MacCulloch’s Fossil Tree and Ardmeanach. June 2013

Date: Sunday 9th June 2013
Distance: 19.2km
Ascent: 700m

The first day on Mull – and a cracker of a day in the offing. Our top priority was not a hill-walk – but a coastal one round the headland of Ardmeanach. If the day went well we could add some hills.

When looking at Mull maps earlier in the year I’d spotted an isolated NTS property at Burg, the western tip of Ardmeanach and a “Fossil Tree”. A bit of research turned up some detail. This went straight to the top of the wish list.

As we approached Tiroran I almost drove over a lanky wader chick wandering across the road – just missed thankfully. The parent birds didn’t sound amused.

Redshank chick:

Parked at NM 478 276 – spaces for about 8 cars. From here a good track runs about 7km to Burg Farm.

We wandered at a slow pace – there were rather a lot of distractions.

Yellowhammer:

Speckled Wood:

Buzzard:

The track wends towards Tavool House – now a self-catering outdoor activity centre.

Loch Scridain and Bearraich:

Abhainn Beul ath an-Tairbh:

The little area of woods around Tavool House is lovely – lots of mixed deciduous trees and a carpet of wild garlic.

Hawthorn:

Ramsoms:

Caterpillar – perhaps Peacock butterfly:

Horse chestnut flower just past its best:

Ramsoms (wild garlic):

A gate is crossed into NTS land and then the farm of Burg is passed. A few stags lounging here.

Stag:

At the ruins of Dun Bhuirg a memorial to a drowned child.

Memorial:

From here the track becomes a rough path – still easy walking really. Lots of wildflowers on the coastal grass.

Lousewort:

Kidney Vetch:

A few goats were seen – very relaxed.

Goats:

As the corner of the peninsula is turned and the true western edge is reached the geology becomes rather eye-catching with columnar rock structures like the nearby Staffa.

Rosette:


New wheatear:

There is then a down-climb down an iron ladder (about 5m) to the shoreline. Pictures from the return.

The rocks contain little crystal pockets here and there.

Crystal pocket:

As we reached the Fossil Tree area I spotted a little mammal on the rocks, slinking around. A first glance suggested otter, but the size and colour were wrong. Looked like a mink.

Mink:

Left Hazel sitting on some rocks and went to look for the mink (which vanished) then carried on with a little rock-scrambling round the corner. Well worth a peek – the area of coastline marked as “The Wilderness” is rather impressive.

The wilderness:

Went back to fetch Hazel for a look – as we recrossed the shore the mink reappeared. A rather bold creature.

Mink:



I’d like a while to explore this corner.

The wilderness:

Out to Staffa:

Back to the tree – which had been in shade on arrival. The sun by now had lit up the rocks. More the impression of a fossil tree as collectors have stripped out the actual fossil

MacCulloch’s Fossil Tree:




Turned to wander back to the car. We’d considered heading up the slopes to Bearraich and even beyond on the high ground but we’d loitered for most of the day so settled for an easy amble back.

Clifflines to Bearraich:

Took a chance to look into the rock pools.

Anenome:

Rock pool fish:

….and the rocks.

Pockets of crystal:

Climbing the ladder spotted a nest of newly-hatched spiders.

Nest of spiders:

H on ladder:

Along the beach to the tree from the ladder:

Back past the rock rosette to Burg.

Rock rosette to backed by Ross of Mull:

Just an easy amble back to the car from here.

Cuckoo:

Small copper:

Butterwort:

Travool House woods:

Abhainn Beul ath an-Tairbh:

A very tatty Green Hairstreak:

An enjoyable walk – about 6 hours worth. We took a bit over 9hours by the time we’d looked at everything. The high ground of Ardmeanach had to wait until later in the week.

Thanks to Des for the previous report – just the stimulus required. 🙂

Mull Geology link.

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