feet firstly blackened with soot before being cleaned again. Eventually the blackening part, which let’s be honest is a lot more fun, took over entirely. The washing part has lost its importance somewhat and is now usually an unceremonious hose down at the end. It is also thought that the general clatter and mess is to scare the evil spirits and fairy folk away, preventing them from causing mischief on the wedding day. Many thanks to my lovely sister for the photo and for enduring this weird and wonderful...
Return of the Corncrake

Return of the Corncrake

Sitting down by the shore, enjoying the fading evening light, the stillness and peace of the moment was suddenly broken by the unmistakable ‘krek krek’ of the corncrake, an almost forgotten sound in Kilchoan. These delicate looking, chestnut feathered birds are related to rails; however they live on dry land, enjoying the shelter of high grasses. Due to their secretive choice of habitat they’re rarely seen but are often heard with a rasping call which can by heard up to 1.5k away! Historically they were very common across rural Scotland but suffered massive decline due to changes of agricultural practices in the 20th century. A 1991 conservation programme sought to protect and encourage the population and they have just recently seen some re-emergence. However you’ll only find them in very isolated spots, such as the Hebrides and now western Ardnamurchan, which has a remoteness akin to the Isles. People say corncrakes are ventriloquists. If that’s true we may never know if there’s one distant corncrake calling for a mate, or three very nearby. The calls were later joined by the melancholy hooting of an owl from Meall mo Cridhe. At around 11pm twenty five or thirty deer trotted onto the shore, their silhouettes nimbly and elegantly negotiating the marshes and rock pools. They stood still for a moment when they spotted our campfire then headed on east, the sound of pebbles crunching underhoof. Kilchoan may not be known for its nightlife but sit out on a still evening and you may be surprised just how lively it...
Calmac boat sailings now on sunday to Kilchoan

Calmac boat sailings now on sunday to Kilchoan

Calmac are now running Sunday Sailings from Kilchoan to Tobermory. Great if you are looking for a weekend away from the Isle of Mull. You can rent one of our self catering cottages for a long weekend and enjoy the walks and beaches in Ardnamurchan.  

Where in the Scottish Highlands is Channel 4’s Eden?

Radio Times Where in the Scottish Highlands is Channel 4’s Eden? It turns out paradise is an often wet and windy peninsula on the west coast By Claire Webb Monday 18 July 2016 at 5:45PM Four months ago, Channel 4 marooned 23 strangers in the Highlands. Until March next year, they’ll have no contact with the outside world as they attempt to build a society from scratch. Right now, they have no idea of the outcome of the Brexit referendum or that Britain has a new Prime Minister. Although we asked nicely, Channel 4 are being coy about their whereabouts. Fortunately – unlike their contestants – we have access to the internet, which has revealed that Eden is a 600-acre estate on the Ardnamurchan peninsula in Inverness-shire. This 50-square-mile peninsula is halfway up Scotland’s rugged west coast and home to half a dozen small communities. The nearest village to Eden is Acharacle, which sits on the edge of Loch Shiel and boasts a bakery, hotel and GP surgery. The loch is popular with hikers and naturalists, and it’s easy to see why. The Glenfinnan monument on the shores of Loch Shiel, Ardnamurchan peninsula The contestants are less than five miles away on an uninhabited private estate that the Ministry of Defence used as a training ground during the Second World War. There’s no chance any holidaying hikers will accidentally stumble onto TV because the Highland Council has temporarily revoked the usual “right to roam” access rights. Just in case, a 6ft fence has also been erected on three sides of the estate. The fourth is bordered by the sea – stunning Cul na Croise...

More contestants quit Channel 4’s Eden as boredom, tiredness, hunger and midgies bite

Quote from the Press & Journal The Eden Project A TV series – billed as a unique social experiment to create a new, self-sufficient community in the Scottish wilderness – has seen more than a third of participants quit. Cut off from the outside world, 23 strangers tried to ‘start again’ on Channel 4’s new reality show Eden. However, it would appear the Utopian dream is already in tatters as more than a third of the participants have walked out. Eight of the original group have left the programme, which is based on the Ardnamurchan peninsula in Inverness-shire, including the camp’s two doctors, the paramedic and the fisherman. With no medical professionals left, the mass exodus has called the future of the radical television project – which is set to run until next spring – into question. The gender balance has also been skewed, with only five women left on the show with ten men. However, Channel 4 has rejected any concerns and stated: ‘The health and wellbeing of contributors is closely monitored.’ The show, watched by more than two million people, found itself embroiled in a bullying row last month after the first participant walked out, with comparisons made to William Golding’s celebrated novel Lord Of The Flies. Viewers watched as life coach Tara Zieleman, 34, exited the gated community after she was branded ‘lazy’ by some of the men in the camp, who also plotted to limit the rations of the weaker members. Yet only a few weeks later, one of Miss Zieleman’s most outspoken critics, 25-year-old outdoor instructor Tom Wah, has also quit. Junior doctor Jenna...